The survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.
For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%),
Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.
In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use.
"The use of drugs seems to be a feature of more affluent countries. The U.S., which has been driving much of the world's drug research and drug policy agenda, stands out with higher levels of use of alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis, despite punitive illegal drug policies, as well as (in many U.S. states), a higher minimum legal alcohol drinking age than many comparable developed countries," write the researchers.
Drug users in this country show a stubborn indifference to whether their preferred vice comes from Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay or Pluto, as long as it comes from somewhere. It always does.
Unfortunately, the drug cartels control much of Congress. Hiding behind “ulterior motives,” protecting our youth from drug exposure, they have bought most politicians. I personally think that because so much money is at stake, the cartels would “eliminate” any opposition to strict drug rules. It’s the only way they can stay in business. The minute the government legalizes drug use, they are out of business.
It is time that the American politicians accept the truth: drug addiction is a disease, not a crime. Legalizing and treating addicts is the only way to stop the flow of drugs. Not to mention the savings achieved from the war on drugs plus the revenue on the taxation of such substances.
With our national debt at 10% of GDP--and growing--it may be time for the US government to rethink its drug policies.
Carlos Mock, MD has published three books and is the Floricanto Press editor for its GLBT series. He was inducted in the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in October of 2007. He grew up middle-class in the suburbs of San Juan, Puerto Rico. His website is: www.carlostmock.com