breaking the taboo

This is not about SFF or writing, so if you're one of those folks, you might want to skip this post.

Breaking the Taboo is a documentary I heard about through Twitter and last night, I watched it online. The captioning was splotchy in places for me, but I didn't need to see a lot of detail about how the "war on drugs" came about, because I watched a lot of this take place as it happened.

I'm still watching it unfold and it gets uglier every year.

It's sad when I start reading Latin American newsfeeds to work on my Spanish and my vocabulary is expanded to words like desaparecido (missing), secuestro (kidnapping), tráfico (in connection with drug trafficking); asesinato (murder); presos (prisoners)--I could go on, but you get the idea. I don't think you can turn three feet of ground down there without hitting a mass grave or a body. Executions are rife and don't kid yourself and say the ones who are shot were involved in the drug trade and deserve what they got. The number of innocent people caught in the crossfire on both sides of the border is staggering.

Something has to give somewhere. They're sick of the violence in Mexico and our prisons are full to bursting, which brings me to the one thing that I liked very much about this documentary: they talked about addiction as a health issue, not as a criminal issue.

It was worth watching just to see how they handled the drug problem in Portugal. They do the worst imaginable thing to addicts there--if someone is caught with drugs, they have to see psychiatrists who specialize in addiction. Imagine that.

I was impressed by the former presidents of both the United States and Latin America countries who were willing to offer candid views on what worked and what didn't work.

The cartels continue to operate at full capacity. Last I heard, they were building underground labs in Mexico to produce meth. They are slipping meth samples into marijuana shipments to broaden their customer base--meth is cheap to make and highly addictive--a win/win for the cartels. Americans continue to self-medicate at an alarming rate and once hooked, "Just Say No" is a joke.

Whether you agree with everything in Breaking the Taboo or not, I think it's important to watch. I also think it's very important that we start talking about alternatives. I don't think we should ever stop fighting addiction or drug abuse; however, I do believe that we have reached a point where we need to shift our tactics and open up some honest dialogue on the subject.

If you want to watch, here is Breaking the Taboo. I'm switching off comments to this post to encourage you to leave your comments at YouTube.