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Drug Addiction Vs Obesity

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  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    I have a question that I'm sure some will take an offense to. I seek honest answers or thoughts. This is just a question that I have been debating with myself but feel the need to have some intelligent input.

    If you remove the cost that are related to the prohibition of illegal drugs and their abuse. And look at drug addiction vs obesity as a medical issue, as these are both medical issues, I want to know which is a greater cost to society? Using things such as treatment cost, health issues, and related deaths, to calculate the burden placed upon society by each of these. I believe both of these to be medical issues that are choice issues. That being the drug user has a choice to use or not, the obese person has the choice to consume more calories than they burn. I'm well aware that there is more to either of these than a simple choice. In my mind both of these issues ultimately are a choice. I understand that genetics can increase the likelihood of both, but there's still that choice. We are not normally born an addict, nor are we normally born obese.

    I believe I know which is the greater cost/burden upon society, But would like some input to determine whether I'm wrong for comparing the two or if we are failing to focus on the issues that cost our society the most
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Boone Wrote: I have a question that I'm sure some will take an offense to. I seek honest answers or thoughts. This is just a question that I have been debating with myself but feel the need to have some intelligent input.

    If you remove the cost that are related to the prohibition of illegal drugs and their abuse. And look at drug addiction vs obesity as a medical issue, as these are both medical issues, I want to know which is a greater cost to society? Using things such as treatment cost, health issues, and related deaths, to calculate the burden placed upon society by each of these. I believe both of these to be medical issues that are choice issues. That being the drug user has a choice to use or not, the obese person has the choice to consume more calories than they burn. I'm well aware that there is more to either of these than a simple choice. In my mind both of these issues ultimately are a choice. I understand that genetics can increase the likelihood of both, but there's still that choice. We are not normally born an addict, nor are we normally born obese.

    I believe I know which is the greater cost/burden upon society, But would like some input to determine whether I'm wrong for comparing the two or if we are failing to focus on the issues that cost our society the most
    That's quite a thought provoking post, Boone. As you suggested in your post, these are two deeply complicated issues and there is no simple answer to your questions. The actual cost of the prohibition of drugs in America is incalculable when you start pondering the hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders we have in prisons and how much we spend on, for lack of a better term, warehousing these non-violent offenders. The rise of the private prison industrial complex in our society is mind boggling and the cost rivals that of our entanglements in foreign wars. America currently has 2.4 million "prisoners" behind bars, comprising one fourth of the ENTIRE prison population of the world. The cost is just as mind boggling: the average expenditure for each inmate in prisons is $24,000 a year and the Government spends roughly $6 billion a year on constructing new prisons. This adds up to an annual budget of $60 billion a year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate

    You can't have a discussion about the cost of illegal drugs in American society unless you address this issue at the same time. You are correct in your assessment that using drugs is a choice that an individual makes, but it is much more complex than that. A prohibition on anything encourages people that typically wouldn't even try something to try it. Look back at how the prohibition of alcohol worked out. People will do things that they are told they aren't supposed to. There is also a reason that someone decides to turn to drugs and the mental health structure in our society is not currently set up to help those people that have a predisposition to get into the drug culture. I would venture to say that it is far, far cheaper to get an individual mental health and drug treatment help than to lock them up in a prison for ten to twenty years. Not only that, but these prisoners are now labeled for life after they are freed from jail and often wind back in prison because they can no longer make a legitimate living for themselves.

    With regards to the obesity epidemic--that is a gigantic issue that we will have to address as a country in the very near future. The multinational food corporations have literally taken over 95 percent of the food supply in our country and it's going to be very difficult to take it back. The Congress does not help much when they subsidize crops that only accelerate obesity rates. It is absolutely insane that it costs me more to buy a red pepper than a double cheeseburger and fries. This issue is one that in my mind should be incredibly simple to solve, but when you look at what an average person like me is up against with companies like Monsanto, Tyson, etc., I'm not overly optimistic that it could be solved anytime soon.

