Here’s how to cure the drug problem

May 26, 2016
drug problem.

A gate in Spain.

Hold on to your hats today, because I’ve got a guest post that should shake things up a little. My friend, Johnny Oliver, is a law enforcement officer who has seen the impact of drugs first-hand. He’s a thinking guy, and he’s come up with a provocative idea to end the drug problem in this country.  If you’re like me, you’ll read the first few paragraphs and freak out. But stick with it. It’s not exactly what it looks like at first. And then, read the Q&A with him. Finally, we would both love to hear your thoughts. I give the blog to Johnny Oliver today.

A Cure to the Drug Problem
by Johnny Oliver

So, the way I see it, illegal drugs are one of the biggest problems facing society.  I read that 3,000 people die every two months from illegal drug use.  That’s more than died on 9/11.  Couple that with the families torn apart and the strain on social services —  illegal drugs affect us all in some way or another.  This is not including the violence caused in the United States and in Mexico, which is unfathomable.  

One thing I would like to point out is when I talk about illegal drug use, it falls into three categories.  The first is stimulants, which include methamphetamine and cocoa-related derivatives.  The second is depressants, which include derivatives of opiates.  The third is hallucinogenics, which would include LSD and some of the more exotic designer drugs.

Now I know that I entitled this the Cure to the Drug Problem, but it would honestly only be a cure if I were allowed to be King for a month.  But my solution is simple.  To stop illegal drug use, simply make them legal.  Simple, right?  

But there is another part of this equation that needs to be factored in, and that is the social cost to drug use.  The human brain gets addicted to chemicals very easily.  What would happen if we suddenly had all the drug users, plus all those who would try drugs if there wasn’t a social stigma, wandering around?  The burden social services would be staggering, possibly even more than they are now.  So what do we do? 

Again, simple.  Remove them from society.

We have tried imprisoning those with drug addictions.  It doesn’t work.  I have witnessed it first-hand.  There is only one way for people to cure themselves of their addiction, and that is for them to want to be cured of their addiction.  But drug addiction and society cannot co-exist.


Salamanca, Spain.

So here is my solution:  Take those addicted to illegal drugs and ship them off to Guam.  I hear Guam is nice.  There, they can sit on one of three different islands.  There will be “Paranoia Island” for those who enjoy stimulants.  Next there will be “I’ll get to it tomorrow Island,” which will cater to those who enjoy depressants.  Finally, “Pink Elephant Island” will cater to the hallucinogenics crowd.  And on these islands, the inhabitants will be given all the drugs that they want.  No cost.  Just enjoy.  These islands will be equipped with basic housing needs.  Shelter, food, water, and anything else that is needed to sustain life.  

Now, do we leave these individuals there to get sick and die?  Of course not.  We are not an evil and unforgiving society.  We are compassionate. 

So we provide them free medical treatment. 

Where do we get this medical treatment?  Every year hundreds of medical students graduate from medical school but cannot get into the field because they don’t have experience.  This is a way for them to get experience in the field dealing with a myriad of issues.  And the experience they gain would be immeasurable.  This list would include doctors, clinicians, nurses, and anyone else associated with the medical field.  This would be a place for them to train and learn on individuals with extreme medical issues.  Bring that experience back to the rest of us, and those of us with a broken bone or unknown rash will be easy for them to treat.  Two years of experience there would amount to unimaginable experience.

But do we leave those individuals there for the rest of their lives to die?  No.  That would just be imprisoning them in a different environment.  The day that they want to rejoin society and leave drugs behind then they would be allowed to… with a condition.  They have to complete drug rehabilitation.  


Street art in Salamanca.

Drug rehabilitation is one of the most ignored portions of the current war on drugs.  We pay for enforcement, we pay for incarceration, and we pay that generously.  Drugs are a real threat.  But we don’t pay for rehabilitation. 

The common drug addict walks out of incarceration with almost no resources.  They can go to the local NA meeting and have stale coffee in the basement of a church or the back room of a community center, but thats about it.

