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Tags: drug | epidemic

Stem the Tide of the Drug Epidemic

a syringe with white powder dollar bills bullets and a wristwatch on a table

By    |   Tuesday, 06 July 2021 10:29 AM

The 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment reports the level of violence, intimidation, theft and financial crimes coupled with the alien smuggling, firearms trafficking and public corruption perpetrated by the transnational drug smugglers and the violent gangs are a serious threat to communities throughout the United States totally eclipsing the government’s ability and resolve to address.

Claire Galofaro reported that in the last year St Louis has seen a 64% increase in overdose deaths among Blacks and a 40% increase in whites, with a 50% increase among Philadelphia Blacks and almost 70% in Massachusetts. CDC data reflects an 18.2% increase from Jun 2019 to May 2020. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that almost 44% of drivers involved in fatal car accidents test positive for drugs.

What actions can governments implement to replace rhetoric and stem the tide of the devastating consequences from the illegal drug trade?

Stop releasing drug traffickers.

In 2015 the attorney general praising “criminal justice reform” touted a 20% drop in the number of people being charged under non-violent drug-related mandatory minimums and release of “non-violent” drug offenders. Over 97% of state and federal criminal cases are plea bargained and defense lawyers spend most of their time negotiating guilty pleas to “non-violent” offenses.

Over 90% of drug trafficking offenses in 2020 involved heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine, fentanyl or oxycodone. Bureau of Prisons and the CDC data shows incarcerations increased from 2007 to 2014 by an average of 3752 per year while the drug deaths increased at a rate of 0.5% per year.

Incarceration decreased an,average of 7,014 in each of the seven years since the 2014 Criminal Justice reform yielding 2.4% increase in releases per year while the drug deaths increased an average of 2.7% per year.

Released “non-violent” drug traffickers reconstitute their trafficking organizations.

Governments can drug-test all who receive public assistance, a recurring funding source for drug traffickers and gangs fueling the drug crisis. The Urban Dictionary defines the “1st of the month” as: “The day every-body gets and cashes their [government] checks and go to their local drug dealer and get stoned, high or faded.”

Reflecting the voice of the people there is even a Rap song “1st of the Month” celebrating the government’s funding of the “thugs” and the drug crisis with the lyrics: “Wake up, It the 1st of the month … get up, So cash your checks.” And “The 1st be the day for the dopeman, Slangin that cocaine ... And all them friends be lovin’ them thugs 'cause I got them rocks for them pipes.”

Are your tax dollars actually funding the drug cartels and gang violence through public assistance payments? Consequences for anyone on public assistance testing positive for illegal drugs would disrupt this drug trafficking and funding scheme.

Charge drug traffickers under the chemical warfare statutes. 18 USC 229F and the U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) define a chemical weapon as “A toxic chemical and its precursors, except where intended for a purpose not prohibited under this chapter as long as the type and quantity is consistent with such a purpose;” and toxic chemical as “Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals.”

Illegal drugs fall under international definitions and controls. Drug traffickers can be prosecuted under the chemical warfare statutes as violent international crimes with much more severe penalties.

Exile repeat drug trafficking offenders and revoke their citizenship. Deport noncitizen drug traffickers for confinement in their country's prisons. Exile is still listed as punishment under state statutes and in 2000 was upheld in the courts as I discussed in “Bring back exile as a sentencing option” for The Hill.

The threat of being banished from the United States is much more effective than the present release from U.S. prisons for being a “nonviolent” offender.

Hold drug treatment centers accountable for their treatment program. According to the American Addiction Center most allow their "patients" to leave the program early while, the New York Times reports, collecting $15 billion in state and federal dollars and $5 billion more from insurers.

David Sheff reported in Time that “there’s no standard definition of “rehab.” Typically patients are not seen by licensed doctors, nurses, or psychologists. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) does maintain a self-administered nonprescriptive and noninspective accreditation. But The National Institutes of Health needs to develop standards with inspection criteria for drug treatment programs.

The centers should not be able to operate and collect funds unless they meet these criteria.

Here are some actions that can be done. But with only feeble responses, politicians have proven themselves impotent with no resolve to address the drug crisis and violence preying on our children and society.

The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.

John M. DeMaggio retired after 30 years of service as a Captain from the U.S. Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Forensic Science from John Jay College and a Master's of Science from Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. Privately consulting in counterterrorism, forensic science, and investigations, he also conducts international counterterrorism training, having retired as a Special Agent in Charge and serving as Co-chairman, Investigative Support and Forensic Subgroup, TSWG, developing interagency counterterrorism technology. He is also an op-ed contributor for The Hill. He previously published "Mitigation of Terrorist Effects on Victims' Motivation" in U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center Colloquium. Read John M. DeMaggio's Reports — More Here.

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What actions can governments implement to replace rhetoric and stem the tide of the devastating consequences from the illegal drug trade?
drug, epidemic
Tuesday, 06 July 2021 10:29 AM
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