As the United Nations calls for a shocking strategy change in the drug war, what solutions exist to finally put an end to substance abuse?
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To the average person, humanity seems to be slowly solving its problems. From walking on the moon, to incredible technological advancements, from medical breakthroughs to greater cooperation between nations, man’s limitless goals never appear entirely out of reach. Many politicians and statesmen claim, “It is only a matter of time” before permanent solutions are implemented that stop increasing troubles.
When honestly examined, however, mankind has a long record of failure in discovering real solutions.
Drug abuse is just one example. Although man abounds in scientific knowledge, he has been unable to prevent the many negative effects of drugs. In spite of world leaders’ efforts to stamp it out, abuse of illegal and harmful substances continues. And while vast resources are dedicated to solving the age-old problem, it continues to spiral out of control.
All agree on the need to solve the problem, but cannot agree on why it exists. Teachers believe it stems from a lack of education. Law enforcement officials believe lenient laws and court systems are to blame. Scientists claim they can solve it through research. Psychologists say it is a result of family or mental problems.
Politicians and leaders enact countless treaties, laws, regulations and resolutions to try to stem the tide of drugs, but to no avail. While there are so many “experts”—there still seems to be so little understanding!
Governments and global institutions are now admitting failure on the drug front in more candid and sobering terms.
A June 2011 Los Angeles Times article outlined the fact that throwing more money at the drug problem has not helped: “As drug cartels wreak murderous havoc from Mexico to Panama, the Obama administration is unable to show that the billions of dollars spent in the war on drugs have significantly stemmed the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.
“The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate fields of coca, operate surveillance equipment and otherwise battle the widening drug trade in Latin America over the last five years.
“‘We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,’ said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports…”
“‘I think we have wasted our money hugely,’ agreed Bruce Bagley, who studies U.S. counter-narcotics efforts and chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla. ‘The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched.’”
Educational efforts used in public schools such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE) have also had little positive effect.
“Our results are consistent in documenting the absence of beneficial effects associated with the DARE program,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology reported. “This was true whether the outcome consisted of actual drug use or merely attitudes toward drug use. In addition, we examined processes that are the focus of intervention and purportedly mediate the impact of DARE (e.g., self-esteem and peer resistance), and these also failed to differentiate DARE participants from non-participants. Thus, consistent with [an] earlier…study, there appear to be no reliable short-term, long-term, early adolescent, or young adult positive outcomes associated with receiving the DARE intervention.”
In light of the above examples, it is no surprise the United Nations released a report titled War on Drugs – Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy that concluded the drug war has been lost.
Note that this commission consisted of many previous heads of state, including former presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, a former prime minister of Greece, a former U.S. secretary of state, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Recall the quote from Part 1 of this series (emphasis added): “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.
“Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption. Apparent victories in eliminating one source or trafficking organization are negated almost instantly by the emergence of other sources and traffickers. Repressive efforts directed at consumers impede public health measures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose fatalities and other harmful consequences of drug use. Government expenditures on futile supply reduction strategies and incarceration displace more cost-effective and evidence-based investments in demand and harm reduction.”
In other words, humanity’s best efforts over the previous half-century have not worked. And this is during a period when man has supposedly progressed, advanced—evolved—in his problem-solving skills. The quote above is a shocking admission of failure on a global scale!
Even more stunning are the commission’s proposed solutions. The best and brightest minds concluded that instead of continuing to fight illicit drug use, governments should simply legalize it: “End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others…Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens. This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation that can accomplish these objectives and provide models for others…”
“Implement syringe access and other harm reduction measures…Respect the human rights of people who use drugs. Abolish abusive practices carried out in the name of treatment…”
“Law enforcement efforts should focus not on reducing drug markets per se but rather on reducing their harms to individuals, communities and national security.
“Begin the transformation of the global drug prohibition regime…Ensure that the international conventions…accommodate robust experimentation with harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulatory practices” (ibid.).
Imagine how much more widespread drug abuse would become if these policies were enacted in all UN-member nations!