A current counselor told me approximately 2% of counselors go into Substance Abuse.  I can see why.  No pay, no resources, very little job satisfaction, and a constant influx of new clients, most only there because they were ordered to be there by a judge.  I don’t see this being a very lucrative field, so what are the chances that there are regional and national gatherings in which these experts get together and share their best practices?  I would say slim to none.  Couple that with the fact that not too many people choose this line of work and it becomes evident this part of the equation is lacking leaving many individuals to turn back to drugs.  

So on these islands, drug rehabilitation will be consolidated.  When residents of these islands want to rejoin society, they will go through a program that will address their issues.  Be it a 6, 12, or 24 month program, they will stay until they are deemed to be over their addiction.  Then they get a plane ride back and help integrating into society.  

Will people voluntarily go? I’m sure some will.  Others with addictions will end up being told they are going.  Is it harsh?  Yes.  But is there hope?  I’d like to think so.  

If we end the drug dependance in the United States, it will affect other countries.  Mexico and South America both have unmentionable violence associated with the drug trade in their countries.  Just look at Colombia in the 80’s.  The violence caused by one man shook entire countries.  If the market in the United States disappeared, the violence down in Mexico and South America would decrease substantially.  

drug-problemI know parts of this seem like fantasy and some parts seem unpalatable, but something should be done.  This country has been dealing with illegal drugs since its inception.  I know it won’t happen overnight and there are many tangibles that are left unaddressed.  But maybe, just maybe, this could lead to change.  


So there’s his idea. Yes, his name is a pseudonym but he is a real law enforcement officer I know. You’ve probably got lots of questions. Feel free to ask them in the Comments section. I had questions, too. Here are the first two: 

So who pays for it?
How much do we pay for the war on drugs now?  This would be done at a fraction of the cost that we are currently paying.  We recently passed the reformation of crime bill. All it did was shift the cost from the state to the local governments.  The amount of money used on drug enforcement is massive. If that money were redirected, there would be a substantial decrease in all other social services.

Would the government run it?
It would have to be run through some governmental agency. Which makes me sick to my stomach to think about because the government is only worried about numbers.  So who would run it? I don’t know.

Give us your thoughts and questions below. Thank you!

86 comments on “Here’s how to cure the drug problem
  1. HAHA! Sounds great, well not really. I’m not going to ask the questions because I have people in my family, whom I love, who are drug addicts. I have worked with drug addicts for many years. Quite frankly, this post is insulting and incredibly insensitive. Lots of luck with your new laws.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      This is a shame. This is not by any stretch of the imagination something that will go into law, this is an open dialogue that I was hoping to start to encourage thinking outside of what is currently ongoing.

      You said you have worked with drug addicts for many years. Please tell us of your daily struggles. Do you work in counseling? I’m curious to know your questions and concerns.

  2. Elena Peters says:

    My husband is 25 years clean and has worked as an interventionist and a counsellor. He also works in a prison as a guard. We have both been involved with drug addiction/rehabilitation for years.

    My opinion: make drugs legal, absolutely. People are going to get them anyway. And by far, alcohol is the drug that harms and effects the most. And it’s legal.

    Second. Sending them to an island where all of their drugs and needs are provided for free would never work. If you know anything of addiction, without any consequences, the addicts would just take more and more till they were dead. And big bonus, they are away from their nagging family and society which try to make them accountable.

    I’m not sure what the solution is but jail most definitely doesn’t work either. Addicts come back again and again and the strain on the system is great. I agree that we need to stop just throwing them back into society with no resources. There has to be structure and I also believe they can not go back to the environment they came from. It is too easy to fall back to old habits and friends.

    I guess I have probably raised more issues than solutions but this is a very complicated situation. Everyone needs to get their heads out of their asses and offer real help with services and tax dollars.

    • Anna Palmer says:

      Agreed with Elena on the legalization. I live in Colorado and wonder how the pot legalization will effect my kids. I am optimistic that it will cease to be a gateway drug for the simple fact that they won’t have to interact with drug dealers to get it. Also we will skip a lot of the “laced” drug issues.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      First response goes to Elena and then the second post goes to Anna.

      Elena, you posted some great concerns. And while I don’t have all the answers, I do know most of your thoughts entered my thought process at one time and helped me formulate this fantasy.

