War on Drugs failure, ignores consumers
By: Alexandria Kassman
Issue date: 4/10/09 Section: Extra!
It's no secret that drugs are a huge problem in our country, especially in the Tucson community. Heroin appears to be quickly replacing methamphetamines as the city's main offender. Three students from Canyon del Oro (CDO) high school have died this year from heroin overdoses.
Although the most publicized drug of college is usually alcohol, binge-drinking is not the only thing that affects college campuses. Harder drugs that take a quicker toll on the body, such as heroin and cocaine, are also prevalent. The usage of these drugs usually leads to failure in classes and subsequent academic probation, expulsion or dropping out. This problem affects everyone, even if university communities disown people who can't keep their habit recreational.
"I know a lot of people who do heroin. It's a very popular drug," says Sean Melen, a Pima Community College graphic arts sophomore. "I know this kid who lives downtown and it's really sad seeing him because he's so messed up on heroin. He just doesn't even realize what's going on. He's constantly in his own little world."
It is undeniably difficult to get out of the cycle of drug use. "All my friends who've gotten off drugs have had to hit rock bottom in their lives before they ever realized that they needed to do something else besides drugs," says Melen. "Until people who are doing drugs have that happen to them then they're probably just going to end up destroying themselves."
With the drug cartels battling over territory on the U.S./Mexico border, drug-related crime continues to plague our country. Washington is only now starting to notice that it has "spilled" into our country, even though it has been a humanitarian crisis in Mexico for years.
Greed, money and apparent insanity fuel drug-related violence. Whether the crimes spurn from drug dealers or the people who are addicted, where there are drugs, there are crimes. When you think about it, it makes sense. First of all, when you are addicted to a drug, your entire life revolves around your next fix. How do you find the time to do drugs? Personally, I've got too much shit to do. Drugs not only diminish your capacity to work for your money, but they also diminish your thinking so that you will steal and commit crimes to get your drug by any means necessary. In regard to the drug cartels, people will do a lot of immoral things out of greed for money.
The militarization of the border is treating a symptom of the problem and not the root. The fact is that Americans are demanding drugs and drug cartels are going to continue supplying them as long as it is lucrative. The U.S.'s "War on Drugs" doesn't work because it only targets the suppliers and not the consumers.
The real question is why are people demanding drugs at such a high rate? During hard economic times, "sindustries" like the drug trade do not see a decrease in business. People are looking for a quick pick-me-up to their sorrows, and drugs seem like a fun way to feel good.
People underestimate the affects of drugs and get addicted. Even common stimulants like caffeine and nicotine can have intense withdrawal and addictive qualities, so imagine how physically addicting heroin and cocaine are. People can become physically addicted to heroin and cocaine after using the drug just once. That means that one night of fun experimentation can result in a much larger problem.
College is known as a time for experimentation. Sometimes experimenting isn't so inconsequential, and the drugs that you buy probably left a string of crimes in their wake.
People may never comprehend the old adage "Drugs are bad," which means that the drug trade will continue. Someone probably died trying to get you that heroin. So when you think about experimenting for fun, think about where your drugs are coming from and just how much fun someone had getting them to you.
- Alexandria Kassman is a creative writing and Spanish senior. She can be reached at email@example.com.