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    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    Are we winning in the war against drug abuse?

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    Drug Abuse has become a menace that has eaten deep into the fabric of society, and this is primarily due to the self-denial by individuals and government to readily accept and face the facts that we can win this war only if we adopt the best practices – no matter how unconventional they may seem.
    One popular model that has been adopted by governments in many countries is the use of criminal law and strong arm of the justice system to fight drug abuse; this has done more harm than good, and the statistics clearly show it. While government and many drug rehabilitation institutions do not see why their criminal justice laws adopted are yielding very little or no results, they are adamant to accept the propositions from drug experts and stakeholders who believe that decriminalization is one of the answers to solving the problems encountered through drug abuse.
    According to the experts, drug abusers are not criminals, and thus they need help, not incarceration – as is the case in many countries today. Drug abusers should not be treated as criminals but rather, as those who need support and rehabilitation. This is because people go into drugs for various reasons and often, the addictive effects of these drugs are sadly stronger than their willpower. 
    Drug abusers should be shown love, care, and support – not put behind bars, especially since that doesn't help the issue in any way. There are reported cases where random drug users become addicts as a result of incarceration and poor rehabilitation centers which ends up exposing them to even higher drug usage and dosage. Only through support based approaches, can the level of a person’s drug use be detected and the best way to assist the individual mapped out.
    Although the government is stiff in its resolve and does not readily buy into these arguments, one aspect they should pay attention to is the fact that drug abuse cuts across gender, class, and values; thus the only difference is the type of drug the individual in question indulges in. A drug is a drug, and a drug abuser is a drug abuser, so the idea of treating some drug abusers different from the others is not in the best interest of the state.
    The government believes that adopting the drug abuse control models advised by drug use and control experts makes the government, and indeed the law look weak, but this ideology is one like many other drug policies and reforms that need to be reviewed. It is morally wrong for drug abusers to be treated as the scapegoats and presented as the good examples of criminalization; because why it is agreed that many criminals abuse drugs, drug abuse doesn't make one a criminal!
    Back to the question, are we winning the war against Drug Abuse? The answer is NO! Statistics show that the number of drug offenders has increased geometrically over time even in the presence of the harsh criminal laws and persecutions melted out on offenders; this means that something is wrong and perhaps it is time to review our approaches.
    According to a report released by the Substance Abuse / Mental Health Services Administration in conjunction with the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015, there is an 8.3 percent monthly increase in the use of illicit drugs in the United States of America alone. Like a famous scientist once said, we cannot keep on doing the same thing over again but expecting to have a different result.
    We are not winning this war, and it is time for a change of strategy!

    By: Sebastiane Ebatamehi

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