      First is make them legal. That is the goal. Stop making it a criminal justice problem and make it a medical problem. But if you make them legal do you make them legal at a cost? I guarantee that won’t stop the crime that is associated with drugs. And then there is still the problem of the street dealer and the violence associated with them on this side of the border and south of it. Are they given away? You cut out the street dealer and kill the demand for sales overnight. That is why I feel that they should be given away.


      This brings me to the next point. I love your point “they are away from their nagging family and society which try to make them accountable.” The people I see that use drugs use it as an escape. One of those escapes could be from a nagging family. Most of the younger drug addicts I have run across have come from a decent home life. The nagging and care that these parents have put into their family has only driven them farther apart. What I hoped to accomplish with the removal from society was to create a need in the addict. That they would want to see their family or they would want to reintegrate back into society. People only get better when they choose to get better. You don’t get to be part of society with this monkey on your back. So if you want to come back, there is help and assistance for them to come back without the addiction.

      And because the drugs are legal and free over there (which means there would have to be stiff penalties for those providing them over here), when they come back there SHOULD be none of the temptation.

      As far as using until they die… it is their choice. I have seen time and time and time and time and time and time again where judges have forced people to get off of drugs. It only works when the person chooses to get off drugs. If not then they will find a way.

      Is this a perfect plan? Hell no, There are many issues that haven’t been addressed. But is this a framework for possible dialogue? I would like to this it is. Could this possibly fan the flames for future treatment? I wouldn’t have bothered writing it if I didn’t think there was at least a small possibility. And don’t we owe our children that fighting chance?

      Thank you for reading.

      • Johnny Oliver says:

        Anna Palmer,

        I purposely did not address marijuana in this outlook. While I have different thoughts regarding marijuana, it does not fall within the same framework. The Colorado and Washington experiments need time to yield their results. And 5 years down the road there may be a radically different interpretation of marijuana and its legalization.

  3. I love it. This is such a tough pervasive problem. Can those of us who aren’t on drugs go to Guam?

    • I love that you read beyond the “freak out!” point. It is a really tough problem. Yeah, Guam sounds like the place!

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      Guam ended up being kind of a joke between my best friend and I. We know Guam exists, but what does it really do? I was just thinking of a tropical place where people wouldn’t have to worry about exposure.

      In my ignorance I figured there are probably hundred of islands that make up Guam, and we would just use a small percentage of those islands for this process.

      In my ignorance don’t think I am singling out Guam as the only location that this can take place. If we want to purchase some islands from some other country willing to part with them, then that could be the place for this fantasy to be conducted.

  4. Gary Presley says:

    Addiction is a medical problem. Decriminalize drugs, yes, and make readily available…from a physician.

    We have resources for alcohol addiction. Pattern other drug programs similarly knowing that like alcohol addiction the user must want treatment for treatment to be successful.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      My uncle and grandfather in law both drank themselves to death. I’ve had cousins ruin their lives with the bottle.

      My ex stepfather-in-law wrestles with the bottle every day of his life because he watched his wife drink herself to death in front of their infant son. I dragged him to AA meetings and came and taped his bottles shut or talked him into pouring them down the drain. I’ll give you two guesses if that ended up working for him. I’ll give you a hint… the answer rhymes with GO.

      Does alcohol addiction programs work? Yes. I’ve seen cases where it does. Friends with 10 or 20 year chips. But are their statistics kept on how successful the 12 step program is? What are the best practices? What doesn’t work? Would could work better? This is one of the reasons why I offer the solution of removing the individuals from society. Consolidate the treatment. Learn what works best. Provide help. And as I said in a previous response, give them the incentive to come back. That incentive is to be part of society again. They will have to want to come back.

  5. I agree that the “war on drugs” has not worked and several of the key issues are identified in the post. There is limited to no funding for assisting people who are addicts. And as such, there is limited money for research and staffing. Addicts don’t have lobbyists and politicians don’t benefit from helping people that many have given up on. Until you’ve seen a loved one get caught up in this death spiral, it’s difficult to have sympathy for them. Check out what the Gloucester Police Department is doing in their community. Police officers see people in the worst circumstances and being able to provide a lifeline in a desperate time of need is such a gift. A gift that works both ways by providing the addict a safe place to work on recovery and an officer the knowledge that they are making a difference. I retired as a police officer after 30+ years of service. Compassion and access to quality services is a large part of the answer.

