Sleeping With Disaster
ntil last year, you may never have heard of Freeway Rick Ross. That is, unless you live in Los Angeles where he was virtually a local legend.
Ross, now in custody, was a part of the American drug problem. You know, he once said, how some people feel that God put them down here to be a preacher? I felt that He had put me down to be the cocaine man.
Ross may have helped move millions of dollars of crack cocaine through the streets of Los Angeles; but again, he was only a part of the problem.
Evidence on file in the U.S. District Court in San Diego, California, indicates that Ross received vast quantities of the crack he sold in South Central L.A. from Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes a Nicaraguan drug dealer and former leader of Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the largest of several anti-communist groups commonly known as the Contras. While arguments continue over the alleged role of the CIA in establishing and maintaining such an arrangement, all but those who may well be facing jail time seem to have conceded that drugs were being put on American streets to help fund a foreign war.
Such revelations are stunning, almost so as to defy belief. But for all the untold damage done by illegal drugs and the bizarre, clandestine arrangements which put them and keep them on our streets, there is yet another side to the drug problem which receives astonishingly little attention from mainstream society: the legal drugging of our populace.
More than 100 million Americans are on some kind of legal drug at any given time. Some are medicinal in nature and help ease the effects of physical ailments. Many are taken to alleviate the symptoms of that ill-defined, incurable psychiatric catalogue of maladies known as mental illness. The legal drug market rakes in billions yearly from its consumers more money than is spent on education, the environment, cancer or AIDS research combined. To make matters worse, these substances increasingly become a part of the currency of street drugs.
The war on drugs is, bit by bit, grinding to a halt. Present efforts to deal with all sides of the problem are merely a disaster in progress one which affects all of us. We live, every waking and sleeping moment, with the consequences.
The cost of fighting the war on drugs is fantastic: The total cost of substance abuse in the United States is now estimated in excess of $177 billion. And eight million Americans are deemed addicts to one degree or another.
Addressing the problem as one of law enforcement, fighting off the invasion of foreign drugs and arresting and incarcerating offenders as rapidly as they can be located, is sorely misguided at best a response to political pressure to get tough on drugs and at worst a product of blatant refusal to address the true causes of the problem. In short, and as statistics bear out, this approach offers nothing but a war which has no end.
It is not that the efforts of law enforcement are ill-intentioned. True, there are pockets of corruption, but the overwhelming majority of those in the fray are doing their best to keep drugs off our streets and away from our children although most to whom we have spoken doubt that lasting success is attainable.
What is not addressed is why drugs are taken and abused. And the amount of money and effort spent on successful education, prevention and real rehabilitation is so small as to be non-existent in comparison to that spent on faulty solutions. This trend must change, and change dramatically.
We have answers not just to the issues of keeping people away from drugs or rescuing them once they have fallen into their trap, but to the fundamental reasons why drugs are taken in the first place, the mental and spiritual trauma attendant to drug abuse. And when we compare the problem to the solution, the comparison speaks volumes and results occur through resolving the factors that originally prompted usage. Instead of impaired reasoning, destroyed lives and the like, there is restored health, perception, stability and freedom from the need for drugs.
In this regard, we feel it is not enough to focus only on the problem of illicit street drugs while ignoring the reality that a truly drug-free lifestyle is becoming increasingly unusual. Drugs like heroin and LSD are readily identified today as dangerous, illegal drugs; that they were originally dispensed to the public as medicinal drugs is a fact rarely remembered. In this issue, we examine one significant reason why this problem, dubbed by one author as pharmo-capitalism, persists to this day and what should be done about it.
Thus, in this issue, we explore neglected aspects of the drug problem which confronts America. We also offer solutions and reforms at all levels.
We hope you will take an active role or a more active and effective one in truly winning this war. And I welcome your views on how to achieve a lasting victory.
. . .
1998 marks Freedoms 30th anniversary year. We are proud of our legacy of bringing readers the truth on issues such as crime, drugs, illiteracy and other matters of social and political concern, exposés of those who infringe human rights or individual freedoms, and special features on the broad range of topics that, over three decades, Freedom readers have come to expect. As always, your response is welcome.