One country has already begun to implement the UN’s recommendations—Uruguay.
“Uruguay…proposed legalizing and monitoring marijuana sales—making the government, in fact, the sole legal seller,” Time stated. “The purpose of the unprecedented bill, which Uruguayan President José Mujica calls an anticrime measure, is to preempt the often violent black market where marijuana is illegally sold (marijuana use itself is legal in Uruguay) and channel the $750 million that Uruguayan pot users spend on the drug each year into public coffers. ‘The traditional [interdiction] approach hasn’t worked,’ Mujica said. ‘Someone has to be the first’ to try this…”
The article concluded, “More and more, the world seems fed up with the status quo—and willing to try new and less violent solutions to an old but deadly drug war.”
This approach has also been tried in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Some 16 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Others, including New York, have pending legislation to legalize it. For most of the country, however, pot remains illegal.”
Mankind’s failure to stem widespread drug use is perhaps best summarized by the following quote. Regarding prison officials’ failure to stop illegal drug abuse inside prisons, author Anthony Papa stated in the documentary “Breaking the Taboo”: “If you can’t control drug use in a maximum security prison, how could you control drugs in a free society?”
It is hard to argue with this logic. And the UN’s revolutionary approach, “Since we have tried all other solutions with no success, why not try decriminalization?” seems to back up this thinking.
Yet mankind has not tried all possible solutions. One has been overlooked.
Many fall victim to the allure of drugs because they seek an escape from the pain and suffering of their lives. Tragically, the search for euphoria destroys them. They see no alternative before them and choose the easy way out—the path of least resistance.
The head of a drug rehabilitation program in Geneva said, “It’s easy to obtain drugs. And then, because of a disgust of life, because of hopelessness, a process takes place which leads to suicide by an artificially imposed paradise. I insist that it is wrong to think in terms of ‘curing’ those on drugs. They are not sick. Detoxification without something at the end of the road is worthless.”
So many young people turn to drugs out of hopelessness and helplessness. They feel overcome by their problems. They are also offered few legitimate reasons not to try them, other than warnings about their harmful effects. Drugs can take away the pain a person is experiencing—whether emotional or physical. Users often say, “Give me the hope of something better and I’ll quit.”
Experts admit that one of the main reasons people use them is because they do not possess the self-control to say “no.” A lack of character results in an inability to reject what one knows is harmful. Addicts lack the character and moral strength to resist the temptation of drugs.
Although many treatment programs recognize the importance of building self-control on the path to kicking an addiction or preventing one, none truly possess the tools to show users how to quit. Some have compared the policy of imprisoning drug offenders with putting a sick person in jail. Instead of treatment, they receive a prison sentence and enter a facility surrounded by criminals.
The point is valid. Drug abusers do need help in ways that jails and prisons cannot provide.
Drug abuse is a massive but so far insoluble problem. By admitting defeat, law enforcement officials and government heads are continuing man’s unbroken record of failure.
Take a step back and look at history. Throughout thousands of years of trying, humanity has been unable to solve its greatest problems. War, famine, disease and drug abuse have all persisted throughout millennia—and all of them have only grown worse.
Where is world peace? Where is food to feed the world? Where are vaccines and miracle cures? Where is the solution to the drug problem!
The answers to these questions lie in a faulty assumption man made long ago. While he has thought he has been capable of governing himself, the greatest minds throughout the centuries have not been able to enact true, positive change.
Many of these “great” minds ignored the only source of true knowledge—one that outlines human nature—and covers exactly what makes mankind tick. Others have looked to this fount of wisdom, but failed to understand the truth contained within its pages.
Notice this plain phrase from this source, the Bible: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
This passage clearly states that man cannot rule himself! Given his track record, this should not be shocking. Where he is involved, the same problems crop up time and again.
In the New Testament, Mark 7 further details human nature: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness…” (vs. 20-22).
While most of the global population considers itself naturally good, the Bible states otherwise!
The Old Testament book of Jeremiah sums up this fact: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9).
To truly solve the drug epidemic, the world must first recognize that it has been deceived into thinking it can govern and decide for itself what is right and wrong.
