The "War on Drugs" in the United States is complicated by our legacy of slavery. The "War on Drugs" here in the USA was largely a means to re-slave Black people. To put them in prison working as slave labor and to keep them at the bottom of the economic latter.
The bottom of the economic ladder is a place that many White people believe is where Black people belong.
Some Vietnam War veterans came back addicted to heroin. Most recovered when their lives got better, when their daily lives were not about death & killing. And the heroin was no longer a means to escape their pain.
The "heroin epidemic" happened when White people began using heroin. There was no epidemic when Black people used.
The "heroin epidemic began when doctors realized that Purdue Pharmaceutical was lying when they stated oxycontin was not addictive and doctors withheld prescribing oxycontin. The actual physical pain and or the emotional pain was still there and people went to heroin.
There is evidence that hemp can minimize physical pain, even replace opioids. But that's another topic for discussion.
"Al Capone wasn’t getting drunk and shooting people up; the St Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago, at the height of alcohol prohibition, wasn’t carried out by alcoholics. He was killing people to protect his product in a prohibited market. When alcohol prohibition ended, all that violence ended. Ask yourself: where are the violent alcohol-dealers today? Does the head of Smirnoff go and shoot the head of Heinneken in the face? Of course not. It’s not the alcohol that has changed. It’s the decision to stop banning it, and so to take it back from armed criminal gangs, and give it to licensed and regulated legal sellers. If milk was banned, and people still wanted milk, exactly the same process would take place."
If we end the War on Drugs, we can reduce crime committed by drug users and end crime committed by drug dealers
Watch: Addiction, Depression, and the Opioid Epidemic: What Are They Telling Us? A Discussion With Johann Hari
Glenn Greenwald December 2 2018, 7:19 a.m.
The drug war’s systemic failures have become so glaring and tragic that even as that war rages on globally, many of the world’s most mainstream voices now advocate what was, until very recently, regarded as fringe and radical: the legalization, or at least decriminalization, of all drugs, not just marijuana. But while these macro-policy debates have finally become more rational and honest when it comes to data and policy outcomes, there is still far too little media attention paid to the human aspects of these debates: What are the underlying causes of addiction and why is it worsening? What is responsible for the skyrocketing rates of depression around the world and suicide in the U.S.? And why are communities ravaged by economic deprivation so vulnerable to the opioid epidemic and the pharmaceutical industry that exploits it?
The answers to these questions are not just psychological, spiritual, and medical, but also political — very political. It is extremely difficult to devise effective policy solutions to a problem when one does not understand its underlying causes; in this case, among the leading causes of many of these pathologies are policy choices in economics, the penal system, and resource distribution. Moreover, disturbing trends in addiction, mental health problems, and the opioid crisis reveal crucial signals — warning signs — about human trends that explain many of the most consequential political changes and thus, would be dangerous to continue to ignore.