  6. A very thought-provoking article, Carol. Without visionaries who state what might be ridiculous now, we might still believe that the sun revolves around the Earth. Also, if something like this gained ground, we would need to bring recreation therapists to the island as part of rehab therapy. After all , what will they do with all that time? (just a plug for my daughter who is applying for jobs in this field).:)

  7. I have a friend who lost her son last week to drugs and demons. The sadder part of this story is it her second to die in 2 years. I don’t understand how it occurs, they are an affluent family, there was a divorce but that shouldn’t be the reason behind juvenile drug abuse. There are some very expensive programs that use the process your blog spoke of. Islands where there is no escape I don’t know what the success rate is but my friend tried everything for her children and nothing worked. the sadness of drug abuse is enormous….her heart is broken, a child is lost…for what?

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I’m sorry for your friend. I could relate some of the dozens of stories that I’ve heard over the years and can immediately recall… but to what end.

      The human loss is the real tragedy here. It’s not one or two lives that were lost, it’s families that knew them.

  8. I had a friend who went to jail for a DUI and afterwards was dropped off in a seedy downtown area without a dime. I don’t know how they expect someone to rehabilitate when put in a position like that. Luckily he had a family member pick him up. I’m not sure the people of Guam would appreciate the idea of dropping off a bunch of drug addicts on one of their islands and it’s true that a person needs to want to get clean before it ever happens. They need mental help more than anything else.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      That is a great point. Mental illness is a factor in some of the addicts I’ve seen. Either the preexisting mental illness sought out the addiction or the addiction created a mental illness.

      I left a comment above talking about my choice of Guam. I had written the example of Guam as more of a tongue in cheek reference only to be recognized by someone that probably doesn’t read Carols Posts. Believe me when I say this solution is simply a fantasy now, and Guam isn’t written in stone. But one day maybe a small portion of this will influence someone to make a real change.

      But in regards to the addicts… they do need mental help. I can’t think of anyone that says, “My life is great, time to hit the needle.” The people that have opened up and talked to me about why they walked down the road of addiction is a story of pain. They do need help. I can’t argue with that.

  9. lori says:

    This is such a complex problem to solve-there are so many issues involved.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      That is part of the reason why I put pen to paper. I don’t have all the answers, but through sharing maybe WE can come up with all the answers.

  10. tara pittman says:

    Drugs are a big problem. Treatment programs need to be offered as well as ways to cope without drugs.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I used to work for a man by the name of Ronald Brooks. He testified in front of congress several times regarding narcotics. One of the testimonies I read that really made me think was talking about the lack of resources for treatment. Treatment needs to become a priority if we, as a society, want to win this war on drugs. Because for the millions of people that suffer from addiction, it truly is a war. I just think we’ve been fighting it the wrong way.

  11. Barbara says:

    wow. Helluva can of worms opened here. I have family members who’ve struggled with addiction, including alcohol addiction, and I can tell you it’s never a choice. The physiological side is something many overlook. I’ve never met an addict who was happy they ever took the first shot, be it bourbon or injection.
    Legalizing drugs with the same rules we have for alcohol makes the most sense. When you remove the illicit dealers and meth chefs it will be a start. We know what Prohibition did…nothing. Why do we look at the drug crisis differently?
    I believe there is something in our DNA that controls who will and who won’t be an addict. If scientists could find a way to block that gene we might begin to make headway.
    I do not believe shipping people off to an island is the answer but, the premise could be done without that extreme.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I have been responding to every post. I touched on several of the points you made here.

      I’m not saying this is a sure fire method to win the war on drugs, I’m saying this is my fantasy and there are reasons why I made the choices I made. This was cut from the first response that I made.

      “What I hoped to accomplish with the removal from society was to create a need in the addict. That they would want to see their family or they would want to reintegrate back into society. People only get better when they choose to get better. You don’t get to be part of society with this monkey on your back. So if you want to come back, there is help and assistance for them to come back without the addiction”.

