By Alex Gryciuk
Substance abuse and addiction within the United States exists as a significant issue. Collectively pushed to the back of society’s consciousness, drugs are only talked about a few times in health class in school. Through programmed forgetfulness, millions of American Citizens consequently face drug abuse and unfortunate mortality from overdose and repetitive drug usage. The government, at the forefront of the fight on drugs, extends society’s policy to ignore the problem at hand. Instead of doing any real work to fight for millions of Americans they serve, they ignore serious drug addiction and abuse as usage increases.
The government fails to show real urgency and action during the drug crisis by just affirming empty statements to the public. In issued statements, the Biden Administration acknowledges that drug overdose took the lives of at least 70,630 Americans in 2019 and drug addiction plagues millions more. Yet, instead of solving the issue and saving lives, the executive government continues its legacy of preformative action by not establishing effective procedures against drug usage. The first “attempt” to solve the drug problem in the United states started by Nixon’s “War on Drugs”. In essence, the U.S. promised to reduce the number of drugs on the streets and reduce the number of drug users by criminalizing illicit substances. Therefore anyone in the possession of illegal substances would be subject to mandatory prison sentencing. The “War on Drugs’” fake efforts that kept drugs out of the US never lived up to expectations. With billions funneled into the program since 1970, hypothetically, the “War on Drugs” should keep people away from addiction. However, quite the opposite occurs. Since the 1970’s, drug use exploded and the number of overdose deaths accordingly skyrocketed too. If in 2019, 70,630 drug users lost their lives, then the “War on Drugs” does not worel. Nixon and his replacements fail to up their promise to help alleviate the drug crisis. Instead, they fund unnecessary and frivolous expenses within the government.
Commonly, the “War on Drugs” inflates incarceration rates because of increased convictions on drug-related charges. As a promise to the people, the “War on Drugs” claims to keep people out of the streets and away from drugs. Instead, the efforts “against drugs” do nothing but create vicious cycles of addiction and create damaging effects to the government. In fact, out of 2.3 million incarcerated, 1 out of 5 are incarcerated for a drug offense. Rather than giving aid and tools to fight addiction, inmates often receive little to no medical care to battle addiction and are released back into the world after time served. Without proper tools, most addicts return back to drug use again. If the government uses even simple logic, they would know that rehab provides a much better option to keep people off the streets. Real action against drugs would require an urgency to treat addiction within individuals while officials do nothing to solve drug addiction at the core. The government just keeps 400,000 inmates in jail and hopes that they get better with time. In addition, the U.S. government’s way of “battling” the drug crisis contributes to large financial burdens. Financially, rehab costs less than jail time. The cost of one year of methadone maintenance or rehab costs $4,700, while it costs $24,000 to keep someone imprisoned for a year on drug charges. It costs more for the government to put addicts in jail as the government pays $182 billion yearly to imprison those with drug-related offenses. It would benefit the government to keep people out of jail because it costs less. Yet, they keep people in jail because the government possesses no interest in keeping streets drug free. The U.S. Government does not help their citizens and ignores their needs by keeping drug abusers in jail and not helping addicts in a time of need; proving both ineffective and costly.
More recently, the Biden Administration has claimed that one it’s priorities to stopping the drug problem in the United states is “Reducing the supply of illicit substances” with new measures. These measures include supporting law enforcement efforts that “dismantle domestic drug trafficking”, and strengthening the “U.S. government’s capacity to disrupt the manufacturing, marketing, sale, and shipment of drugs”. The Biden Administration acknowledges that drug usage presents itself as a dangerous problem in the United States. In response, outlined in 6 steps, they explain in six different ways that at the beginning of the inaugural year, the Biden Administration plans to implement stronger efforts used to prevent drugs from getting to the hands of citizens. However, the government’s real actions do not reflect on the promises made. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, in 2018, for each month of the year, 912,303 pounds of illicit drugs were confiscated. Yet, in 2020, when the Biden Administration was implemented, the border confiscated only 828,632 pounds of illicit drugs. The government promised stronger control over the drug epidemic, but in fact reduced their efforts. The government promised stronger action. However, their actions showed that the millions spent on enforcement didn’t work. Continuing a historic show for its people, the government does not care about ending the drug crisis, but is rather making up fake tasks that do not achieve its original goal: end drug use in America.
In the end, actions speak louder than words. The government can make up all kinds of empty lies to tell the country they are working at the saddening crisis by getting drugs off the streets and reducing the number of addicts. They continue to place people in prison, rather than absolving drug addiction and effectively do nothing to stop drugs from entering the country. Shockingly, in 2020, 90,000 estimated people died just from drug overdose. All the “effort”, promises, and money wasted in a drawn out show played to its citizens. The government does not care about the drug problem. If they did care, drug abuse would not be so prevalent and millions would not lose their life due to drugs. It’s time for the public to stop shooting up the lies and open our eyes to reality. The government doesn’t care about drug use, and it never has.