While many dismiss the Bible as a collection of Hebrew myths, it contains a complete Instruction Manual on how to live.
In Genesis, the Book records that man’s problems stem from a choice made in the Garden of Eden. It shows that instead of listening to the Creator of all things, the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, attempted to figure out how to best govern themselves. Since making that choice, humanity has recklessly blazed its own trail, deciding what constitutes both good and evil.
Notice: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).
An often-overlooked aspect of this account is that Adam and Eve were given a choice—to eat of a particular tree and die, or to avoid it and live. God did not force them to do what He commanded. He let them of their own free will make a decision—one that tested their character.
Because they did not believe God, Adam and Eve decided to eat from the wrong tree. The account in Genesis 3 shows that they were persuaded to do so by the devil, who told them there would be benefits to disobeying God. Satan told them: “…In the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).
The account continues, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened…” (vs. 6-7).
The decision to disobey God’s instruction and follow wrong advice—in effect choosing the devil’s wrong way of living over God’s right way—led to Adam and Eve being cast out of the garden and mankind being cut off from His Spirit (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25). Access to this Spirit—God’s power—would have given the first humans, and everyone thereafter, the opportunity to learn the correct way to live. It would have also enabled them to develop the character to do so because God’s power would have helped them to do right and resist wrong. With this Spirit working within them, every man and woman thereafter would have been able to overcome individual problems in their lives—including harmful addictions and self-destructive habits.
This is the very reason the war on drugs is being lost! Mankind as whole does not understand what human nature is and how to overcome it. And without God’s Spirit, He is helpless to do so!
Yet the Garden of Eden account does not describe some kind of “original sin.” Instead, Adam and Eve’s decision started man down a course of rebelling against God. Other Bible verses show that individuals can repent and seek God, which results in Him opening His Spirit to them. (To learn more about the fallacy of the original sin idea, request the free booklet Did God Create Human Nature? This eye-opening booklet also describes in much more detail the implications of Adam and Eve’s decision.)
The faulty foundation of truth mixed with error that started in the Garden of Eden has resulted in man taking to himself the prerogative of deciding how to live. While God has allowed man to learn beneficial and right knowledge—truth—think knowledge of science, technology and other helpful information—he has also learned much wrong information—error—regarding how to live. Drug abuse is just one example of mankind’s knowledge being put to wrong use.
But just because Adam and Eve did not make the right decision does not mean that humanity as a whole is lost to wallow forever in its failures.
This understanding leads to how God will address two of the main causes of why man cannot solve his problems and the origin of the drug problem itself: lack of character and escapism.
Follow carefully, and believe what God outlines in the pages of the Bible with the understanding that you have just learned in the back of your mind. While the idea of the Garden of Eden beginning a record of failure for mankind may seem impossible, if you reject God’s Word as being an authority, ask yourself if you would rather trust the “authority” and “wisdom” of supposed experts, whose current best idea on the war on drugs is to surrender.
As previously mentioned, man’s current state of being cut off from God has left him without full truth, living without the kind of spiritual knowledge that leads to the abundant life Jesus Christ spoke of when He was on Earth (John 10:10). Instead of turning to their Creator, human beings have attempted to fill this spiritual void with other pursuits of escapism, including drug use. Truly, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was right when he observed, “…I know that…it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (10:23).
Unlike any of man’s solutions, God’s Spirit enables one to overcome his or her problems and gives an individual power to take charge of his life and reject wrong thinking and actions. In fact, the lack of His Spirit is one of the causes behind rampant drug use.
Only by turning to God can mankind solve its drug problems. While many will not accept God’s solution and try to find another one—they will find none. We have seen proof of this. Criminalizing it has not worked. Legalization has failed. There are no other options. But humanity so far refuses to accept God’s Word as a viable Source of solutions.
Thankfully, because of God’s great love for His Creation (John 3:16), He has a Master Plan that involves putting a real end to mankind’s drug epidemic.
To fully rid the world of the drug problem requires a global solution, implemented with agreement between all nations. God’s Word reveals this will occur—and soon!