      Do I believe there is some genetic reason why individuals are predisposed to addiction? HELL YES!!!! There is no doubt about it. I was given a prescription and took Vicodin when I had my wisdom teeth removed a decade ago. I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up I was flying. I hated that feeling. I flushed the rest of the pills down the toilet (not exactly the best thing to do) and I’ve never touched another pill since. I do not like the feeling of Central Nervous System Depressants.


      I love coffee. LOVE LOVE LOVE COFFEE!!! I’ll enjoy a delicious energy drink when I start feeling sluggish at work. Now if only there was something stronger… that’s a road I don’t ever want to consider going down.

  12. estelle says:

    I agree. We are paying for it now with our tax money. I think these people–many who are children–need help. Not sure parents want to send their kids overseas, but you never know.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I’m sure some don’t. But I also know that if you love someone with an addiction you want them to want to get better.

      It’s not a perfect fantasy. But I hope that by throwing it out for people to read and judge that maybe enough input will make it feasible.

  13. sue says:

    This is such a complex issue and I’m not sure what the answers are. I do know that we need to take action to help people rather than letting them fall by the wayside. In Australia the problem is growing and we are in the midst of a politcal election campaign. There never seems to be enough money to go around or the money is not used effectively. I like Terri’s idea of recreation therapists. I haven’t had first hand experience with drug addicts but I know my husband suffers from PTSD (Vietnam Vet)and is alcohol dependant. He tries but it is so hard for him and I feel helpless because he really can only help himself. A very thought provoking article but one that there is no easy fix for.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I’m sorry about your husband. I did a good number of years in the military and while I never faced something as gut wrenching as Vietnam, I’ve known many people that have. Those demons are tough sons of bitches.

      I hope he chooses to help himself.

  14. Alana says:

    I can’t speak for anything past the “yes, let’s make it legal, but then what”. I do not have a background in drug rehab or working with addicts. Heroin addiction has taken over where I live in upstate New York. I know at least one mother whose son is addicted (and maybe I know more, just don’t know because they haven’t shared that fact with me.) I fear every day for my son, who is in his mid 20’s. Every so often the paper runs an in depth obituary for someone who OD’s and it is heart breaking. We do need to think outside the box but I think there must be an answer other than shipping them off to Guam.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I didn’t write this because it’s the end all be all solution. I wrote this because there has to be a solution.

      In previous responses I wrote why I chose to remove the addict from society. And that was to help encourage them to come back.

      I don’t intent the idea of Guam to be the stick. Their addiction is the stick. I want the idea of Guam to be catalyst of the carrot that helps them beat their addiction.

  15. interested says:

    There is no question that the current drug policy has failed the addicts, failed their friends and families and failed the nation as a whole. If it takes a provocative article like this to focus the discussion on new ideas, I say “Bravo”. One personal observation, I would rather have an addicted child or loved one in a safe place 10,000 miles away, receiving quality controlled drugs under the supervision of a trained profession, than 2 miles away, in an area of town where I wouldn’t go , in a building I wouldn’t enter, using possibly a used needle to inject drugs containing who knows what additives and purchased from a dubious source.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      The one think I would like to add is that these individuals are also free to get the help that they need. They won’t have to search for the help. The help is there when they choose they want it, and there will be an attainable road map for them to get out from under the umbrella of addiction.

  16. Darcy tARBELL says:

    Thank you Carol and Johnny. I have thought this idea was a viable solution for a long time, albeit, I never considered Guam. It’s like the lepers who were sent to Molokai. Seattle has a wet house for chronic alcoholics who are living on the street, so it’s not that crazy an idea. The challenge seems to be shifting the understanding about addiction. Addiction is not a moral defect; it is a medical condition. If people would accept that, we could begin to treat addicts as people who require medical assistance and not jail. Every year the San Francisco Chronicle runs an article about the “frequent flyers”, chronic substance abusers who the police call an EMT to transport them to the hospital. They get stitched up, or dried out and then put back out on the street. Certain individuals are racking up $40,000 annually for this care. Make drugs legal and give addicts a real solution when they want to get clean.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I told this idea to my ex wife who is a therapist and she told me about the wet house and encouraged me to watch the documentary. But the premise is, from what she told me because I have not watched the documentary, is that if they want to drink themselves to death they can. If they want to get help then they can get that too.

