Shifting Drug Use Signaling Need to Shift Drug Policy?

Shifting Drug Use Signaling Need to Shift Drug Policy?

For years the U.S. has been centering its anti-drug energies on the fight against Latin grown and trafficked illegal drugs. However, current shifts in American drug consumption could indicate that it is time to reconsider how and where funds, manpower and U.S. policy are focused.

The fact that vacationers hesitate to enjoy Mexican beaches is just one sign that rising violence at the hands of Latin drug cartels is spinning out of control. After decades of U.S. dollars, U.S. advisors and U.S. military training/support, the problem of cartel violence is worse not better. Latin countries embroiled in the desperate struggle claim that U.S. demand for illegal drugs is behind the unrest. New studies, however, are showing that Latin consumption of illegal drugs is rising even while U.S. demand for these drugs is falling.

Just this past week, an online article noted U.S. government findings which suggest that prescription medications are the second most abused drugs in the country and represent the single fastest developing drug problem we face. Prescription drug abuse has been implicated in the majority of our nation’s overdose fatalities and there was an eye-popping 400 percent rise in admittance to treatment centers for prescription drug abuse between 2006-2008. Clearly, Americans prefer doctor-prescribed drugs to those brought into the country through illegal Latin channels.

This same article noted that prescription drug abuse is creating violence here at home. Violent robberies at pharmacies skyrocketed 82 percent between 2006-2011. Law enforcement officials in several states report that violent crimes which are connected to prescription drug misuse are also rising sharply.

So, if Americans are shifting away from Latin cartel-supplied drugs is it not perhaps time for our drug policy to shift accordingly? Significant resources are needed where a significant problem is – here at home in the battle against prescription drug abuse.

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