Thursday, February 18, 2016

America's Losing the War on Drugs

By: Mary Kiser

Not many people understand addiction and the science behind it. What is considered a brain disease is highly stigmatized by American society as a personal problem due to a lack of motivation and an unwillingness to change. While those two factors can be incorporated into why a person wouldn't stop using, it does not account for the entire eight slices of pie.
Wake up, America! Drug addiction is a mental illness that can create havoc on the victim's brain which can lead to, or enhance a slew of mental disorders, such as: depression, anxiety, and/or schizophrenia. Since a patient is more than likely to deal with multiple issues coinciding with cravings and withdrawal, diagnosis and treatment can be complicated due to this type of comorbidity.
Ronald Reagan declared the "War on Drugs" on October 14, 1982 as a major threat to the United States. His wife implemented her own opinion on the matter by stating, "Just say no." when a child asked her what to do if someone offered drugs. People who don't fully understand just how complicated the disease of addiction is are more than likely to agree with the 40th president and his wife. However, people who have lived with this brain disease or have seen it in the flesh know differently. Addicts don't get better by serving more prison time. They get better by recognizing that using was only a symptom of a much bigger problem that they were trying to mask.
Even though the drug policies today haven't been significantly altered, the Obama administration does not endorse the phrase "War on Drugs" because they believe it to be "counterproductive." Until America delves deeper into the root causes of addiction, she will only continue fighting a losing "war" with addicts free-falling further into the rabbit hole.


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