During the past year I’ve been on a one man crusade that has led to nowhere and has accomplished nothing. The goal of that crusade is for (Beaufort County) Commissioners to lobby the legislature for stronger drug laws and tougher sentences for those who profit from the sale of drugs. This effort is aimed at punishing, not the user, but those who benefit from the sale of illegal drugs. Illegal drugs are not limited to those that are illegally manufactured, or substances that are grown or imported from other countries. They include opioid manufactured by drug companies that find their way to those who do not have a prescription for their use. Marijuana is included in my definition of illegal drugs. Once again, I am not going after the user but the seller.
My conversations with Judges all end about the same way. The summary statement is something like “If you make the penalty severe enough, they will stop selling illegal drugs.” The solution to our drug problems seems to be just that simple. There are very few drug sales in countries that have severe penalties. Most of these countries have had huge drug problems at some time or the other. They solved their problem by imposing long mandatory jail sentences or even the death penalty. It worked; they do not have drug problems like the United States has.
Damage to our society is very large and growing. Fentanyl and opiate overdoses kill more than 100,000 Americans every year. Lives are ruined, children are not cared for, and many individuals are leading miserable lives because of the availability of illegal drugs.
Some have told me that my failure is caused by my politics. That is people will not support me because they do not like either my personality, my failure to cow-tow to certain people or my willingness to cling to a cause. That makes sense until one realizes there at least one hundred million other Americans who could pick up my crusade and be successful.
Is it because it is beneath our dignity, our self worth, our self importance in the world, what our friends and acquaintances may think of us if we were to take up this crusade?
Surely if the United States was willing to outlaw liquor with a constitutional amendment we, as a nation, should be willing to conquer a far more damaging and expensive issue to society like illegal drug use. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has accomplished wonders in cleaning up drunk driving on our roads. Could it be that everyone but me has experimented with illegal drugs and are afraid of being ratted out?
There are those who tell me that the drug problem is not solvable. We will always have it. Learn to live with it they say. I simply do not believe that. I think this is being spread by drug users, drug sellers and those who do not want to see their children and family in prison.. It is great advertising for those who are in the illegal drug business.
There is a lot of money made selling drugs. About half of the jail and prison system exists because of drugs. At the present time this system is a revolving door for law enforcement, lawyers, and judges. Give light sentences and they will keep coming back. Everyone can justify their job and the legal fees along with the satellite businesses of counseling, psychology, psychiatry, court personnel and the legal system.
I am not asking for much. We need mandatory sentences for the sale of drugs. Consider the backdrop of the death penalty in some countries and recently former President Trump has proffered the death penalty for the sale of drugs in the United States. Say we give 20 years for the illegal sale of any controlled substance. To accomplish this we will need more prisons. I understand that more than 60 prisons of various sizes have been closed by the State of North Carolina during the past 29years. The boys in Raleigh contend they are saving money. Are they?. Or are they promoting the illegal drug industry?
Money is not being saved when many times the cost of locking up a drug dealer is cheap compared to the cost of health and slaps on the wrists jail sentences that are created by not having a strict punishment system. I contend these geniuses are costing us money and lives.
Their solution has been to provide more health services, social services, counseling, and welfare to those families who cannot earn a living. This system is making the problem worse rather than better. It is obviously better and cheaper to lock up one criminal than to have 20 or 30 people dedicated to providing services to those affected by their customers.
Some say law enforcement should take care of this. They simply do not have the tools. The best tool being a much less permissive punishment system. Law enforcement at all levels has the same problems as was had during liquor prohibition. Some of those are bribery, staffing sufficient to maintain the current permissive system. competence and the will to succeed. Stiff sentencing cuts across all of this.
However, stiffer punishment needs to be a part of a comprehensive plan to eradicate the problem. When I mentioned considering capital punishment for the worst of the drug lords I am talking about such operators as we saw this week (https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20221128) in the huge bust in Dubai, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. Reports were that over 30 tons of cocaine were seized by authorities. Just consider the horror of 30 tones of cocaine being dumped on our streets. This is a serious problem.
An operation on this scale involved the active participation of many more people than just those arrested. It seems to me that one is justified in assuming some pretty powerful people were paid off to allow this operation to go on as long as it did. It is just those kinds of people who should be subjected to capital punishment along with asset seizures of anyone who took tainted money.
And this does not even touch to issue of “legal” drugs that are being pushed onto patients with Big Pharma making billions. It’s got to be stopped.
And a key part of stopping this tragedy is to get tough with those who make money off the misery of others.
And speaking of those who suffer the misery, both directly—as do the addicts—and indirectly which includes their families and love ones, I do not minimize the need to reform how we deal with those addicted to illegal substances. But that is another story, for another day.
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