  17. I agree and have no problem with shipping them off to Guam. If they take more and more drugs, as Elena fears, then the survival of the fittest gene kicks in, which has been evolution’s method since the beginning.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      That is the dirty side to this. Not everyone will be helped. Not everyone will want help. But I also know that we can’t force help on anyone that doesn’t want it. If they want to end their life, we can offer them help, but they are going to do what they want to do.

  18. Carolann says:

    While that does sound like the perfect solution, unfortunately, I doubt we will ever see that in play. I do think you are so right on with the rehab portion of it. We should be paying for those services and gladly too! George Carlin has the perfect solution for this problem. It’s not only brilliant but hysterical too!

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I don’t think it’s perfect. There are many issues that need to be addressed.

      I’m not so much the pessimist to believe that none of it will ever be put into play. If someone told you 20 years ago that you will carry a device in your pocket that will allow you access to all the information in the history of the world, and most people will use it to look up pictures of cats, would you have believed them?

      I don’t believe in never. I believe there are obstacles that need to be overcome.

      And I miss George. He was brilliant.

  19. After reading this post and the comments I feel I am not of adequate knowledge to comment. Having seen what drugs and alcohol can do to a family i feel I will quietly sit this one out.

  20. Elizabeth O. says:

    Drug use and addiction is a global problem and we lose thousands of people every month or so. I’m not sure if legalizing it is going to work, but it does make a lot of sense. They are going to get it anyway so might as well just make it illegal.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      Drug addiction is a global problem in more ways that just the addiction portion. A large part of my motivation in writing this had to do with the violence that is going on in Mexico, and before that Colombia. There is a stalemate going on between the US and Mexico regarding drugs. The US looks to Mexico and says “stop sending drugs across the border” and Mexico responds back “get your citizens off of drugs and our criminal element will stop sending drugs”.

      Both sides have a point. By legalizing them and providing them free of charge, it SHOULD eliminate the demand portion of drugs. It will also help reduce the violence on a international setting.

      Personally I hate the “they are just going to get it anyway so lets just make it legal” argument. But the argument is valid. Assigning criminal penalties to a medical problem has not solved the issue, so I think a new solution could yield better results.

  21. Wow, this is such a huge problem, I have no idea what the practical answer is. This is definitely thought-provoking.

  22. I really don’t find the whole idea odd, it’s just that it seems too past the radar. I like the fact that there’s equal opportunity and chances for both sides to get their needs and goals, I just hope that this goes on and makes a change for the whole anti-drug system.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      Thats funny that you mention this. Carol had asked me to write something on any topic. I wrote this and sent it to her. I honestly thought she would hate the idea because it depends on the way you look at this solution. Some people could look at the solution and say, “you are advocating indefinite incarceration.” And you know what? From their point of view they would be right. The way I look at it is those that are facing addiction are already incarcerated in their own mind.

      But if something like this were to work, there would have to be a paradigm shift. I ran this idea by a partner of mine and he said the idea would never work. He went on to list a variety of reasons and I responded to each of them. In the end he just leaned back and crossed his arms and said it would never work. Right after that we ran into three teenagers sharing a syringe filled with Mexican brown heroin. I think the irony of the moment was lost on him.

  23. I totally agree with you about the legalization. Most users use it just for the thrill; if it’s hard to obtain, they want it. Legal or not, they are bound to get them anyway. I don’t agree with throwing them all in an island and providing them with all their drug needs.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I cannot disagree with you more. Most users don’t use it for the thrill. They use it because there is a hole in their life they are trying to fill with drugs. Mental illness and drug addiction go hand in hand.

      Throwing them on an island may not be the most plausible solution, but logistically it provides many solutions that letting them run around unchecked doesn’t.

