I’ve never had strong political views and always stayed away from it. It’s not my calling to be involved in America’s political progression. My calling is to help save people’s lives, mainly help addicts who struggle with addiction with a message of hope and support in their recovery process. I’ve never had a President could potentially kill thousands, if not millions of lives. Until now.
When Donald Trump was elected, I didn’t think much of it. Everyone panicked and rallied “not my president!” and I failed to understand. My thought process was, “let’s give him a couple of months and see how things turn out.” Well, we’ve given him those months and the way Trump has governed our country is frightening in many ways. In this article, I will cover one of those ways, how he chooses to address the heroin epidemic in America. As a well-known recovery advocate who’s saved countless amounts of lives, this is an area where I can provide valued input.
Death Penalty for all Drug Dealers
The Hypocrisy Unveiled
President Donald Trump advocates the death penalty for all drug dealers. His rationalization is that “a drug dealer will kill a minimum of 2,000 people during his, or her life.” Let’s talk numbers.
Above you can see a chart of the average annual deaths. Obesity kills 2.8 million Americans a year, tobacco kills 480,000, alcohol kills 88,000, and all illegal drugs combined kill 64,000 people. If a drug dealer killed 2,000 people, there would be only 32 in the world. Many may think that obesity is out of context, but considering that food in America is laced with addictive drugs, like monosodium glutamate amongst many other compounds, food is a drug in the United States. The irony is President Trump is notorious for having McDonald’s delivered to the White House. Tobacco and alcohol are of course drugs, each of them by themselves kills more than all illegal drugs combined. If a drug dealer deserves the death penalty for providing a product which has the potential to cause death for the customer, then what about tobacco, alcohol, and the drugs they put in Happy Meals and sodas marketed to toddlers? If President Trump stands by his logic, then everyone who’s been a part of the fast food, tobacco, and alcohol industry is punishable by death. Let’s not forget the pharmaceuticals, with annual mortality by prescription medication averaging out to 22,000.
He proceeds to state that a drug dealer if caught, will go to jail for 30, 60, or 90 days. He fails to specify the substance and quantity of what they’re found possessing. When convicted in the State of Texas for possession of psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, pretty much any psychedelic drug the penalty ranges from 5-99 years pending on the quantity. Psilocybin mushrooms have an LD50 that’s so high. It’s impossible to overdose on the medication. Your stomach would rupture as a cause of death long before psilocybin would kill you. With all other psychedelics, the LD50 is so high it’d be a suicide attempt to consume enough for an overdose. Because of this, no one has died from these drugs the same way no one has died from marijuana, but people have faced life-long sentences as a result of marijuana possession. To get 30 days of incarceration from drug dealing you’d have to be a first-time offender selling minuscule amounts of prescription medication which are a schedule III. Is this who deserves the death penalty? If an 18-year-old sold his friend some of his ADD medication, he’s punishable by death? Being in possession of enough substances to kill thousands of people isn’t going to lead to 30 days in jail. What is he talking about, is he fit to run a lemonade stand?
Let’s Build a Wall to Keep the Heroin Out!
As a society, drug abuse prevention tactics have failed. The “war on drugs” is focused solemnly on making drugs harder to obtain and fails to address the primary motive for using these drugs in the first place. The war on drugs has not only been a massive failure but also has backfired in multiple ways.
The taxpayer is losing money to an endless war while the cartel makes a profit. Synthetic analogues of drugs as cheaper alternatives or to pass test, such as K2, have been made with research chemicals causing deaths and no clue as to how it’s going to affect users long-term. These drugs are far more dangerous than their counterparts. If heroin’s harder to obtain, something worse will make its way into the hands of the addict. People have been given felonies at a young age which has harmed their future far more than the drug they were using. People using psychedelics for religious purposes are tossed into prison, even though it’s a non-violent criminal activity and has been a part of religious practices for thousands of years. Pharmaceutical companies are profiting off of doctors handing out prescriptions to the youth including amphetamines and opiates which can cause permanent learning deficits later in life. The war on drugs has failed, and the heroin epidemic is a subtle reflection of its failure. The truth is we’re in the drug epidemic. Heroin is singled out only because of the number of deaths. The fact is, though other drugs aren’t as lethal the abuse of them is rampant, and we’re in a state of global crisis.
What’s a Better Approach than Trump’s? Mine.
The problem with the war on drugs is it neglects the underlying causes of addiction. It’s cutting the weeds but not getting down to the root, so it just grows back. Now those weeds are covering the world, and unless we get to the source, they will continue to prevail.
To prevent drug abuse we need to have a more substantial emphasis on helping kids who are suffering from being bullied. Anti-bullying campaigns will never be useful yet tons of resources as spent on them. I was a bully, and I was bullied. As a bully, the more taboo and wrong you made bullying the more it would make my friends laugh which would further satisfy my desperation for approval. Also, anti-bullying campaigns give even more attention to the bullies and neglect those suffering. Having been bullied I just wanted an adult to tell me he’s been there in with details, that would have helped. I wanted there to be a public awareness that I’m not alone so I wouldn’t be ashamed to reach out. A support group within my school that had other bullied kids lead by a counselor would have helped me immensely, but that doesn’t exist.
Parents who are going through a divorce need to leave their kids out of it, and the lack of co-parenting in our society needs to be at the forefront of the public eye. I never cared about the details of why my parents got a divorce which is why I left them out of my story. To be honest, even as an adult I still don’t care about the details. A simple, “it isn’t working out between your father and me, but it isn’t your fault,” would be sufficient to this day. Their intimacy problems are not my business. Being aware of them at a young age contributed to fear of abandonment, low self-esteem, and not feeling loved. All of these things I’ve used drugs to escape.
The negative stigma that addiction is a moral issue needs to stop. Hopefully, by digesting my story, you can see how easy it is for an adolescent mind to have decision-making influenced by their environment. Not only are there environmental influences, but kids can suffer from an undiagnosed mental disorder they’re unknowingly self-medicating. This is the case with most addicts. It’s a choice I’m not ashamed and refuse to shame another human being for making. The problem is we do shame addicts even when they’re reaching out for help. It’s already hard enough to get sober, but to deal with the shame society puts on you on top of getting sober makes it feel like you’re moving a mountain. We’ve spent so much time and energy demonizing drugs, to an extent we’ve demonized the people who use them. The reality is they’re not demons. They’re sick with an illness that was caused by underlying issues we as a society fail to address.
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