I was just watching Senators questioning the heads of U.S. Intelligence agencies on worldwide threats, and had to turn off my television in disgust.
Because the joint intelligence report identified deaths from opioid addiction and suicide as first and second respectively on the list of causes of death in the United States.
In response, Senators immediately began zeroing in on the flow of drugs entering the U.S. from Mexico as though it was the most important focus.
What this demonstrates to me is that political leadership of the U.S. still believe that stopping the illicit trafficking of opioids somehow equates to addressing a health epidemic of catastrophic scale. In other words, if we cut off the supply of Fentanyl or Oxycontin into the U.S., the crisis is over.
I heard no acknowledgement whatsoever of how complex the issue is; how any legitimate strategy must involve treatment and support for addicts to help them overcome their addictions.
I suppose cold turkey is one approach.
If there’s a single lesson that should have been learned from America’s costly, decades-long war on drugs it’s that focusing on supply, rather than addressing the underlying causes of addiction, invariably leads to failure.
What makes this especially disgusting is that many of the Republican Senators paying lip service to their own national health crisis will soon vote for a budget that will further gut Medicaid, addiction treatment, and every other community-based health and social services agency so crucial to combating opioid addiction.
Actions speak louder than words. Tax cuts for the 10 per cent, and increased conventional military spending (that doesn’t even address the newest, more insidious battlefield, cyber-security) are lauded as Republican victories.
Once again, rigid, unprogressive, and unrealistic dogma rules the day in American policy-making. Wait–I forgot hypocrisy.