Trillions of tax dollars have been spent fighting the War on Drugs. Since the words first left the mouth of former President Richard Nixon back in 1971 the war has been on, or has it? Some forty plus years later the US is experiencing a prescription drug problem that is at epidemic proportions, labeling it one of America's worst drug problems ever.

The US has spent a good chunk of money fighting against marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. The US has been battling the import of these drugs, losing both money and lives. The prisons are flooded with people that have been convicted of drug-related charges, generating even more expense.

The foreign countries that supply these drugs have made a mockery of any attempt to thwart their empire and cartels have found amusement in public beheadings and acts of torture. Murders are part of the price for attempting to gain control from others in the drug industry. This has been a war that seems to go on forever.

The battle has been fruitless and in fact, there are now more problems than there once was. Drug cartels formed only once the DEA invaded Mexico’s poppy fields and destroyed them back in the 70’s. Back then these guys were known only as growers, now they are the “cartel.” They were livid and in turn formed an organization that has been one of the most powerful ever seen. The organization then metastasized like an out of control cancer. 

In all of this, there was one left behind, alcohol. There is no war on one of the biggest killers: alcohol. There never has been. This leaves any true chance of a conquest temporary and in the end, wasted. Yet, the US has the audacity to publicly claim a war on drugs that does not embrace alcohol. How will any cartels ever be able to take this seriously?

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 there were close to 25,000 alcohol-induced deaths in the US alone and this is not even including accidents and murders. Excessive alcohol use is the 3rd top lifestyle-related source of death for the US. Individuals are flooded with thousands of commercials for alcohol annually on TV.

Here is where the statistics get staggering; there are around 15 million people that are alcohol dependent in the US alone. A half million of them are age 12 and under. The same country that spends trillions on fighting the war on drugs also spends in excess of $90 billion dollars annually on promoting the drinking of alcoholic beverages. Maybe this is why the number one drug problem in the US is alcohol.

The war on drugs will never have a chance without acknowledging alcohol as one of the biggest contenders. Without this there can be no logical end and the best exit strategy can be an unending deadlock. The US is spending more than 30 times than what it did when Nixon created the budget back in the 70’s and that still hasn’t made a dent in the problem. There is something clearly wrong with a war that doesn’t target the primary enemy.   

 

Mr. Spanswick is currently bringing his extensive mental health and business backgrounds to bear as the CEO of KLEAN Treatment Center a Residential drug and alcohol treatment center that utilizes a dual diagnosis approach and evidence based therapies.