An Interesting Perspective on Guns and Drugs

A recent article by Jay Stooksberry was printed in Newsweek indicating that if the war on drugs was to be stopped, the amount of gun violence in the US would significantly decline.  The article points to evidence of when Prohibition was in effect and violence increased, as well as how legalizing marijuana in Colorado has been correlated with a decline in homicides.

It doesn’t seem logical, especially because the gun violence that most of us read and hear about is the mass tragic horrific homicides carried out often by a single gunman.  However, the report indicates that only 3% of the United States homicides occur in this manner and most of them -over 50%-are instead related to drugs.

He states that in Mexico, “between 2007 and 2014, Mexican authorities estimate, 164,000 homicides were the result of cartel (drug) violence.  For perspective, during the same period, civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq totaled 103,000 combined.” These staggering numbers go to show how overlooked this problem can be.

But how would ending the war on drugs help with less gun violence?  It doesn’t seem logical. The article indicates that while the nation’s drug problem needs to be addressed, the way we are going about it is in fact, leading to more violence and more volatile situations involving guns that could be avoided.  The author is not denying there is a problem with drug abuse; instead, he indicates that the limitations and restrictions on guns is contributing to the problem rather than working to minimize it.  Further, the article points out that the “war on drugs” isn’t proving effective and hasn’t been for some time, so policies and procedures in relation to drugs and guns need to be adjusted and reexamined in order to have a more successful outcome.


Teen Drug Use on DeclineTeen Drug Use on Decline

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse called the Monitoring the Future study shows that drug use among teens is decreasing. The study, which tracked drug and alcohol use among 45,000 students nation wide in 8th, 10th and 12th grades, indicated that tobacco and alcohol use is definitely on the decrease.

Further, the use of opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin has declined as well as synthetic drug use, like Spice, K-2 and Black Mamba. However, although tobacco use has lessened, the study showed that teens are substituting regular cigarettes with e-cigarettes. In fact, around 20 percent of the student participants reported using e-cigarettes. Other research shows that teens are drawn to e-cigarette devices because of the flavored vapors. It is important to note that the vapors are not regulated so they could have even more hazardous materials in them then regular cigarettes and the increase in use among teens should be addressed.

Other key discoveries from this study by Monitoring the Future include first, that teens no longer see marijuana as dangerous and second, that teens are getting their opioids from a relative or a friend’s prescription. The legalization of marijuana has contributed to these attitudes and behaviors and these outcomes indicate that action must be taken to better educate teens about marijuana drug use and its dangers.

whitehouseheroinWhite House Plans to Spend Millions to Fight Heroin

The CNN White House producer reported this week that the White House announced a new initiative of $2.5 million to fund fighting heroin trafficking along the Eastern seaboard. That part of the country has seen a recent spike in the last few years, and the White House is working to combat it.

The White House plan will include 15 states from the area and is aiming to focus more on addiction treatment and prevention than consequences. In effect, law enforcement agencies and public health officials will be paired in creating new heroin response teams who will communicate regarding the information obtained after heroin overdose incidents and drug raids. They also hope to map the trafficking routes of heroin distribution and train their first responders to treat overdoses more effectively. Further, the report indicates that officials want more access to a drug that is used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, naloxone.

The CNN report also indicated that the White House plan was motivated by the huge increase in heroin use nation wide. For instance, just since 2002, overdose deaths from heroin have nearly quadrupled. This growing epidemic correlates with the increase in use of addictive prescription opiates, as well as the extensive availability of inexpensive heroin.

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