Many of our leaders have pointed a finger at foreign countries as the cause for the drug problems we have in the United States.
Colombia and its cocaine cartels are the problem, some say.
Afghanistan is the source of the heroin epidemic.
Cuba is helping to bring the drugs into the U.S.
China is the source of the opioid drugs.
Mexico is currently the number one target of such finger-pointing.
Billions of dollars have been spent fighting drug suppliers. Thousands of people, many innocent bystanders, are being killed every year in Mexico in the battles among gangs to control the supply of drugs coming into the U.S. Massive corruption and intimidation of local and national officials result from the huge amount of money flowing into Mexico.
Instead of pointing at Mexico and blaming that country for our drug problem, we should be pointing at ourselves, as we are responsible for all these deaths and all this corruption. If anything, Mexico should be seeking to build a wall to keep our problem out of their country.
This drug problem is caused by users, not suppliers. It’s a simple demand and supply situation. Reduce or eliminate the demand and the supply dries up. Rather than spending billions on trying to stop the suppliers, we need to concentrate on understanding and eliminating the cause of the demand. Even within the U.S., law enforcement focuses on arresting distributors and users of drugs. Imagine the time and money spent by law enforcement doing this, plus the cost of these people being put in prison.
You should also factor in the consequences to innocent victims of robberies, the burglaries and killings committed by drug users to get the money to pay for those drugs. I would think it would be far more cost-effective to focus on trying to eliminate the cause for drug use rather than what we have been doing.
If we are not interested in eliminating the cause, then why not make a pure economic decision to create our own legal production and distribution system within the U.S.? We have pharmaceutical companies that could produce these drugs far more efficiently and with better quality control than the current suppliers. The drugs could be supplied to users at a low cost. Instead of spending billions fighting a problem and having more billions flowing out of the country paying for the drugs, we could keep that money here and create many new taxpaying jobs.
Instead of blaming others for a problem we are the cause of, we need to look to ourselves for a cure.
Larry D. Taylor lives in St. Peter, Minn. He is the brother of Star Tribune owner Glen Taylor.