While many baby boomers were still in their twenties or thirties (in 1971), then President Richard M. Nixon coined the phrase “War on Drugs” to describe a new set of initiatives taken by the United States designed to enhance illegal drug prohibition.
One of the initiatives, perhaps the most significant effort to curb illegal drugs in the history of the United States, came about two years later in July 1973 when Nixon signed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Act into law creating what has become in 2008 a huge federal government bureaucracy with over 11,000 federal employees funded by an annual budget approaching $3 billion.
Two questions for senior citizens on fixed incomes are whether or not this is an effective expenditure of taxpayer dollars; and is this so-called “war” really a curse on our society that could ruin our country.
Partial answers to these questions come in the form of recent annual statistics from both the DEA and the White House’s Office of Drug Control Policy. For example, in 2005 the DEA seized a reported $1.4 billion in drug trade related assets and $477 million worth of drugs.
That sounds great until you realize that during that same year the White House’s estimate of illegal drugs sold in the US was as much as $64 billion.
That’s less than a 3-percent confiscation effective rate.
Is that much of an impact on the illegal drug trade?
For the bad guy, that’s just a minor line item on the balance sheet of the “cost of doing business” in the US.
And, the “real” cost to the taxpayer for the use of illegal drugs in the US goes well beyond the DEA’s cost burden.
When you add in the cost of incarcerating drug offenders, police protection, legal adjudication, and state and federal corrections activities such as parole and probation costs, the “real” cost to the tax payer in 2005 for the consumption of illegal drugs was in excess of $50 billion—probably closer to $150 billion when all indirect socio-economic costs are accounted for.
Is there anything we senior citizens can do to curb this curse on America?
There sure is.
The first thing is to remind ourselves that we are a country of laws which as citizens we agree to obey.
If we can’t agree on that statement, the US is then probably doomed to fail—sooner rather than later.
If we agree that illegal drug use in this country needs to stop, then we need to immediately take control of and halt both the illegal consumption and the illegal sale of prohibited drugs.
Whatever sacrifices that takes!
It appears that most illegal drugs arrive within the US via the US-Mexico border. Both the US leadership and the Mexico leadership appear to be impotent with respect to enforcing their own illegal drug trafficking and consumption laws—effectively encouraging both consumers and drug dealers on both sides of the border to participate in illegal drug activity.
Mexico’s vicious drug cartel thugs are now stooping to the hellish evil antics of the anti-Christ Al-Qaeda mindless thugs who attacked the US on September 11, 2001. They are openly threatening to take over both Mexican police and military agencies unless they get their government’s cooperation with their illegal activities mostly aimed at us—the US’s large number of “hooked” users of illegal drugs.
We need to put immediate political and financial pressure on our country’s leadership to shut that border down to illegal drug trafficking—and to shut it down now!
If you haven’t caught the recent hideous news of gruesome murders of law-abiding Mexican law-enforcement officials and others along the Mexico border, then it’s time to pay attention to it—including the recent beheadings of Mexican citizens fighting this uphill battle.
The US State Department has issued several recent travel “Alerts,” one just issued last week for US travelers to Mexico warning about the many dangers of visiting Mexico (especially along the border) at this time.
A war-like battle that threatens to spread across the border very soon (right into our own backyard) if we do not make every effort to stop the drug cartel violence where it is most active now—in Mexico—especially along the border and even into drug-gang infested neighboring cities such as San Antonio where illegal drug and gang activity enforcement seems to be lacking at best.
Probably our single-most effective strategy is to do everything that we can as senior citizens to stop the consumption and selling of illegal drugs by those who we might know of or suspect of that activity—such as family members, neighbors and others.
If we don’t do at least that, if we choose to turn our heads the other way to avoid the often times difficult task of fighting the evils of illegal drug use, then the innocent blood being shed in this horrific battle will be on our hands—for simply doing nothing.
That same innocent blood is on the hands of all illegal drug dealers and buyers/users of illegal drugs who just go along with the crowd disobeying our laws while encouraging and funding the likes of the opium growers in Afghanistan and the illegal drug growers and exporters in countries like Columbia, Mexico and elsewhere.
And, perhaps most of the responsibility for the shedding of innocent blood caused by the sale and use of illegal drugs is squarely at the feet of ineffective and/or corrupt US and Mexico government officials, judges and others in authority who sit idle (some suspected of receiving political contributions from laundered illegal drug money) while drug dealing and consuming scum continue to flourish in both the US and Mexico.
It’s time for senior citizens to take a stand by speaking out harshly against this national curse.
For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must act very quickly!
© Submitted by Bob Grafe for publication on May 22, 2008.