The Politics Of Addiction

I don’t share the author’s rush to embrace William Cope Moyers, but, politics aside, this commentary makes some good points about attitudes toward alcoholism and the war on drugs:

The broader Clinton kerfuffle aside, what struck me about the spurious implication of a spirit-enhanced performance was how casually and often cruelly people joke about alcohol. Both its pervasiveness and the social stigma attached to alcoholism–treating it as symptom of moral turpitude rather than the disease it is–are writ large in the political world.

The war on drugs must shift from an obsessive focus on trying to reduce the supply through interdiction and criminal justice to what works the best–—recovery. Perhaps someday that will happen. In the meantime, people addicted to alcohol and other drugs, their loved ones and the communities where they live, are desperate for help.

The federal government is spending about $20 billion a year on the war on drugs. Currently, only about 18 percent of that money goes for recovery programs, prevention, addiction research and education.