      One thing that hasn’t been discussed is the violence caused by those using drugs. People on drugs are dangerous and prone to violence. Allowing individuals addicted to drugs to roam free will cause violence. I’m willing to bet on that. Just because they won’t need to steal to fill their need doesn’t mean they won’t steal. Straight legalization will produce victimization. The current environment caused by Prop 47 is just the beginning of what we will see with drug legalization.

  24. tp keane says:

    this is a very serious and detrimental topic to discuss. Advocating for legalization is a great big, HELLS NO, for me. But you’re right, things need to be done. The biggest issue you will have with any best laid plans, is not everyone wants the help. Some people would rather die in a drug-induced stupor then live without drugs. That’s how powerful the addiction is.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I can’t tell you how much what you’re saying resonates with me. Eighteen years of law enforcement training and experience tells me that we CANNOT legalize drugs. But there is a little voice in the back of my brain that says, “well then what do we do?”

      Unless you are my kids, I can’t tell you how to live your life. And I can’t tell others how to live their lives (contrary to my chosen professions). And I apply this to the drug problem in general. We can’t tell them how to live their lives. If they want to kill themselves with drugs, I feel all we can do is tell them it’s wrong and allow them to get the help they want, if they want to take it.

      Addiction is powerful, there is no doubt about it.

  25. Kathy says:

    I can imagine how hard it would be to see someone go through a drug problem. I have had some family members go through it and it’s hard to see them on drugs. Luckily most of them were able to get off them.

  26. wendy says:

    I am lucky not to have anyone “close” to me that has a drug problem but I agree that there has to be something done. We have tried many different roads but none really work. Legalization might be a way to try and see what happens.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      Addiction comes in many forms. I haven’t had many family members addicted to illegal drugs (only one). Most dealt with alcohol.

  27. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This is a great topic indeed. The problem with drugs is not the drugs itself. The people that do the drugs always have underlined problems and if you find out them problems you can cure the drug problem. We don’t understand what we don’t acknowledge.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      From what I’ve seen almost all drug addiction masks the underlying problem. I think one of the biggest benefits to this idea is that it will isolate the individual and allow for treatment. Much like a doctor can isolate you to find the underlying issue to an illness, by providing an environment in which drug addicts can be helped may cause for a lot more individuals being treated.

  28. You wanted discussion and that is what you are getting,so maybe you need a wider forum to get the conversation really happening.
    I have a question, what is the difference in legalising and providing drugs here- to sending them to an Island and having your medical solution administer drugs there?

    When we do it here many say yes let’s do it. When it is on the Island the same people would say it is not good.

    On the Island it would be easier to control. Hopefully less crime at home. I am all for the Island with facilities and help. Like you say it could ignite a desire to be free and there would only be one way to be free. Drug-free. Maybe a fourth Island, rehabilitation Island. As they recover, teach them a trade etc. even an education give them purpose. Lack of purpose is probably a major reason they took drugs anyway.

    Thanks Carol and ‘Johnny’ all the best, keep the conversation going with the crowd who can do something about it.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      That’s exactly why I suggested somewhere else. As for the fourth island idea, I think that is very narrowly sighted. As far as rehabilitation is concerned, why not designate a dozen islands to it. One for each step. I’m not being sarcastic. We dedicate what we need to to make the individual better.

      As for the reason why it should be on an island, I talked about it briefly on another reply. Because there is violence associated with drug use. Not just in the distribution portion, but the users have a higher than normal probability of becoming violent.

      As far as teaching them a trade, I had a fantasy to cure homelessness if I won the billion dollar powerball. While that idea is a little too long for me to post here while I’m getting ready to get to work, but a portion of that would have been to meet up with and join forces with Mike Rowe. I don’t know if you know who he is or what he does, but he hosted several shows, most recently SOMEBODY’S GOT TO DO IT on CNN. He is a huge proponent for teaching people the trades. Not everyone is cut out to be a scientist and only so many jobs are available for art history majors, but there are jobs out there. If I were King and had the ability to implement this drug program, I would elevate him to be Secretary for Employment.

      I don’t think he knows who I am and I don’t get any royalties for suggesting this, but follow him on facebook. He has a lot of great points.

