There are many areas that we, as Americans, resent the idea that the “government” wants to be involved in our lives, and rightfully so. However, there is a time and place for government oversight that seems not only appropriate, but also smart.
One way to evaluate the wisdom of allowing government is to look at where government regulations have been effective at curbing the illicit sale of addictive pharmaceuticals. addiction
The government doesn’t hesitate to intervene in the public’s lives when a law is broken, and the public supports or is silent about this type of government involvement. However, when the addiction prevention professionals ask the legislators to control the production and sales of ephedrine, a drug in cold medicines and the needed raw product for meth labs, we are told that it is anti-capitalism and against the free-market.
When over one million people sign a petition to ban the production and sale of Oxicontin opiates because it is medically unnecessary because there are other opiate analgesics that are just as effective without as much addiction potential, we are, again, told that we are interfering with the free market.
Florida has been identified as the state with the highest level of prescription painkiller diversion and illegal sales of these drugs on the streets, but when a bill was introduced to better monitor prescriptions of controlled substances, it failed due to conservative pressure to keep government out of the free market.
When you look at countries in Europe that put restrictions on these drugs, you find that they don’t have meth labs and the methamphetamine problems that we have in American. You find other countries that have very few opiate painkillers and do not allow the marketing of large varieties of painkillers that compete with heroin in terms of the “high” that ones gets as a side-effect of the medicine. These countries have fewer diverted pharmaceuticals and, therefore, fewer people addicted to them.
When one examines why legislative bills that would sensibly control pharmaceuticals drug rehab that have a direct connection to illicit drug diversion and addiction, you find that the pharmaceutical companies invested in keeping government from having these logical controls, and, therefore, lobby to maintain the status quo. There are other money interests that profit from this avenue of addiction that also influence our legislators from making laws that could greatly impact this severe problem in our society.
There are many places in our commerce where government oversight may not be beneficial, but with the public health issue of addiction, we would benefit from sensible policies that would regulate these addictive drugs more effectively. Millions of dollars are spent on the “war on drugs” with addiction treatment being a large part of those costs. The total savings in dollars and pain and suffering could be greatly reduced if we would follow the types of policies that have proven effective in other countries.