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Reducing Drug Trafficking in the United States

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Reducing Drug Trafficking in the United States

Page 1 of 3
In a perfect world, eliminating the demand for illegal substances would unilaterally resolve the drug problem eventually, although in the short run we would still have the challenge of releasing the addicted from the grips of their habits. Absent demand, the impetus for the drug trade -- profit -- would disappear. So, too, would the social and health costs of drug abuse. In reality, there will always be a demand for drugs. Some portion of every population will continue to use illegal drugs to escape reality, experience pleasure, follow peer pressure, chase a misguided sense of adventure, or rebel against authority, among other self-destructive reasons. To counter these proclivities, prevention activities must forestall the use of illegal drugs, and education must convey that the consequences of illegal drug use represent too high a price to pay for such behavior.

Instruction about the dangers of drug abuse must be focused on the populations most in need of it -- America’s youth and their mentors. Research indicates that if a young person abstains from using illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco until at least age twenty, he or she will almost certainly avoid substance abuse for the remainder of his or her life. Surveys have established that many children abstain from using illegal drugs because an adult they respect -- usually a parent but often a teacher, coach, religious or community leader -- convinced them that using drugs was dangerous. Conversely, studies show that children who use drugs often lack appropriate adult guidance.

When properly informed, most Americans make sound decisions. The challenge is to ensure that our citizens understand that illegal drugs greatly harm both individuals and society. All of us need to recognize that drug use limits human potential. We must make a convincing case that the negative consequences of drug abuse far outweigh any perceived benefit.

We must expand programs that prevent drug use and treat individuals caught...