Let’s explore a couple of recent stories on the now seemingly revived War on Drugs. First, a long article that looks at the proposed Border Wall from the viewpoint of a smuggler.

I’ve never had much faith in a big physical barrier as a way of stemming the tide of illegal drugs into the US. Rather than cover old ground, I’ll just link to some earlier pieces on the subject:

Interdiction Two-Step

Borders and Drugs

Besides, funding for the Wall doesn’t appear to have made it into the latest budget package. So if it’s eventually built, it could be in much reduced form. In fact, it may not qualify as a wall. A White House spokesman told the press corps that the current plan centered on something called a ‘bollard wall”. Here’s a video of what that looks like:

I have to agree with a skeptical journalist, who said: call it what you like, but that’s a fence. One that  doesn’t look too difficult to cross.

There’s already a highly developed marketing and distribution system here in the states, to handle heroin from Mexico and elsewhere. Demand is strong and continues to grow, as still more onetime prescription drug users switch over to the cheaper, more available heroin. It’s a process that can be adapted and expanded to thwart any new policies designed to prevent drugs from entering the U.S. And the money’s plenty good enough to incentivize serious risk-taking.

And it’s no big challenge to supplement the supply with domestically produced intoxicants– synthetic opioids, for instance. Or hallucinogens, or dissociative anesthetics such as PCP and ketamine.

I figure if Walter White can produce methamphetamine in a plausible way on TV, using high school lab supplies and a converted RV, then it can probably happen in real life.

More disturbing to me, the second article, which arrived unexpectedly and with little fanfare, details a surprising plan to slash funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Now, I’d have thought this issue wouldn’t come up until well after the drug epidemic had officially ended– certainly not while it was still going great guns. I can’t imagine what the rationale might be. But if anyone is thinking to pass the responsibility onto the individual states, I’d recommend a quick rethink. Battling an epidemic requires considerable cross-state cooperation and coordination– something that’s never easy, even with strong Federal support.

And it sounds like that will no longer be available.