    I do have a tough time equating the two subjects when it comes to which one is a greater cost to society. Drugs and the culture that surrounds them is a product of the society that our government has set up. The laws tend to be skewed towards targeting poor minorities while shielding the white upper class. Just read up on the difference between Crack and Cocaine sentencing and ask yourself if our laws aren't skewed towards the racial minorities. On the other hand, the obesity epidemic is going to have an incalculable cost to our society for years to come, but it is something that can be changed with appropriate education and the willpower of individuals to live healthy lives.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    jared,
    You are wrong. There is no easy solution to obesity in America. You can educate all that you want but that bag of Frito's at eleven o'clock at night is like crack cocaine. There are probably a host of mental issues that are compensated with over eating and not just over eating but eating high fat high sugar junk. And the amounts eaten are usually way too much. This coupled with inadequate exercise is a recipe for heart problems and diabetes.
    Which problem costs us more ? I have no idea. The figures you quoted on jails seem staggering. And as you stated, upon release, there's probably no decent employment available.
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Boone Wrote: I have a question that I'm sure some will take an offense to. I seek honest answers or thoughts. This is just a question that I have been debating with myself but feel the need to have some intelligent input.

    If you remove the cost that are related to the prohibition of illegal drugs and their abuse. And look at drug addiction vs obesity as a medical issue, as these are both medical issues, I want to know which is a greater cost to society? Using things such as treatment cost, health issues, and related deaths, to calculate the burden placed upon society by each of these. I believe both of these to be medical issues that are choice issues. That being the drug user has a choice to use or not, the obese person has the choice to consume more calories than they burn. I'm well aware that there is more to either of these than a simple choice. In my mind both of these issues ultimately are a choice. I understand that genetics can increase the likelihood of both, but there's still that choice. We are not normally born an addict, nor are we normally born obese.

    I believe I know which is the greater cost/burden upon society, But would like some input to determine whether I'm wrong for comparing the two or if we are failing to focus on the issues that cost our society the most
    That's quite a thought provoking post, Boone. As you suggested in your post, these are two deeply complicated issues and there is no simple answer to your questions. The actual cost of the prohibition of drugs in America is incalculable when you start pondering the hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders we have in prisons and how much we spend on, for lack of a better term, warehousing these non-violent offenders. The rise of the private prison industrial complex in our society is mind boggling and the cost rivals that of our entanglements in foreign wars. America currently has 2.4 million "prisoners" behind bars, comprising one fourth of the ENTIRE prison population of the world. The cost is just as mind boggling: the average expenditure for each inmate in prisons is $24,000 a year and the Government spends roughly $6 billion a year on constructing new prisons. This adds up to an annual budget of $60 billion a year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_rate

    You can't have a discussion about the cost of illegal drugs in American society unless you address this issue at the same time. You are correct in your assessment that using drugs is a choice that an individual makes, but it is much more complex than that. A prohibition on anything encourages people that typically wouldn't even try something to try it. Look back at how the prohibition of alcohol worked out. People will do things that they are told they aren't supposed to. There is also a reason that someone decides to turn to drugs and the mental health structure in our society is not currently set up to help those people that have a predisposition to get into the drug culture. I would venture to say that it is far, far cheaper to get an individual mental health and drug treatment help than to lock them up in a prison for ten to twenty years. Not only that, but these prisoners are now labeled for life after they are freed from jail and often wind back in prison because they can no longer make a legitimate living for themselves.

    With regards to the obesity epidemic--that is a gigantic issue that we will have to address as a country in the very near future. The multinational food corporations have literally taken over 95 percent of the food supply in our country and it's going to be very difficult to take it back. The Congress does not help much when they subsidize crops that only accelerate obesity rates. It is absolutely insane that it costs me more to buy a red pepper than a double cheeseburger and fries. This issue is one that in my mind should be incredibly simple to solve, but when you look at what an average person like me is up against with companies like Monsanto, Tyson, etc., I'm not overly optimistic that it could be solved anytime soon.

