Op-Ed: Don’t let Adderall scarcity trigger a repeat of the opioid epidemic
The drug abuse debate has raged since the 1980s, when methadone was brought to millions and heroin was introduced and quickly proliferated. But it’s safe to say the scourge has only grown in intensity since then and not slowed down.
The truth is we have a moral and political imperative to tackle this problem, in part because of the drug addiction and overdose deaths that are now the US’s leading cause of death in adults. Yet the fact of the matter is, while the United States currently has the largest rate of drug overdose deaths in the developed world, we have no mechanism to reduce illegal substance use and, therefore, illegal drug availability, distribution, and abuse.
And since the end of the Cold War, and the decline of its economic and political might, drug cartels, drug gangs and other criminal organizations — which are not only using and trafficking drugs, but are responsible for the majority of illegal trafficking of all substances — have grown to become one of the most important and most dangerous sources of violence and drug addiction.
Not only are drug gangs involved in drug trafficking and other violent criminal activities, but their profits are an important source of funds for other criminal organizations, which make it a very lucrative business to get involved in. And the fact that these gangsters are often involved in both drug trafficking and violent activities further complicates the situation.
Indeed, despite the fact that a lot of drug policy research has identified gang violence and drug trafficking as one of the main causes of the drug abuse problem, drug trafficking and gang violence continue to be among the main drivers of this problem now.
It is for these reasons that the US must take measures that will end the drug abuse epidemic, and at the same time, end the current drug abuse-related problem. While the U.S. may not be able to stop drug cartels from running their operations, it can stop other criminals from using or attempting to use these drugs for criminal purposes.
Yet we also must realize that ending drug abuse is not the only way to solve it. The solution must come from a comprehensive approach that deals with the root causes of the problem, including how we address the drug abuse-related harms, including the increased number of people who are dependent on or addicted to opioids, and the related crisis of drug diversion to illegal drug use and criminal activity.