The zero-tolerance that the system has put in place on their war on drugs is an antithesis of the help people need. When really, the goal is to get people in life, not just in a consistent loop of use.

According to Dr. Benjamin Boyce, author of Dr. Junkie: One Man’s Story of Addiction and Crime That Will Challenge Everything You Know About the War on Drugs, every bit of the war on drugs is built to do the opposite of what we pretend it’s supposed to do. 

The Implications of the War on Drugs in Our Society

Drugs cost about a buck a gram to produce cocaine and heroin if you were to grow your own and they cost $500 a gram on the street. This means you can arrest people all day long as long as someone’s cell phone bill or their rent is due tomorrow, or they need some food for their kids. They can make $50 off walking something from one door to another. 

We have built the war on drugs to make sure a victory looks like making sure the price of street drugs goes up tomorrow. We have been taught that if these drugs are legal, everybody’s going to be addicted. 

In Portugal and 25 other countries, they ensure that no one goes to jail for having drugs in their pocket. Although, sometimes, there are still things you have to do, and you can go to jail if you’re not going to do it. As a result, drug use went down and they’ve stopped shooting dope and used other methods to take it. 

Defining Your Own Recovery

Dr. Boyce emphasizes the importance of defining one’s recovery. There are other ways to achieve those same states that we use drugs to get to. You get preoccupied chasing the drug when you’re in an addiction loop. But if you can put that aside for a day or a week or a month or a year, the wound starts to heal. 

Then in those moments of clarity, decide what you would want your life to look like in 10, 20, or 30 years, and just start filling your tool bag. It’s not going to look like everybody else’s. 

Let yourself define what recovery looks like for you and make sure it’s tenable. Love yourself along the way and figure out what’s in your toolbox that you can love.

If you want to challenge what you know about the war on drugs, check out Episode 166: Challenge What You Know About The War on Drugs with Benjamin Boyce.