Drug Addiction is Pandemic. I made this case in an earlier post. Assuming this is true – what are we going to do about it. Pandemics are not new to the world. The past one hundred years have seen medical advances that have eradicated many pandemic illnesses. I think of Smallpox and polio – perhaps not completely eradicated – but no longer at a pandemic level. How was this done and what lessons are to be learned in treating the pandemic of drug addiction?
Recognizing the problem is the first element of action. Our society is in some sort of denial about the issue and they insist on criminalizing the disease – thus preventing any sane action. So first we have to call a duck a duck, we have to recognize drug addiction for what it is – a pandemic. Only then will we as a civilization be able to properly address the problem.
We must immunize the population. How is this done? As with other infectious diseases – it takes education. Practice good hygiene, do not hang around places known to carry the disease, etc. The current education on this pandemic issue is one of moral instruction – rather than medical clarity. A shift in the paradigm will be necessary to promote proper education. I am reminded of the movie, Ben Hur, and the primitive response to leprosy.
Test the population for the illness. Many jobs require all sorts of medical testing. You had to take a drug test to be a River Boat Pilot; I even had to take a drug test to volunteer as a deck hand on your river boat. Every job I have had in the past forty-five years required a yearly test for tuberculosis. Bus drivers, truck drivers, and heavy equipment operators all have to take drug tests. Drug tests should be required for the entire population – but that seems a little daunting. So where do we start?
We should start doing random drug tests on anyone who receives a nickel of support from any form of government, Local, State, or Federal. School Districts and hospitals are all government subsidized – their employees should be randomly tested. Anyone who receives an entitlement should submit to random drug testing. Anyone who receives food stamps, or subsidized housing, anything, should be randomly tested for drug abuse.
We cannot stop the pandemic if we do not know where it is. If we wait for law enforcement to catch a sick person violating cumbersome and outdated laws – we will be too late. The fate of the illness will be placed in a court room rather than a medical facility. The infected populace will be herded into prisons to quarantine them. It is like throwing rocks at lepers and sending them to live in leper colonies.
The time to act is now – before the pandemic reaches into your child’s school – and it is headed that way.
See also: On Health Care