One of my favorite television shows is 'Mystery Diagnosis' on Discovery Health. In each episode an individual chronicles their struggles with symptoms of an illness that doctors cannot name. The patient gradually loses both their health and their hope as treatments fail or worsen symptoms. With a stroke of luck, the patient eventually stumbles onto a doctor willing to prioritize the survival of the patient over his/her own assumptions and the result is an accurate diagnosis and treatments that cure or improve the quality of life of the patient.
The Drug War is one of our nation’s ‘mystery diagnoses’. Poor communities especially suffer from its varying symptoms - open-air drug markets, drug trafficking violence, more dangerous and lethal drugs – yet policymakers are intent on behaving like the determined yet misguided doctors on ‘Mystery Diagnosis’: prescribing potions that are fanciful (Just say ‘No’); treatments that are bigoted (stop and frisks, racial profiling, crack vs. powder cocaine ratio); and solutions that are draconian (Panama Invasion, Plan Colombia). Policymakers tell us with more time and money they will get it right, but we have a right and an obligation to be skeptical.
Dr. Miron and I discuss the Drug War and his research. I hope you enjoy.
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