Felicia Chew on the “War on Drugs”

Photo from: Feb 7, 2019 Opinion piece by L. Roberts (AZCentral.com)

We Need Drug Sense

We’re doing it wrong.  We should not be fighting a “war on drugs”; we should be educating our communities with “Drug Sense”.  Drugs are a tool — any tool can be used for “good”, and any tool can be used for “not good”.  A hammer can be used to help build a home, and a hammer can be used to tear down a home.

Drugs will always be around as long as there is a market for them; as long as we have people in pain (physical, emotional, mental), our drug companies, and illegal drug markets, will exist.

If we “secure one border”, drugs will find another way to enter the country.  The allure of money, “acceptance” (into a scene, and being “seen” as someone of importance when being a drug runner…; or the thrill of being a drug runner, and avoiding being detected, and making lots of money…; the appreciation of drug lord through words, or money…) These are all issues of power and control.

Recently, there has been discussion about securing the border here in Pima County.  Talk with most law enforcement officers, and you will hear that if you “take care of a problem”, it really just moves somewhere else

As a society, we do not typically deal with the root issue; we deal with the symptom.  Drug abuse is not the problem; it is the symptom.

Consider the following statements:

  • Drugs are not the problem; addictions are the problem.
  • Drugs are not the problem; lack of education and awareness are the problem.
  • Drugs are not the problem; greed is the problem.
  • Drugs are not the problem; the need for escape is the problem.
  • Drugs are not the problem; America’s attitude about drugs are the problem.
  • Drugs are not the problem; abuse is the problem.

To that end, it is necessary to educate our children, youth, families, and communities about the effects of drugs.

Abuse of drugs contribute to systemic domestic violence, as members of a family:

  • Individuals spend money on drugs, instead of family necessities;
  • Individuals become addicted, and unable to fulfill responsibilities;
  • Individuals argue about drug use, and addictions;
  • Individuals deny addictions;
  • Individuals are unable to find effective support to break their addictions.

Abuse of drugs increases the costs for all of us, as those seeking money for drugs commit burglaries, assaults, petty crimes, and homicides.  We have a systemic cycle of crime and violence that is perpetuated as we focus on symptoms, and not the underlying problems.

How can we use policy and budget to effect lasting change that reduces the abuse of drugs in our community?

  • Implement drug education programs that talk about the benefits and dangers of medicine;
  • Continue to develop treatment programs that include individual and family therapy;
  • Invest in funding to study and replicate effective programs like the Family Preservation Program out of JFCS;
  • Ensure that policy is flexible enough to bridge the implementation gaps that will exist for individual families;
  • Provide a budget that is flexible enough to meet the needs of the implementation team;
  • Identify community organizations who can continue the work, once the infrastructure is set in place;
  • Use continuous improvement to regularly review infrastructure and systems.

For effective change in the way we run business, we must elect individuals who have vision and courage to ensure that no one is left behind.  Vote Felicia Chew – Pima County Supervisor, District 3 (2020).

“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life; without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”


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