Prompted by “Don Winslow writes a letter”: http://www.drugwarrant.com/2015/06/don-winslow-writes-a-letter/
At first, prior to becoming aware after my morning sips of coffee, I was ready to tear into the direction of this letter to Congress and the President. Lobbying the government directly about the war on some drugs has made no impact, at least when compared to voter initiatives (i.e. part of the court of public opinion).
But the famed author posted a full-page ad in the Washington Post for public address (and my coffee has kicked in). Ads are entertainment for worst through best. They rely upon interesting images and words to get an audience’s attention. Entertainment is the right path in terms of education (instead of selling shampoo, psychological ad techniques can honestly be used to convey important messages).
The letter is awesome, and it can be fully read: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/28/it-s-time-to-legalize-drugs-an-open-letter-to-congress-and-the-president.html
My favorite part is: “The answer is legalization.”
After stating prohibition has been a disaster, the letter says nothing about regulations (textured prohibitions) that are also disastrous upon the full weighing of pros and cons (e.g. teens accessing alcohol regardless of regulations, while already very busy small business owners have to expend valuable resources respecting those regulations).
Education is the tool for addressing public risk — not law with its likely abuse at least confirmed by historical precedent, so ironically most risky due to its broad scope.
Education about dealing with unhealthy stress is the answer.
That means publicly addressing pain management directly, which includes helping sufferers reach the right level of high to avoid spiraling into the ‘heaven to hell’ vicious circle leading to overdose. It also involves finding non-drug ways to maximally recover from the pain. Note recovery is not about becoming 100% healthy, because such goal is actually impossible (nobody’s perfect, so recovery is a healthy attitude towards maximum health). Finding a ‘life groove’ forming a reasonably stable set of pros and cons (stress management, not removal) makes topnotch sense (not trying to escape all pain for happiness).
That also means the unhealthy stress from a purely recreational euphoric high often sold to the user (potential victim) in a way negating the inevitable balancing hell (there’s no “free lunch” in reality). When all is said and done, there’s nothing cool about using (actually abusing) automatic feel-good drugs. Saving more details here for brevity, when all is said and done, I’m not opposed to recreational drug use, but there are proper boundaries demanding respect to avoid abuse (read the Respect Cannabis campaign basics for the essential details).
None of this education can truly work until drug users (not just scaremongering drug abusers) can leverage their experience, so necessary credibility. “Just say no” and “above the influence” mean nothing to any teen actually interested in trying illicit drugs, especially when the overwhelming majority of drug use occurs without actual harm (so destroys scaremongers’ credibility). That work cannot truly happen until legal liability against those drug users is removed, so drug users never have to fear prosecution from ‘encouraging crime’.
Finally in Mr. Winslow’s letter, we have this: “How much more money do we have to waste…”
One group’s waste is another group’s bread and butter. Certain law enforcement groups lobby their fellow government officials to sustain that “waste”. However, there are good members of law enforcement understanding such waste is not worth it. Deadly losses of badge-wearing lives (sometimes from dealing with gangs with military grade weapons that only come from the huge profit margin in the illicit drug trade) and public trust translates into more problems for our “folks in blue”.