What do Barack Obama, Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Whitney Houston and Willie Nelson all have in common (besides fame)?
They are all well-known, admitted law breakers who were actively buying, receiving, possessing (maybe dispensing) and using illegal drugs and got away with it.
Of the 2.3 million people in our prison system today, about one-fourth (that’s about 600,000 inmates) are serving time for buying, possessing or dispensing illegal drugs. But they get to be ex-cons…not rich and famous politicians and entertainers. They were the lucky ones because they didn’t get caught.
Here’s ten more known/admitted drug users who people (young and old) have seen as role models – past and/or present:
- Michael Bloomberg
- Steve Jobs
- Naomi Campbell
- Maya Angelou
- Ted Turner
- Clarence Thomas
- Britney Spears
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Elton John
- Stephen King
The list can go into the thousands. But we get the idea. Drug use is not limited to the street urchins and low-lifes, though they are the ones who most often find themselves in jail cells. Neither is drug use deterred by draconian laws that have been on the books for fifty years in the failed “War on Drugs.”
There are important points to be made here:
- Drug addiction is a serious illness, sometimes deadly, which needs more focus on treatment and education, than filling prisons cells.
- For every one famous person who dies from drugs or self-murder associated with drugs, there are easily one thousand who die of the same affliction, who are not famous. But, they are just as human.
- Our society should be doing everything we can to saturate the populous with education about the downsides and dangers of drug abuse, with special emphasis directed toward kids starting at age ten.
- That education should be directed , not only to the standard illegal substances, but to alcohol as well. Nearly two-thousand college kids die each year from binge drinking. Rates of alcoholism and binge drinking is high among war veterans
- We are spending mega-millions of tax dollars enforcing laws and punishing people which accomplishes nothing other than feeding a black market which, in turn, escalates a crime rate that endangers law abiding citizens.
- It’s time to end hypocrisy and the double-standards. It’s time to modernize our thinking. It’s time to help troubled people with other methods rather than prisons cells.
What will decriminalizing accomplish:
- A diminished black market. Less drug cartels, less smugglers, less dealers, translate to many thousands of less murders, robberies, burglaries, etc.
- Criminal gang activity will be defunded. Most gangs thrive off the drug underworld.
- Multi-billions of tax dollars saved by redirecting attention from law enforcement, courts, jails and prisons, and using some of those saving to establish meaningful treatment and prevention programs.
- Less pushers, less users. Simple as that.
- A more humane approach to dealing with the bane of drug addiction
Is this the end all to end all? Of course not. But it’s a beginning for a renaissance movement which will ultimately save thousands of decent people from being tagged with prison records (non-famous people) that haunt them for the rest of their lives. Except for the flagrancy of some entertainers, (Lindsey Lohan, Robert Downey Jr.) the rich and famous evade the same laws that you and I go to jail for.
I speak from personal, as well as professional, experience. There really is another way. We need to speak out. The politicians of today only care about being elected therefore they must avoid the deadly tag “soft on crime” at all costs.
Being tough on crime is important for rapists, thieves and killers. But social sickness cannot be solved with badges, guns and cell bars.