      • Johnny Oliver says:

        Kathleen – Bloggers Lifestyle, I hit post response too soon. I wanted to say that I like the way you think. There is a lot more than what I just posted and other portions of rehabilitation that need to be discussed.

  29. Liz Mays says:

    Only the well to do can often afford rehab. It would definitely need to be a far reaching program to make a dent.

  30. Maya says:

    I agree this is a problem that needs to be addressed, but I am very doubtful that this is the best solutions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though…

  31. Berlin says:

    Druh addiction is a serious problem. In our country, i know a lot are doing illegal and inhumane because of drug addiction. I do not know tje solution to such problem buy i just hope those addicts would have the love and support of their families so they could change and live clean again.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      I have seen over and over again families give love and support to addicts. But there are other issues there that love and support just don’t overcome.

  32. Lisa Rios says:

    I agree, illegal drug usage has become a big curse to the entire humanity & the statistics are really scary that we need to find a cure someway or other. Like your friend there are hundreds of stories all around & it is worse to see what their family has to go through because of them.

  33. wow! what a brilliant and thought provoking post! i especially like the guest poster
    i have a friend who’s in love madly with a guy who’s been on and off with drugs for years.
    will share this with her.

  34. Rose says:

    I think there are certain crimes that are always going to be around. This unfortunately, is probably one of them.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      Possibly. But do we give up or do we try?

      But look at it this way. If it’s no longer a crime, then it can’t be around as a crime any longer.

  35. Taylor Ebner says:

    I hope this is satirical.

  36. I don’t quite know what to say in this matter. Sadly I’m one to stay away from people that show signs of substance abuse. Maybe I’m thinking “out of sight, out of mind”? Some of the points you make are very good. But I’m worried about those that don’t want to get better, those that do not care about rehabilitation. Spending money for them to get better when they don’t want to would be a waste…Again, I don’t know.

    • Johnny Oliver says:

      That’s the point. We won’t spend money on those to get better. If they don’t want to get help we won’t spend a dime on rehabilitation. We will provide them the drugs that they crave and they will eventually die from them.

      I think that is a problem with rehabilitation nowadays. I worked in the jails and there would be individuals that were mandated by the court to go through rehabilitation. To most of the individuals assigned it was a joke. They did the minimum and walked out and got high again. People do not get better unless they choose to get better. If this ever became more than just a fantasy, then those that wanted help would get the help.

  37. Shaylee says:

    Hard topic. I don’t think anyone knows what to do to fix it or it would be done. I feel as though there will always be some sort of issue with it regardless of what we legalize, get rid of or make available.

  38. Carol, it has been a good discussion, we will pop this post in as a feature on Friday.


  39. Julie Price says:

    This seems to be a good idea and also Guam seems to be a nice place. But wouldn’t it cost too much for the government?

  40. Hello/Hi, Johnny & Carol. Honestly I am not expert about the drugs, because I always ignore it and every time I saw on TV I transfer to other channel because I really hate it. But the time has come of curiosity so that I do a research about it and this information caught my attention. Maybe it’s time to open myself to the reality. So sad there are many died by using drug or be killed.

  41. Mary Opp says:

    Very well said, this topic is definitely important to pay attention especially for the teenagers who has the big number of involvements on taking drugs.

    Thank you, Carol! Your information is kinda eyeopener.

  42. Edwin says:

    Hahaha, Great idea. Have heard people talk about this idea to make drugs legal who knows what happens. We could solve this problem. Personally, I agree with loris. This is such a complex problem to solve-there are so many issues involved.

  43. Dwanlin Rosh says:

    There are more things you help your loved ones with regard to treating drug addiction. Talk to them when they needed someone to help them. Brokeness, sometimes people may do not see the wonders of the world, rather they feel sad when they think nobody cares for them.

  44. This article is the perfect example of how small changes in our habits and addiction can lead upto a bigger change in our health. Great work!

  45. Zoe Campos says:

    I’m glad that you talked about how illegal drugs have been one of the biggest problems that can’t still be solved in society. Early morning news featured a drug crime around our area and even if they didn’t mention the specifics, I feel bad for the victims. I hope that they’ll be able to find an attorney that they can rely on for their case.

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