In 2015, the U S spent an estimated $791.6 billion (excluding tobacco) on pills, powders, crystals, booze, and the like. That’s almost $2,460 per person! That figure also includes prescription, over the counter, and vitamins as drugs. By definition they all meet the criteria of causing physiological effects, and they are just as likely to be abused. Yet we are sold on the idea that we need them--but who fucking cares! Drugs, like any commodity, are driven by demand and supply, through legal or illegal means--it’s a matter of finding the right price. In the US, we love our drugs! The only real consideration, is how to effectively manage their use/abuse through education, acceptance, and proper scientific research!
2015, US Drug spending in USD Billions:
*Global estimate from 2010. No other figure could be found… I wonder why!
Drug use in America is taboo as fuck--often justified for some addicts and vilified for others--many abusers overlook their own abuse, only to point fingers at others for theirs. Take food for instance. And yes, by definition food is a drug. The US spent $1,511.6 billion on food in 2015--time spent on any household gardens not included. Americans spent almost twice what we spent on “drugs” on food, yet deaths caused by obesity was over 6x higher than it’s dangerous counterpart--300,000 to 46,471, in 2013 (most recent data year). Just like the missing teeth of a meth user, obesity is an easily identifiable problem with a drug. I realize everyone has to eat food to survive, while the “drugs” are only used the same way by a smaller percentage of the population, but there is still plenty of data how much we love abuse both in the US. The truly sad part is, in today’s media driven fear mongering, it’s even easier to shame those that have real and potentially dangerous addiction instead of expressing empathy, understanding, compassion, acceptance, and help. Which is where some go wrong, though I admittedly don’t have all the answers to addiction.
Drugs Are Here to Stay
People use drugs for many reasons. Some need them to survive, while others use them recreationally… But who are we to judge, as long as they aren’t a danger to themselves or others. If we could all be more open about our drug use, their would be less taboo and hiding ourselves, and more discussion, education, and acceptance. But to ban something completely is to turn a blind eye to the harsh reality of drug use in our society. Prostitution is still a thing in the US too! And despite it being illegal, prostitutes can be found almost everywhere. Thing is, people like getting fucked up, numbing, and sell themselves on the idea that a drug can make all the difference. Cheers! You social drinkers, and body builders… you do you!
The fact remains, where there is demand, there will always be supply--though the price will vary with the inherent risks of providing the goods. So there will never be a way to stop their use within our borders, and people in our borders are creating new drugs all the time. In my view, there is no way to completely rid ourselves of drugs without allowing the government to completely police us. No one wants that!
Much Ado About Drugs?
Law enforcement spends about $100 billion a year combating America's drug problem, with $35 billion going directly to enforcement. However, despite their legal status, those wanting to get high are largely already doing so. I personally advocate for full legalization of drugs for the following reasons--many of which can be found in an abstract from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, or at druglibrary.org.
Legalization could save anywhere from $50-$150 billion a year if we consider the resources spent of suppression activities
And here are some of the potential negatives associated with full legalization.
Drugs Are Fun!
Americans love drugs! Drugs are fun, dangerous, helpful, damaging, crazy and insightful. Some allow us to view life through their unique filter, providing insight to ourselves, others, and experiences, while others help us socialize, stay awake, and dance our hearts out at music festivals (one of my personal favorites). As a society, we will always have a drug problem. Who doesn’t want to feel amazing, beautiful and godly! And now that we know we have a drug problem, let’s think intelligently and responsibly about drugs as a society... instead of continuing to overpay, penalize, control, and destabilize people and other countries by insisting that we can’t regulate ourselves. Legal drugs can be a thing. We just have to start educating, accepting, and researching drugs without all the red tape.