The Drug War has lasted for decades and accomplished little. Thousands of individuals get hooked on multiple abusive substances every day, and many wind up in prison for nonviolent crimes. Worse yet, the black market for illegal substances is gigantic and thriving. Many in the US today are wondering whether or not there is another way to end addiction.Today, a growing number of advocates and concerned citizens have raised their voices. Many are looking for ways to decrease drug-related incarceration, crime, and social stigmatization. What alternatives might there be? Experts and activists from all over the world have put in their two cents: Paul Hokemeyer "The war on addiction will be won when we stop punishing the individuals and families who suffer and address the root causes of addiction in the context of the family and social systems within which they operate. To do this, we need to support families in the incredibly difficult task of raising children who are equipped to deal with their emotional struggles and support marriages—

Today, a growing number of advocates and concerned citizens have raised their voices. Many are looking for ways to decrease drug-related incarceration, crime, and social stigmatization. What alternatives might there be? Experts and activists from all over the world have put in their two cents:

Paul Hokemeyer

"The war on addiction will be won when we stop punishing the individuals and families who suffer and address the root causes of addiction in the context of the family and social systems within which they operate. To do this, we need to support families in the incredibly difficult task of raising children who are equipped to deal with their emotional struggles and support marriages—however they are defined—to create strong and secure family structures. The net result of this investment will be human beings who can rely on other human beings for comfort rather than turning to substances that rob them of their dignity and lives."

 
About:
Paul Hokemeyer maintains a private practice specializing in the treatment of addictive, identity and relationship disorders among individuals and their families. A licensed marriage and family therapist, he is a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and a certified trauma professional.

Ethan Nadelmann

Ending marijuana prohibition is a big step – and it’s good to see the US leading the world in this regard, ending the criminalization of possession of small amounts of any drug for personal use. That’s what Portugal and some other countries have done, and we should too.

“Allowing people, especially heavy users, to purchase the drugs they want or need from licensed outlets instead of getting them from the illegal market dramatically reduces the length of prison sentences for drug sale violations.

“Redirect the billions of dollars saved from these reforms to investment in education and helping the communities that have been most harmed by drug war policies.”

 
About:
Ethan Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. An activist that played pivotal role in the most of the major policy reform ballot initiative campaigns in the United States.

Brittany Shelton

“In my opinion, whether we’re talking about international or national trafficking, the use and abuse of chemical altering substances, the addiction epidemic that has hit so hard in our cities and towns throughout the country, or the overkill of locking up addicts and throwing away the key, I would agree. “It is disconcerting. I do think it is well overdue to explore alternative options in all of these areas.”

What could it be, and why?

“I am not sure that we can ever ‘end the battle for good’ but we can certainly revamp and update approaches, practices, and systems. There has been so much information uncovered, and much progress has been made; our ways of fighting this should reflect these advances. “

What does this actually look like?

“In a perfect world, we would streamline our prevention approaches, connecting addicts in recovery with programs to advocate for prevention.

“We would have treatment options in prison that exceed ninety days that are targeted for holistic rehabilitation.

“Recovery professionals and professional organizations would have boards with various members of the recovery community as contributors.

“Really, it all comes down to communication and getting everyone on the same page. Allowing voices to be heard, integrating all pieces of the puzzle for the greater good, and not allowing agenda to get in the way of us making some real progress.

“If we were all talking openly and honestly with realistic expectations and goals, we could make this work for real people, with real problems.”

 
About:
Brittany S. is a stay at home mom who loves her 3 sons and husband deeply. A simple woman in recovery running her own blog she calls Discovering Beautiful. Through her blog, she hopes to speak and to inspire people going through their own journey of Recovery.

Jeanne Hirth

Of course, it's high time we explore other options to battle the drug war. Sure, we should continue to capture and prosecute the manufacturers, smugglers, and distributors of illegal drugs.

What about the legal stuff? Pharmaceuticals and alcohol? We can't just outlaw everything. We've got to address addiction as the health crisis that it is. We've got to battle the myth of the bottom. We've got to change the perception that there is no hope until all hope is lost. It's a shame that people think they've got to check all the dirty boxes in order to qualify. We've got to rise up intentional sobriety as a viable lifestyle choice available to anybody who seeks it. It's not penance. It's not a consolation prize. Sobriety is beautiful. We've got to remove the stigma of addiction and alcoholism, support recovery at every level and encourage sobriety to shine bright with pride.

 
About:
Soberly Speaking is Jeanne Hirth's vehicle for sharing her experiences, observations, travels, thoughts, and perceptions of life on the other side, in the context of sobriety.