Jun 10, 2017
It would be too simple to say that temperance is the sole solution to America's multifaceted crisis of addiction, but it's entirely realistic to think there will be no solution that leaves out temperance. In the absence of temperance, we shall continue to apply patchwork, partial solutions here and there while piously decrying addiction as a bad thing.
Not that the patchworks aren't needed. For instance, Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb's proposal to reduce needlessly long periods of time for which, he believes, opioid painkillers often are prescribed sounds like a reasonable idea. Unfortunately, some medical groups are on record opposing mandatory education for physicians to accomplish it.
Over at the Justice Department the new approach involves a return to tough law enforcement, including long prison sentences for drug-related offenses. Leaving the pros and cons of that to those better equipped to judge, one can only say it's at best a bit of patchwork that leaves untouched the larger issues raised by addiction.
And just here it's important to recall that addiction isn't only a matter of prescription opioids and street drugs. Viewed in a holistic sense, American addiction extends to things like the routine abuse of alcohol and the epidemic of internet pornography. And how about the 5 million Americans who spend 45 hours a week playing video games? If that isn't addicted behavior, what is?