The truth is that the drug epidemic now posing a threat to us all is not a new problem. Back in the 1960s as drug use in America hit a new plateau of acceptability, an early anti-drug crusader American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “The acceleration of widespread use of drugs such as LSD, heroin, cocaine, ‘angel dust,’ marijuana and a long list of others has contributed heavily to a debilitated society. The drug scene is worldwide. It is swimming in blood and human misery.” It was this observation and grave concern that motivated Mr. Hubbard to spend the better part of the next twenty years researching effective solutions to drug addiction.
As the drug epidemic began to find its way from the big cities to suburbs and rural communities, the problem met so little opposition as to grow unchecked. This occurred because smaller communities did not have an adequate tax base to hire and train sufficient numbers of law enforcement officers to detect and arrest the dealers. The limited resources of small towns also meant fewer and smaller drug treatment programs, fewer trained substance abuse professionals or school nurses.
In the past decade, more federal funds have become available to help suburban and small town America address the drug problem. But in fact, there’s no pot of money unlimited enough to provide adequate drug enforcement, judicial, treatment and rehabilitation in every urban, suburban and rural area of this country that needs it. The numbers of drug users and addicts are simply too huge. In 2006, more than twenty million Americans ages 12 and older were current users of illicit drugs. More than 22 million people were classified with substance dependence or abuse, which meant that they were either addicted to drugs or alcohol or used enough of the substance to damage their lives.
Waiting for a federal handout will never be the solution. What CAN we do to protect our homeland from the curse of substance abuse?
There is actually a great deal that can be done to improve this scene. In this editorial series, we will arm you with information that can give you tools to impact the drug problem in your home or community. This is a fight that concerns us all. If communities are educated on drug abuse and band together in a united effort, we can be triumphant in this battle and so preserve the way of life we hold so dear.
It must first be understood that the driving force behind any drug problem is supply and demand. America has seen one drug crisis followed by another in recent years: marijuana and LSD, PCP, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and more recently, Ecstasy and rampant prescription drug abuse. Law enforcement alone will never solve the drug problem in America. We have spent the better part of forty years and countless billions of dollars to bolster law enforcement and military actions against the drug cartels, importers, and street pushers all in an attempt to keep illegal drugs out of the hands of Americans. And to what end? The more money and resources we expend on drug enforcement, the more firmly entrenched and successful drug traffickers seem to become. Every U.S. interstate becomes a conduit for the movement of drugs. Every major airport, border crossing or seaport faces the challenges of the constant flow of drugs.
While law enforcement must be part of the overall solution, much more emphasis and resources need to be applied to the elimination of demand. Drug abuse is desirable or acceptable to far too many Americans. As long as this is the case, drug abuse will continue to spread relentlessly.
If there is one thing that we as Americans have successfully communicated to the world at large, it is that if we desire a product and are willing to pay for it, that product will be made available to us at just about any cost. Look at, for example, the Hula Hoop, Pet Rocks, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pokeman, Tickle Me Elmo and Xbox. The main difference between these products and drugs is that while Americans eventually get bored with the toys, we continue to be intrigued by drugs despite the negative societal effects.
Why? Because of a sustained and successful marketing and advertising campaign directed at every one of us. As a result, we have become a drug-oriented society. Amazingly, this campaign has remained utterly invisible to most people. But it is this insidious campaign on behalf of both legal and illegal drug use that has created the patina of acceptability in the minds of hundreds of millions of Americans. When acceptability exists, demand is easy to develop. Against these odds, law enforcement doesn’t have a chance.
What may be most astonishing is that this campaign was started more than 150 years ago, resulting in patterns of substance abuse and addiction that have been thoroughly woven into the fabric of our development as a nation.
In the upcoming articles in this series, this campaign will be revealed to you. And by being informed, you will be far more immune to its effects in the future and be able to protect those you love as well.
This article is the second in a series presented in the public interest by Narconon Arrowhead, one of the country’s leading drug education and rehabilitation centers. For more information on the rehabilitation and educational services of Narconon visit the website www.stopaddiction.com. The Narconon program was founded in 1966 by William Benitez in Arizona State Prison, and is based on the humanitarian works of L. Ron Hubbard. In more than 120 centers around the world, Narconon programs restore drug and alcohol abusers and addicts to a clean and sober lifestyle.