www.ambiente.us SEPTEMBER | SEPTIEMBRE 2009
What Politicians won't tell you about the war on drugs
By Carlos T Mock, MD, F. A. C. O. G.
The unfortunate truth Americans can't deal with is despite tough anti-drug laws, a 2009
survey by The World Health Organization (WHO) shows the U.S. has the highest level
of illegal drug use in the world.
The survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and
other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level
of cocaine and marijuana use.
For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their
lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%),
Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest
rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.
In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only
1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use.
"The use of drugs seems to be a feature of more affluent countries. The U.S., which has
been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with
higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug
policies, as well as (in many U.S. states), a higher minimum legal alcohol drinking age
than many comparable developed countries," write the researchers.
Drug users in this country show a stubborn indifference to
whether their preferred vice comes from Colombia,
Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay or Pluto, as long as it
comes from somewhere. It always does.
Unfortunately, the drug cartels control much of Congress and public opinion. Hiding
behind “ulterior motives,” protecting our youth from drug exposure, they have bought
most politicians. I personally think that because so much money is at stake, the cartels
would “eliminate” any opposition to strict drug rules. It’s the only way they can stay in
business. The minute the government legalizes drug use, they are out of business.
We are also forgetting that the majority of drug addiction in this country is to legal
substances—tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drugs —the two most common
examples of this later category are Hollywood stars like Michael Jackson, and public
figures like Rush Limbaugh
It is time that the American public accept the truth: drug addiction is a disease, not a
crime. Legalizing and treating addicts is the only way to stop the flow of drugs. Not to
mention the savings achieved from the war on drugs plus the revenue on the taxation of
With our national debt at 10% of GDP—and growing—it may be time for the US
government to rethink its drug policies. There is enough revenue and savings to
balance our debt, if we eliminated the costs of the war on drugs—by legalizing it—and
then add the revenue of taxation to the sale of all abuse substances.
Carlos Mock, MD is a physician in Chicago and author of three books.
CLICK HERE for more Carlos T. Mock
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