Drugs are bad. Anyone who has been to the pit of hell that is drug addiction will tell you that. I myself have seen friends turned into lying fiends by their need of a substance. Drugs are a major problem for this country; so what is to be done?

The definition of insanity is performing the same action over and over again and each time expecting a different outcome. This is our national drug policy, insanity. For years this war on drugs has promised cleaner streets and cleaner kids. It has achieved neither. Any high school student will tell you that getting drugs is as easy as picking up the phone and making a call. As a result, these drugs line the pockets of individuals who care little for the safety and well being of our children and more about making easy money. This strengthens the downward spiral of drug abuse and lucrative illegal trade until it reaches the point we see it at today.

The government’s answer to this problem is to hunt down the dealer and throw him in jail, yet for every dealer thrown in jail two more spring up to take his place. Another popular solution is to throw the drug abuser in jail. This policy is especially counterproductive. As our nation’s jails and prisons are filled to the brim with nonviolent drug offenders, billions of dollars are wasted on processing and imprisoning them. And even at this huge cost to taxpayers, drug use is not curbed. Drugs are our nations answer to depression. As a drug user is processed through the system, his or her dignity is stripped away and they are fined or worse. This only adds to the user’s depression and leads to a greater dependency on illegal drugs, which, thanks to the government’s prohibition, cannot be tracked or monitored.

To me at least, an obvious correlation between alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition seems present. Though the world would be a better place without alcohol, the country saw that trying to take it away from the people caused more problems than it solved. Millions were spent on combating violent criminal gangs that sprung up to traffic the then illegal substance. Yet there was always someone willing to break the law and supply it to the people at a tidy profit. Only when prohibition was done away with were these violent criminals forced out of business. Perhaps some of you keeping up with current events will notice that this sounds an awful lot like what is happening in Mexico today.

For those of you worried about the nation’s children, consider this: in many places it is easier for an underage child to obtain illegal drugs than alcohol. This is because dealers don’t ask for I.D and cannot be controlled by the government. So who do you want between your child and a dangerous drug, a dealer looking for a quick buck, or a licensed store owner monitored by the government who could easily lose his or her livelihood by selling to a minor? The choice is yours.

You see Pandora’s box has been opened. The evil that is drugs has been unleashed upon the world. Yet still in the box there lies one more thing, hope. The hope that through education and open, honest debate we can show our children that drugs are not the way to a happy and healthy life. The hope that draconian laws will no longer be used to punish those addicted to drugs who truly need a helping hand. The hope in a brighter tomorrow where young people are steered away from drugs not by fear of the law but by the knowledge and truth instilled in them by caring adults. We as a society have come a long way since the reefer madness propaganda of the 1930’s. Let’s set hope free and support new ideas that actually work instead of out-of-date punitive policies that don’t.