Demand-Side Drugonomics

This is not a good number one.

Some lessons remain more vivid one’s mind than others. My friends at school back in the 1960’s showed me some radios and clothes they had purchased. They told me a guy from Flint sold them out of his car for a really cheap price. I could purchase also. They would introduce me.

That evening I told my father about the great deals we could get. “The stuff is hot,” he said.

Being the wet behind the ears lad that I was, his words translated literally in my head. “No, I touched it and it was normal temperature,” I said.

He smiled realizing my misunderstanding. “Stolen merchandise is referred to as hot,” he said. Then the serious face looked at me seemingly cutting a path directly to my mind. “If you buy things that are stolen you are just as guilty as those who took them. By purchasing stolen items you are facilitating and condoning theft.”

The U.S. war on drugs is a failure. Pretty much everyone around the world seems to know that except the citizens of the USA. There has been over seven billion dollars (not million but billion) spent fighting drugs in just Colombia. The U.S. is the only country spending that much money in another country to control the supply of drugs. Frequently I have heard people state their belief that all that money has pretty much done little more than line pockets of politicians and their cronies in both countries. That is old news though. I have .

What amazes me is the “Wag the Dog” (1997 movie with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro) technique used to keep Americans in the dark. I was in Asia at the time of the Summit of the Americas. The news in Asia mentioned both about the secret service with prostitutes but also about the drugs. I noted that American news focused on the hookers.

Look at U.S. news. Watch U.S. television. They would have you believe that all Colombians are involved in drugs.

Now consider the following. You have not a twice chance, not a 10 times chance, not even a 20 times chance, but a 44 times better change of running into an illegal drug user in the USA than you do of meeting anyone in Colombia who grows, processes or distributes illegal drugs. If you think Colombia is a bunch of drug dealers, then America is a much larger group of drug users.

According to World Health Organization statistics The United States is the leader in the world in terms of the percentage of the population partaking of illegal drugs. That number has been rising the last couple years despite drug production in Colombia going down. But here is what is even more disturbing, as a percentage of the population The United States has four times the number of cocaine users than the country (New Zealand) that is second in the world for drug use.

Just take a look at the articles here in the Fenton Patch. the . A St. Clair Shores man is sentenced in his estranged wife’s overdose. There are many news items about both adults and teenagers in possession of drugs or committing crimes to obtain them.

A higher percentage of the population of Colombians are upset about and want the drugs out of their country than the percentage of people in the USA that do not use drugs. This statement can also be said for many other Latin American countries.

At the above mentioned Summit of the Americas many leaders stated they want drugs legalized as a means to solve the problems it causes in their countries. Many Americans have voiced the same citing Prohibition as an example. But when you look at the numbers and the big picture the two drug situations are not the same. Not to mention that legalization might be fixing one problem by causing a different and/or bigger problem. This could include people unable to work or driving impaired and killing innocent people.

I can understand why many South American leaders want drugs legalized. They have dollar signs in their eyes. But those who really scare me are American who want legalization and cite that countries with lax drug laws have a lesser problem than we do. I question their mental acuity. Since the USA is number one of course those countries have less of a drug problem. However if these people were more interested in solving the drug problem then getting drugs for themselves with the approval of non-drug users they would point out that countries with the least drug problems sentence drug dealers to death.

I do not believe that legalization is the single answer. The death penalty for dealers and users opens up a major moral debate. And it is obvious that attacking only the supply side does not work. The solution revolves around why the people of The United States are such massive drug heads when compared to other countries in the world? Why is our country four times more stoned than the second worse country?

When we answer that question we may be on the path to the solution. Perhaps it has something to do with why I chose my title. But to understand that, you may have to have lived as many years as I have.

Bottom line – if we don’t purchase drugs then people won’t be selling them in our country.

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Gary H August 06, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I can't speak for other countries, but the drug problems are as they are in the USA in large part due to the ones who make the laws and the ones who make judgement on those who break the existing laws. That is, like with the drunk driving problems in America, the legislators and the courtroom judges don't want to set a precedent that will come back to bite them personally - because of their own use of alcohol and/or drugs. Solution? I don't have one. Nice article, Joe.
Joe Kershaw August 07, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Gary, Very interesting insight. We would like to think that our officials are totally agreed with enforcing the law and solving the problem. But perhaps, like with the money being spent on the war on drugs, it is all for show for the public, and personal benefits. I know that in the countries I have visited with small drug problems there is very little if any wiggly room if you are caught with drugs. They don't care if you give up a bigger fish or not. Your harsh punishment sends a good message to the bigger fish of what will happen to him. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.


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