Personal responsibility wins the war on drugs

President Clinton’s war on drugs — like every president’s before him since the war began — has failed, and will continue to fail. Any war on drugs will be won by those who simply choose not to use them. Supporters of a drug-free America believe they can win the fight by using external methods, from beefed-up border patrols to harsh mandatory sentences. These methods are wasteful and ineffective. The solution lies in personal responsibility and choice.
Very few people journey through life without enduring some form of hardship or suffering — the stuff that drives people to use drugs. From bad childhoods to losing jobs, from divorce to debilitating disease, it is a wonder the entire world is not drug or alcohol inflicted. And there are reasons why the world is not drugged or drunk on such a universal level. The solution lies in strength of character and personal choice. It is making the choice not to solve problems by resorting to drugs. The options for problem-solving are the same for everyone. People can choose to solve problems by facing them head on or by ignoring them. Everyone struggles with fight or flight. Therein lies strength of character.
The war on drugs has created a vast criminal network. It is common knowledge that the revenue generated by international drug cartels rivals that of major corporations. Prohibition simply drives the enemy underground, where it manages to thrive anyway. Every imprisoned drug dealer is immediately replaced by the hoards of dealer interns standing in a very long line. Bear in mind, the vultures who prey on people’s weaknesses are singularly lacking in the same substance of character as those who play the role of victim. In turn, those self-appointed crusaders who believe in such extreme measures as beheading drug kingpins or shooting down transport planes fail to see they are creating the very war they are trying to end.
Anti-drug warriors are hell-bent on getting tougher, which continues to make them weaker and wasteful. Since the early 1980’s through 1994, $150 billion was spent in the fight against drugs. Another $150 billion has been spent since then. More than a million citizens are behind bars for drug-related offenses. Because of drugs, crime rates soar, while hospital emergency rooms fill beyond capacity. Report after report and survey after survey conclude this or that about the drug problem. Meanwhile, the problem just keeps getting worse. From the American Civil Liberties Union to the Cato Institute, dozens of organizations for years have denounced the war on drugs and rallied for decriminalization. No one’s listening.
Numerous public service announcements and drug-free America campaigns acknowledge personal responsibility by sending the message, “Just say no.” But for most Americans, all the political speeches, latest reports and public service announcements amount to a heap of political crap. Political bantering over issues like increased police reserves, or stiffer penalties might be a short-term solution, but no more than a Band-Aid at best. The bottom line in the war on drugs or drug reform, is that drug taking is an individual choice and responsibility, and the ultimate solution is having the strength of character — the will — not to use drugs.