Gun Violence Versus Drug Abuse in Political Discussion

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Last year, there were 3.4 firearm homicides per 100,000 (1), while the deaths from Heroin overdose in America’s youth, aged 18-25, were 7.3 per 100,000 (2). Which is a bigger issue, drug abuse, or guns?

Donald Trump on his official site posteda PDF dedicated to how he intends to protect the Second Amendment, but no policy for handling drug abuse. He has a stance on ISIS, making it the highlight of his focus on foreign policy.

In the year 2015, 28,328 people died globally in terror attacks (3), while 43,225 Americans died of drug overdoses (4).

It is clear that this is being ignored, being seen as a problem of character in the individual, however, this is often not the case. The Rat Park Experiment, which concluded that the use of drugs, at least in lab mice, could be attributed to their environment (5). This has links in human psychology as well, especially from actions taken in Switzerland.

At first, the Swiss tried to make the [Heroin] problem disappear with a law enforcement solution. They repressed drug use and trafficking with arrests and incarceration. The proportion of the prison population jailed for drug use increased to 80 percent at one time.

This closely follows what has been done in America with the start of “The War on Drugs,” which given the continued rise in drug use and prison populations (just like what happened in Switzerland), may be concluded to be ineffective.

 

 

Depict number of perscriptions per 100 people in the US. Some places have more than one per person, showing drug abuse

 

After failing to solve their drug issues, the Swiss tried something new, now providing medically safe sources of the drugs to help people wean off, while providing treatment. It helped, but the underlying issues remain.

The reality is that in America, there is crushing income inequality, and rampant over-prescription. Some states, seen above, have more than 1 prescription per person per year, of a drug which is well known to be addictive, and is well known to add to the Heroin epidemic. This is a gross oversight both of medical professionals and the government.

Next time there is a dinner party debate over gun control, or terrorism, think about the last time you saw your doctor, and remember the 43,000 people who die in overdoses every year.

Works Cited:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/2015-07-vitalsigns.pdf
  3. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/257738.pdf
  4. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  5. http://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/148-addiction-the-view-from-rat-park

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