Losing the war on drugs

The loss of superstar celebrities to drug overdoses shines a bright spotlight on our country’s drug epidemic. Prince’s death last year showed — again — that wealth is no protection from the ravages of drug addiction.

Yes, we know that heroin and opioid addictions can occur after treatment with those drugs for painful conditions. That may be somewhat understandable.

But what about the use of, say, crystal meth? Why would someone willingly put something in his body that used long enough can cause:

• Persistent psychotic symptoms — including delusions, paranoia and hallucinations.

• Increased mental health issues like depression, anxiety and social isolation.

• Confusion and odd behavior.

• Feeling of bugs crawling on the skin.

• Body sores from picking at their skin.

• Cracked teeth.

• Stroke.

• Coma.

(Source — drugabuse.com)

We read an article on U.S. News and World Report’s website titled “We have lost the war on drugs” by Jeff Nesbit. He is a former director of legislative and public affairs for the National Science Foundation.

Nesbit noted that over 50,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States in 2014. Over half were from heroin and prescription painkillers.

The truly alarming point of the story, though, is that the number of deadly overdoses has doubled just since the year 2000. It is evident that the abuse of opioids is largely responsible for the increase in overdoses, but the author points out that all these deadly drugs “get a hold of your brain and never let go.”

Nesbit urges an approach that combines compassion for the victims of drug addiction with giving them the understanding and knowledge of what it truly takes to regain control of their brain.

In short, it takes treatment and education — not criminal prosecution — to fight the war on drugs.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.