This week I started watching a series on Netflix called “The Business of Drugs.” It has only 6 episodes and each one discusses the way society has perpetuated the sale and use of drugs. Each episode addresses a different drug Cocaine, Ecstasy, Methamphetamine, prescription drugs, etc. It is researched and narrated by a former DEA analyst and takes you all over the world to look inside how drugs have become one of the biggest businesses in existence. In one of the episodes the analyst talked about the legalization of cocaine, as an example. It talked about how the war on drugs hasn’t worked and we can all see the results of that 40 years later. Drugs are still overwhelmingly prevalent on our streets, in our towns and in our families. Breaking down the business of it eventually leads you to one or two people in the world controlling the manufacture and sale.
Let’s look at it this way. We can all relate to the toilet paper issues from 2020. So imagine that toilet paper is illegal to buy. The only company that has toilet paper is Walmart, but they sell it to you behind a curtain and you’re arrested if you get caught buying it. It’s very expensive. If you can get it you buy lots and hide it away. But where does it come from? Maybe for example, Mexico. The one person who owns the toilet paper factory is very rich, because no one else has toilet paper. The workers in his factory get paid 30 cents an hour because what they are doing is illegal and there are no other jobs in Mexico that pay 30 cents and hour and they need to feed their families. If these workers are caught by the police and pressured to tell on the one person who owns the toilet paper market, they end up dead. New workers take their place and make tons of toilet paper and send it to warehouses hidden in the jungle.
Eventually all the toilet paper gets hidden in shipping containers, trucks and other areas and is delivered to the people who are paid to sell it to you at Walmart. The sellers really like toilet paper and get paid with 20 rolls for every 40 rolls they sell. They sell it to another person on the street who gets 5 rolls for himself once they sell the 40.
Now the government decides to make buying toilet paper legal. People might say “Wow, that’s not a good decision.” We can now buy toilet paper anywhere and it’s cheap. I can even get it at the corner store if I want to. Billions of dollars are saved by people and the government. No more funding aggressive prosecution, lawyers, toilet paper agents. No more $43,000 per year to house inmates for years at a time. Instead, we use those dollars to fund rehab facilities for toilet paper addicts, we pay counselors to help them find jobs, housing and get through their addiction. Toilet paper sales go down, the one person who had a monopoly on toilet paper is put out of business and has to work a job, just like the people who were making 30 cents per hour to make his toilet paper.
I can’t say that I believe this is the answer to the drug epidemic, but it is a different way to look at it. Realizing that what we are currently doing isn’t working is the first step toward a resolution I think. It was a very interesting series and it caused me to look at this from a new perspective. Everyone has a different view and I’m not sure that any one is 100% correct. But it is important to look at other views from time to time.