Drug Detox and Rehab Need More Funding to Fight the War on Drugs

Drug Detox and Rehab Need More Funding to Fight the War on Drugs

After years of being used by methadone clinics as a substitute for heroin, methadone is now commonly prescribed by doctors and in pain management clinics as a painkiller. However, pain is not the only thing methadone kills. In fact, a Texas coroner said yesterday that he's seen more methadone-related deaths in the last six weeks than in the last 15 years. He sees it as an epidemic. What else could you call a drug that is now killing twice as many people as heroin?

To make matters worse, many of the people taking methadone initially started it as part of a drug rehab program that would eventually get the addict off drugs but, instead, it became their new drug of addiction. Now they need drug detox and a drug rehab program to get off methadone instead of heroin. But methadone is not the only legally-prescribed opiate drug that is causing addiction. OxyContin, Lortab, Xanax, Vicodin, Percocet - there's a whole stable of them, these are just a few, and their names are becoming household words. And they are more and more frequently the drugs mentioned in news articles about drug addiction, drug abuse, hospital ER admissions, drug detox, drug rehab, and drug-related deaths.

In Florida, five people die every day from one of these drugs. In one small Texas parish, at least 10 people have died from an overdose in the last two months, according to the parish coroner. Multiply that by the number of states, and the number of parishes, and you get an idea of the magnitude of the problem. And that's just the deaths, not the ruined lives. The war on drugs costs about $100 billion every year. In 2005, $30 billion was spent just on keeping drug offenders in prisons. But no matter how much money we throw at the problem, it just gets worse. We've been fighting this war since Nixon coined the phrase in 1971. In those days, high school kids would have had a pretty hard time finding a lot of the drugs that are now offered to them every day. And 22 million Americans need alcohol or drug detox and rehab.

Adding prescription drugs to the mix - many of them more dangerous, more debilitating, more addictive, more subject to abuse and more deadly than street drugs - is making the war that much harder to win and is a serious hole in the war on drugs strategy. In fact, if you wanted to destroy a country, this would be the way to do it. But it's not just other countries creating the problem. We're doing it to ourselves. If we don't start putting more money into drug detox and drug rehab programs that actually bring people to the point of not wanting to be drugged or drunk, it won't matter how much we spend on foreign drug production and distribution, or how much we spend on putting drug offenders in jail, the problem will not go away.

Drug detox and drug rehab for our own citizens is really where our money should be going. If you want to help fight the war on drugs, start with your own family, your own friends, your own neighbors. Get them into a drug detox program, follow it up with good drug rehab, and they'll be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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