Political Decisions and Addiction

20131219-025004.jpg By Terence T. Gorski, Author
December 19, 2013

“All decisions are political decisions if they involve people and shared resources.” – Former Senator Harold Hughes

Political decisions affect us all. This is because they determine how the shared or collective resources of a group or organization are to be used or spent. People concerned about how
the resources are spent form together in special interest groups. Like-mind groups may form into a political party.

There are two primary characteristics that determine if a decision is political.

1. Is the decision beings made by more that one person, each having different ideas about what the best or right idea is?

2. Does the decision involve the use of shared resources in the form of money, people, infrastructure, or other valuable resources?

In the United States, I have heard people say that “we don’t have money to treat addiction properly and effectively.”

This is no an inaccurate statement. The accurate statement is: “we choose to invest our shared money and resources in other things and then give addicted people and their families the what is left over.”

Who is the “we” making these decisions? The “we” is usually a politician or their designate or some bureaucrat working in an agency of government who is doing the bidding of a politician.

It is important to become a strong voice in advocating for a public health addiction policy. This means redirecting funds from the war on drugs and investing more in prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse prevention.

Massive amounts if money are being spent on the War on Drugs. This is s failed strategy that has not, is not, cannot, and will not work in effectively managing the alcohol and drug epidemic in the USA. These resources would be best redirected into a public health addiction policy that focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment, and relapse management.

Your voice can make a difference. No one can speak your voice except you. I will close with longer statement from Harold Hughes from a private conversation in 1985.


“Every decision is a political decision. Will water come out of your kitchen faucet when you turn it on? Will the waste products go down the drain when you flush your toilet? Will the waste products flushed down the toilet come out in the kitchen sink? All of these things depend upon not one, but many political decisions influenced by many special interest groups.

“If the current trends in making ill-conceived political decisions regarding alcoholism and addiction continues, it is only a matter of time before the waste products of too much punishment and too little treatment will start to flow into the kitchen sinks of our communities.” ~ Senator Harold Hughes, deceased. In a private conversation with Terence T. Gorski in 1985. Senator Hughes authored the legislation that founded NIAAA and NIDA.



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