Substance Abuse and Addiction: An Epidemic, an Emergency and a Disaster (EED)

The sad faces of abuse and addiction in poor and deprived communities and spread to affluent and insulated suburbs are exposed. The epidemic has invaded rural and farming communities and our school systems, where the drug pushers and victims are the very students; abuse affecting seniors and minorities at some facilities were also exposed as well as illicit prescribing, which resulted in arrests, and convictions were given full coverage.

War on drugs, a disappointment in spite of near trillion spent on eradication, interception, and erection of physical barriers. Communities already saturated by illicit drugs and addiction, flooded with fentanyl distributed in excess of prescription needs only to enhance profits and bonuses; no probity shown for health and safety of human beings.

Pros and cons of legalizing marijuana and the debilitating effects of tobacco and alcohol examined. Border patrols were applauded. Disparity in drug sentencing and incarceration criticized. Children born of addicted parents summarized, and treatment of abuse and addiction as illness was defended.

The author postulates that solution to the drug explosion lies within homes and communities, not in poppy fields of Central and South America. Death penalty, a knee-jerk reaction, always exempts the kingpins and producers. It solves nothing.

--Randolph R. Estwick, M.D., FACP

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