Author Topic: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?  (Read 1346 times)

Michael Slusser

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Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« on: April 28, 2013, 01:30:54 PM »
Two articles came to my Inbox today about two RC priests across the border who are laboring to deal with the terrible problems produced by the apparently insatiable American demand for illegal drugs:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/04/migrants-and-zeta-violence-in-mexico.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/magazine/even-violent-drug-cartels-fear-god.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=americas

As drug customers, we are about as bad neighbors as Mexico could have, tearing up their society even as we destroy our own. Do you see any prospect that we in the U.S. can reduce our citizens' dependence on the illusory "salvation" of drug highs? Should this effort be a more significant part of our mission of evangelization than it currently is?

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

George Erdner

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 03:09:33 PM »
It would be relatively easy for the US to reduce the demand for illegal recreational drugs. But, it will never happen.

Drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other dangerous and addictive drugs requires a considerable criminal infrastructure for manufacturing and distribution. Since these drugs are illegal, they are very profitable for the criminal enterprises that traffic in them. One of the things that these criminal enterprises must engage in to maintain their customer base is to use proactive sales agents (sometimes called "pushers") to recruit new customers. This recruiting often involves deception, and preying on the young and/or gullible.

The demand for addictive illegal drugs is, ultimately, created by those who seek addicts as their customers. Without this proactive marketing to create new drug addicts, the number of people who become addicted to illegal drugs would be seriously reduced.


If the high profits from the sale of illegal drugs were to disappear, then the criminal infrastructure needed to create them would soon disappear as well. If there was no market for cocaine, then farmers who grow coca plants would have to switch to other crops. The same goes for growers of opium poppies. With no production facilities turning the raw materials into finished product, and no smuggling networks bringing the finished product into the country, and no salesmen on street corners recruiting new customers, demand for illegal drugs would soon dry up.


Therefore, it seems to me that they best course of action to putting out of business the criminal organizations that are responsible for both creating the demand and providing the supplies is to undercut their prices enough to drive them from the marketplace. If the government were to use a carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being free supplies of sufficient drugs to eliminate all withdrawal symptoms and the stick being a much more aggressive campaign of arrest and incarceration for all addicts, I believe that the profits to the criminal enterprises who traffic in drugs could be reduced to the point where those organizations will be forced to find other business opportunities. That would take the retail-level dealers out of the picture, which would end the creation of new drug addicts.


I am totally confident that the approach I have described would work. I am also positive that it will never, ever be attempted. 

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 03:18:09 PM »
We heard former Mexican president Vicente Fox speak at Westmont, my son's college. He says we in the US are directly responsible for the drug crisis due to our children's use of these entry drugs of marijuana leading to more and more "hard drug" use. The emphasis on drug-interdiction in Columbia has simply moved the problem to Latin America and Mexico.

Parents in our neighborhood drop the ball on a regular basis as far as alcohol and drug use at home.
They tire of being parents and want to be friends to their kids. Makes it hard on us "real" parents.

My wife and I wish the discontinued commercials showing casual drug use leading to finance terrorism and gang-warfare would be shown again on television.

We are waiting for the drug connection in the Boston bombings...

Peter (Cassandra) Garrison

Pete Garrison

George Erdner

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 05:12:10 PM »
We heard former Mexican president Vicente Fox speak at Westmont, my son's college. He says we in the US are directly responsible for the drug crisis due to our children's use of these entry drugs of marijuana leading to more and more "hard drug" use. The emphasis on drug-interdiction in Columbia has simply moved the problem to Latin America and Mexico.



Vincent Fox is as inaccurate in his assessment of why there is a drug problem as he was incompetent at governing Mexico.

pr dtp

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 07:00:30 PM »
We heard former Mexican president Vicente Fox speak at Westmont, my son's college. He says we in the US are directly responsible for the drug crisis due to our children's use of these entry drugs of marijuana leading to more and more "hard drug" use. The emphasis on drug-interdiction in Columbia has simply moved the problem to Latin America and Mexico.



Vincent Fox is as inaccurate in his assessment of why there is a drug problem as he was incompetent at governing Mexico.

Supply and demand - they are a vicious circle dating back centuries. (Sometime look up the British Opium-Silver-Tea Trade. )

George Erdner

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 07:32:46 PM »
We heard former Mexican president Vicente Fox speak at Westmont, my son's college. He says we in the US are directly responsible for the drug crisis due to our children's use of these entry drugs of marijuana leading to more and more "hard drug" use. The emphasis on drug-interdiction in Columbia has simply moved the problem to Latin America and Mexico.



Vincent Fox is as inaccurate in his assessment of why there is a drug problem as he was incompetent at governing Mexico.

Supply and demand - they are a vicious circle dating back centuries. (Sometime look up the British Opium-Silver-Tea Trade. )


But the demand for illegal drugs is somewhat unique. There would be minimal demand if it were not for suppliers aggressively and dishonestly promoting the commodity.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 02:07:53 PM »

But the demand for illegal drugs is somewhat unique. There would be minimal demand if it were not for suppliers aggressively and dishonestly promoting the commodity.

