Remove profit motive to block drug trade
To the editor:
In his commentary in the July 13 Eagle, "Better way to deal with drugs proves elusive," Alan Chartock wonders aloud (actually in print) if there's a solution to the expanding drug crisis, both near and far. With the current efforts seemingly falling short, he even goes on to suggest that legalization may be a solution. Does his suggestion bear merit?
It does seem like the currents efforts, other than the medical community reducing the initial exposure, are focused on "closing the barn door after the horse is out." Certainly there are many other worthwhile efforts being made to address the crisis.
So what are the driving "forces" behind the problem? What motivates individuals to become involved in the "trade," either as a grower/processor, distributor, retailer, or user?
Like any other business, each level of the drug organization has their own needs and/or wants. For some, certainly many at the "user" level, it's the apparent need to escape from reality. To the user it's to get that high that they can't get elsewhere. Again, like any organization, as you progress up the levels of the organization, the financial rewards become more of a driving force. So, the more users, the more money comes in. The more profitable it is up the food chain.
So is the reality that the money is actually more the "drug" than the drugs are? Let's face it, folks, the money in the drug trade is pretty good compared to the minimum wage jobs! Why work for $400 a week, when you can make at least half that per day!
So what if the profit was taken out of the drug business? Would, like any other business once the profit disappeared, the business collapse? Who wants to work for little/no return? If the business collapses, does the product stream dry up?
If drugs were available at dirt cheap prices, would use increase? Maybe, maybe not. If the business was regulated by, or operated by, the state, and the product offered at rock bottom prices (i.e., free), would it soon become apparent who the clients are? Once the clients were known, could you then better focus the effort on addressing the underlying issues that started, and continue to drive the epidemic?
Ah, the cost some will say! What's more expensive, proactive actions or reactive ones?
Ah, the client's privacy, would be violated, some will say! Do obituaries violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act?
So, Alan, to answer your question, maybe the business model should be changed.
Dennis Croughwell, Dalton