For some time now the opioid "epidemic" has grabbed the headlines, despite the fact that its numbers pale by comparison to the alcohol epidemic and the tobacco epidemic. Have we just given up on alcohol and tobacco, or does the fact that the DEA has scheduled neither drug as a controlled substance somehow make these addictive and deadly substances less newsworthy?
I read about the illicit methamphetamine market now and then, but I see very little mention of cocaine, the drug epidemic du jour in the eighties. Did our "war on drugs" really work, and, if so, have we tried the same strategies with opioids? If not, why not? If so, how do they continue to fail?
It occurs to me now that, if we really did something effective about coke or meth, the same strategies might work for opioids. It also occurs to me that maybe the new has worn off, and the problems have continued unabated under the radar, or the same population vulnerable to coke and meth has switched to a new drug of choice.