There is nothing unique in the demand for illegal (or legal, but illicitely used) drugs. The suppliers are meeting an economic demand, not vice versa.  The Feds' "War on Drugs" makes it worse.
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Don Whitbeck

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 02:21:13 PM »
The Feds' "War on Drugs" makes it worse.


It has been a complete failure!  As well as Project D.A.R.E.  Legalize it, and then let them die of an overdose if they wish too.  Sell it, Tax it, and Control it.

The Voice of God will NEVER Contradict the Word of God

George Erdner

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 02:56:33 PM »

But the demand for illegal drugs is somewhat unique. There would be minimal demand if it were not for suppliers aggressively and dishonestly promoting the commodity.

There is nothing unique in the demand for illegal (or legal, but illicitely used) drugs. The suppliers are meeting an economic demand, not vice versa.  The Feds' "War on Drugs" makes it worse.


I must disagree. I seriously doubt that more than a tiny handful of people would seek out sources of heroin on their own. I've known a few junkies in may day, not many, but some. Not a single one of them made a decision to go looking for a heroin salesman so that they could become a drug addict. In every single case, a heroin salesman offered them some free samples to get them started. Take away the salesman offering free samples, and they wouldn't have become junkies.


That is very different for the demand for chocolate covered doughnuts, or cappuccino, or any legal commodity.




Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 02:28:51 PM »
Do you see any prospect that we in the U.S. can reduce our citizens' dependence on the illusory "salvation" of drug highs? Should this effort be a more significant part of our mission of evangelization than it currently is?


More to your original question, Father, it struck me when learning of the early catechumenate that a significant part of the instruction offered was how to live the life of the Christian, and those teachings were both practical and detailed.  Perhaps the proper word is actually "disciplined."  We Lutherans can find a similar thing in the "Table of Duties" that are part of the Small Catechism (though not usually the "pocket editions"), though that is rather brief.

Such instruction was not particularly detailed when I was in catechism (early 1970s), but the suburban American culture was still rather "Christian" and there were things that Christians simply "did not do" (even if they really were doing them).  And there were many ways in which the culture -- partly through the Puritan Christian heritage of the nation, but much more from the (often anti-Puritan) social part of the Progressive movement (the WTCU was not "conservative") -- sought to instill proper behaviors, via instruction in the schools, a positive "peer pressure" (I think especially of films, both "educational" and entertaining), and civil legislation. 

Seems to me that for the last generation or so, even Christians pretty much openly do what was culturally looked down upon 50-60 years ago.  Or, if they aren't doing, they nonetheless don't see anything terribly, uh, sinful about such things.

Pax, Steven+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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pr dtp

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 07:01:50 PM »
We heard former Mexican president Vicente Fox speak at Westmont, my son's college. He says we in the US are directly responsible for the drug crisis due to our children's use of these entry drugs of marijuana leading to more and more "hard drug" use. The emphasis on drug-interdiction in Columbia has simply moved the problem to Latin America and Mexico.






Vincent Fox is as inaccurate in his assessment of why there is a drug problem as he was incompetent at governing Mexico.

Supply and demand - they are a vicious circle dating back centuries. (Sometime look up the British Opium-Silver-Tea Trade. )


But the demand for illegal drugs is somewhat unique. There would be minimal demand if it were not for suppliers aggressively and dishonestly promoting the commodity.

As long as there is trauma in life, as long as is there are people trying to escape in life, there will be a market for alcohol, for drugs (both misuse of legal and illegal) drugs - and other "escapes" and addictions.

The only hope - seriously - is found in Christ - and even then, the road is hard, and the temptations large.

George Erdner

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Re: Can the United States Reduce its Demand for Illegal Drugs?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 07:20:56 PM »
As long as there is trauma in life, as long as is there are people trying to escape in life, there will be a market for alcohol, for drugs (both misuse of legal and illegal) drugs - and other "escapes" and addictions.

The only hope - seriously - is found in Christ - and even then, the road is hard, and the temptations large.


That is correct. However, this thread is about the demand for illegal drugs. A broad, sweeping statement like yours, though true, is beside the point. While there will always be a desire for shortcuts to happiness, whether through ingesting substances or through other escapes and addictions, this specific, focused discussion is only about illegal drugs.


So, while your observation is accurate, it answers a question not being discussed. To frame that question more precisely, it is, "Why would someone select heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or some other illegal drug as their preferred means of escape?" I submit that with no ready supply of such drugs, and no aggressive marketing of those drugs by their distributors, the marketplace would select other, more readily available "escapes". If the demand for such escapes is shifted from illegal drugs to legal commodities, then that would result in a reduction of demand for illegal drugs, which is the topic of this thread.