Letter: Is there a solution to substance abuse and addiction?

"Could some of the money that we are currently spending on the war on drugs be put to use in ways that would reduce substance abuse and addiction?" asks Winona, Minn. resident Mark Jacobson

Letter to the editor FSA
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Thousands of creative and imaginative minds helped our country grow and prosper. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those brilliant minds could come up with a solution for substance abuse and addiction? If so, what kind of changes would occur in a society without drug-related crime, people dying from overdose and the resulting financial burdens? It may seem like a utopian dream that can’t come true, but let’s try to imagine what life in a drug-free society would look like.

The following are some of the most noticeable changes we could expect if substance abuse and addiction didn’t exist:

  • Safer, cleaner streets, especially in bigger cities.
  • A dramatic reduction in crime rates.
  • Decreased domestic violence and child abuse or neglect.
  • Overcrowding in emergency rooms would decrease.
  • Jails and prisons would no longer be overpopulated.
  • Law enforcement could spend more time on other needs.
  • Funds used for drug-related issues would be available for other things.

Of course, these are only a fraction of the ways society would improve without substance abuse or addiction. Could all this be wishful thinking?
Dreams can come true, but society has to realize that there has never been a drug-free society in the history of human civilization. Add to this, the war on drugs has been a complete failure. Instead of focusing all our attention on these issues, shouldn’t we be focusing our attention on community awareness and educating people on the effects that drugs have on them? Could some of the money that we are currently spending on the war on drugs be put to use in ways that would reduce substance abuse and addiction?

This is not wishful thinking! It is a more realistic way at looking for a solution to substance abuse and addiction. How would your community and/or personal life be different if our imaginative and creative minds found solutions to address these issues?

Your comments would be appreciated. You can contact me at or by letter to 559 W. Broadway St., Winona, MN 55987.


Mark Jacobson is a peer support specialist from Winona, Minn. His recovery from addiction was detailed in the Winona Daily News .

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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