People are still smoking cigarettes in spite of all the warnings about the conditions they cause that lead to premature death. Smoking causes major expenses to the medical care system. However, we understand it should not be illegal to smoke cigarettes.
More than 30,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents each year in the U.S., but driving will never become illegal. We accept the consequences of millions of people driving every day.
More than 30,000 people die from gun violence, but guns and rifles will never be outlawed. There is a steep price we all pay for the right to be free. Some of our choices can kill us.
Punishing people in the spirit of protecting them from themselves is foolish. Educating people about the evils involving drug abuse makes more sense. “Just say no” does not work very well. Free rehabilitation facilities are better and less expensive than prison; it is more humane to care for people with a drug problem. Alcoholics Anonymous has helped thousands of people. The number of cigarette smokers has dramatically declined due to education and restrictions placed on smoking.
At least we could try a different approach to the drug problem. Education and rehabilitation instead of incarceration seems to be a better alternative. If it does not work, the authorities can always go back to what has not worked in the past, but at least give the new approach 40 years.
Al Scholp is one of our regular community contributors.