While a jittery Brussels gets back on its feet and the world speculates “who’s next,” the theories are flying about who is to blame and what to do. The right looks to assign blame to a lack of guns and a religion, while the left is scurrying to indict radicalized individuals; but there may be a culprit that stealthy sneaks out the back door: addiction and a voracious appetite for drugs.
Making the Link between Terrorism and Addiction
As Westerners look to insulate themselves from the insatiable demands of modern life, many of us have turned to chemicals, and for some of us that means heroin. The once shadowy mysterious culture around heroin use has found its way to suburban malls. As the tide of gentrification swells in American life, even heroin is becoming as common as a Starbucks or Gap. “Treatment not incarceration” is an embryonic, but growing battle cry but America is still steeped in a “just say no” mentality that is about as effective as “abstinence only” birth control. Seldom, if ever, do Americans look at the ripple effect of what addiction does to other systems: families are destroyed, finances consumed, prisons overflow and yes, terror networks are funded.
Recent estimates from the UN show that Afghanistan produces a staggering 90% of the worlds opium poppies (http://www.unodc.org/
Terrorism is an abstract concept, difficult to define and wage war against. Like any effort, it doesn’t work well without funding and the funding is from the drug trade. In all the actions given to ending terrorism, little seems to be done to address the chain of money. The net result? Well funded terror cells and an America dropping 100 bodies daily to overdose. Anyone who has loved someone caught in the tight grip of addiction knows, it’s pretty terrifying. Maybe the terror is more than we think.