Numerous passages in the Bible describe the coming kingdom of God, under which the vicious cycle will be broken. This world-ruling supergovernment will usher in peace and prosperity the likes of which have never before been seen. True happiness, peace, love and joy will break out around the world. In fact, this was Christ’s true gospel message—the “good news”—He continually preached when He was on Earth. To be set up at Jesus’ Second Coming, it will be led by Christ and those who built the kind of character necessary to help Him rule in this life. (To learn more about what you can do to qualify to be part of this exciting time, request the free book The Awesome Potential of Man.)
Notice the prophet Isaiah’s description of this coming time: “Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not…He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes…and the ransomed [released from bondage of sin] of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (35:3-7, 10).
In this wonderful world, people will truly be happy—without drugs. They will have true joy—and lasting peace. Under God’s rule, there will be real solutions for mankind’s many problems. Living God’s Way, with access to His Spirit, will eliminate the causes of drug abuse, not just the effects.
Unhappiness and misery will be replaced with joy and productivity. Any desire for escapism will be negated. When Christ establishes this kingdom, He will heal all the damage drugs have inflicted on people’s bodies and minds, and all forms of physical and psychological dependence.
A worldwide and effective preventative educational program will be put into place. Proper treatment will be available to all. A global rehabilitation program, aimed at solving the problem of drug abuse once and for all, will be established.
Make no mistake! During God’s coming reign, the wrong use of drugs will be outlawed. But the eradication of drugs will not simply come by a dictate from above or as a type of divine sentence. It will take place on a smaller scale, beginning in the individual hearts and minds of men and women the world over. And once the demand for drugs is gone, the supply will quickly dry up.
Instead of people getting rich by dealing death to others, and instead of getting chemically induced happiness by consuming drugs, people will live God’s Way of give. The abundant life will be a reality for billions!
Think about how many millions of drug users would instead choose a life free from drugs if they were (1) given the tools to build the strength to say no, and (2) saw a better and brighter world and future for themselves. God has a plan to provide a wonderful environment for all human beings, giving them a better world that no one will want to escape.
Soon a loving God will give all people an opportunity to have His Holy Spirit, which will enable them to build character and strength to reject wrong and choose right. As mentioned, it is only by the power of God’s Spirit that true Christians are able to overcome sin and the pulls of human nature, which the apostle Paul defines as: “…adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21, New King James Version).
In this scripture, the Greek word for sorcery is pharmakeia, which Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines as “the use or the administering of drugs.”
Realize what this means. Under God’s coming kingdom, drugs and drug dealers will not be tolerated. War, famine and disease will fade from memory. Unhappiness, depression and despondency will be removed! There will be real happiness, joy, peace and love—not the chemical-driven existences so many are living today.
With God’s Holy Spirit, mankind will be able to develop godly characteristics: “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [self-control]…” (Gal. 5:21-2).
These qualities, including all-important self-control, will be available to mankind, and will negate any need for the false, chemically induced feelings of “love,” “peace” and “joy.” There will be no need for mind-altering substances because these emotions will be present through the Spirit!
At this time, God’s Spirit will begin to change human nature. But make no mistake—this process will not occur overnight. It will take years for man to unlearn wrong habits he has developed over millennia. Yet this global supergovernment will give everyone the tools to overcome wrong desires and build godly character. In addition, temptations will be greatly diminished due to a dramatic change in societal environment.
As the toll of deaths and broken lives from drugs piles up, the only thing man can do is agree that the problem is “out of control.” Yet simply dealing with its effects, and not its causes, will never bring an end to this tragic epidemic. Information is not what mankind lacks—it needs a real solution!
While humanity is helpless to find one, God’s kingdom will end the tragedy of substance abuse.
In a vision of the end result of this soon-coming government, the apostle John recorded, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…” (Rev. 21:4).
Now think back to all you have read in this series. Ask: which solution seems more attractive—man’s or God’s?
To learn more about this magnificent world to come, request the exciting, eye-opening free book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View! A drug-free world is not an impossible dream, but a coming reality!