In the early twentieth century, fear of a plant led to a war against that plant. That war required money, employees, and a bureaucracy to employ both. The prohibition of the plant led to a black market in that plant, because demand for the plant didn’t disappear. The black market that sprung from this prohibition bred a criminal class that provided the plant to customers. The war on the plant raged on, and the black market entrepreneurs switched to supplying a powder, and, later, a synthetic crystal. Billions of taxpayer funds were poured into this war, thousands of lives were lost, the prison population grew to become the largest in the world. Police were gifted with the weapons of war, and the surveillance tools normally reserved for enemies of the state. The population became the enemy, the police became an occupying military force. The original purpose of the war was lost, as the side-effects of prohibition became the focus of the war. The bureaucracy dedicated to waging the war against the plant, the powder, and the crystal, realized that its existence depended on the existence of the war itself. The war provided jobs for hundreds of thousands of state and federal minions. It provided the justification for construction of a vast surveillance state. The black market crime wave, induced by prohibition, became crucial to the livelihood of the bureaucracy. It now had a vested interest in its continued existence. The drug war, began as a crusade to stamp out the consumption of a plant, led to the creation of a vast criminal class, a black market in every illicit substance known to man, and a bureaucracy and workforce that will fight to keep the system in place. The drug war is now an engine for government power, jobs, and money.
Anyway, all that is the result of seeing the latest headline about tossing money at the opioid epidemic: Gov. Scott Walker signs bills fighting opioid abuse
The opioid epidemic is policy-induced. It has a discernible cause, and its genesis can be traced to the original war on a plant. It could end today, if only policymakers make the difficult but necessary decision to end drug prohibition.