The drug problem is complicated by the wide diversity of substance abuse, their varying effects on the mind and body, and the kinds of dependencies users develop. There is also a much debated issue of the connection between drug use and crime. An issue infinitely more complex than the stereotype of maddened addicts committing heinous acts because they either are under the influence of drugs or need to get the money to support the habit.
The use of chemical substances that alter physiological and psychological functioning dates back to the Old Stone Age. Rival drug dealers settle disputes with guns, power struggles within a single drug enterprise lead to assaults and homicides, one dealer robs another, informers are killed, their associates retaliate, and by standers, some of them children, get caught in the cross fire. Profits are enormous, and no taxes are paid on them. Because the profits are “dirty money,” they must undergo money laundering. Typically the cash obtained from drug sales in the United States is physically smuggled out of the country because it cannot be legally exported without disclosure. Smuggling cash is not easy yet billions of dollars are exported, in false-bottomed suitcases and smugglers’ vests, to countries that allow numbered bank accounts without identifications of names. New methods of laundering drug profits that do not involve physical transfer of cash have recently been devised, such as fake real estate transactions; purchase of gold, antiques, and art; and cybercurrency, which utilizes the Internet. Corruption and crime rule in all drug-producing countries. Government instability is the necessary consequence. Coups replace elections. Nor are the populations of these countries immune to addiction themselves. While drug treatment deals with the problem of addiction after the fact, education tries to prevent people from taking illegal drugs in the first place. The idea behind educational programs is straight forward: People who have...
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