Drug Death Rates
I believe that most of us will agree that drug addiction is a serious problem. There are those that think that building walls will solve the import of illegal drugs. I do not agree. My experience tells me that when we have a problem, we need to paddle upstream to examine the root cause. In our case it’s that we have created, by far, the largest market in the world for illegal drugs. Regardless of what precautions we take or defenses we construct our system of Free Market Capitalism will create alternative methods to satisfy the insatiable demand. All countries have this same issue to some extent. How do we stack up compared to other countries?
Country Drug related deaths per 100,000 population
Why are our drug related deaths so much higher that other countries? Does our rate at three times the average of the EU countries make sense to you? In addition to wasted lives there is another factor to consider. Well over half of all incarcerations are a result of drug related crimes, most of which are relatively minor infractions by addicts. Many of these inmates are eventually released without any support and they end up back through the revolving prison door. At an average of $40,000 per year per incarcerated prisoner our inability to reduce the problem ends being a very heavy burden on the tax payer.
How do we get better at managing this problem? I honestly do not know, but I do know how to find out. My approach is called “base-lining”. I would research at least five countries that have a drug related mortality rate at least 1/3 of ours and determine why they are doing a better job. By implementing some of the best practices established by other countries I am convinced that we could cut our death rate in half, if not even more.
A few countries worth investigating, in my opinion, are: Canada, Austria, France, Greece, Italy & New Zealand. Our best hope to reduce drug addiction and incarcerations may be by learning from others.