    I do have a tough time equating the two subjects when it comes to which one is a greater cost to society. Drugs and the culture that surrounds them is a product of the society that our government has set up. The laws tend to be skewed towards targeting poor minorities while shielding the white upper class. Just read up on the difference between Crack and Cocaine sentencing and ask yourself if our laws aren't skewed towards the racial minorities. On the other hand, the obesity epidemic is going to have an incalculable cost to our society for years to come, but it is something that can be changed with appropriate education and the willpower of individuals to live healthy lives.
    Everything you stated are the cost that have caused this thought provoked debate. I have been wanting to make this post, but have withheld from doing so because of the offense that some may have for even comparing the two. Many in our society wear their feelings upon their shirt sleeve.
  • Independent
    Plymouth, WI
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    Boone,
    I feel sad when I see a really fat person, no I don't auto blame them for this, I didn't walk their shoes nor do I know if they really have no control over how fat they are because of either physical or enviromental reasons.

    I would say both fat and drugs are a health issue as you do. Is it better to quit smoking then gain fifty pounds? I think the smoke is deadlier, but both are deadly, smoke and fat. As far as which one cost society the most, it is clear the money system is profiting from both. I don't know what the majority pays for most, but now I am wondering, which one the system makes the most money off of, drugs or fat, at the majority's expense and life. Hmm, I wonder which kills the majority of us, fat or drugs, do you know?
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    unitedmajority Wrote: Boone,
    I feel sad when I see a really fat person, no I don't auto blame them for this, I didn't walk their shoes nor do I know if they really have no control over how fat they are because of either physical or enviromental reasons.

    I would say both fat and drugs are a health issue as you do. Is it better to quit smoking then gain fifty pounds? I think the smoke is deadlier, but both are deadly, smoke and fat. As far as which one cost society the most, it is clear the money system is profiting from both. I don't know what the majority pays for most, but now I am wondering, which one the system makes the most money off of, drugs or fat, at the majority's expense and life. Hmm, I wonder which kills the majority of us, fat or drugs, do you know?
    Personally I think it is a pure mental issue of compensation for something what is missing; not being loved; work problems; social problems etc.
    The promotion of junk food all the time on TV etc. makes persons lazy because they do not have to cook themselves and or intoxicate themselves because it stops the pressure of the society push to be on top or end up on the bottom. Both items are caused by the same thing, which is our consumption, performance driven rat race.
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    We could ban HFCS and microwave ovens. Convert all McDonald's, Wendy's and BK's to photobooths. That would do it. But....
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    GemsWoven Wrote: We could ban HFCS and microwave ovens. Convert all McDonald's, Wendy's and BK's to photobooths. That would do it. But....
    I guess there would be no "profit" from the photobooth; so I suggest to make them all into "gun" shops!! "Microwaves" will kill you too if you stick your head in it. so get rid of these; a good suggestion!!
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Dutch Wrote:
    GemsWoven Wrote: We could ban HFCS and microwave ovens. Convert all McDonald's, Wendy's and BK's to photobooths. That would do it. But....
    I guess there would be no "profit" from the photobooth; so I suggest to make them all into "gun" shops!! "Microwaves" will kill you too if you stick your head in it. so get rid of these; a good suggestion!!
    The rise in autism as well as a few cancers started back the middle seventies. Hmmmm. Back then moms heated baby food in water. Over time microwaves fell in price so that now they are everywhere. Is it linked?
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    GemsWoven Wrote:
    Dutch Wrote:
    GemsWoven Wrote: We could ban HFCS and microwave ovens. Convert all McDonald's, Wendy's and BK's to photobooths. That would do it. But....
    I guess there would be no "profit" from the photobooth; so I suggest to make them all into "gun" shops!! "Microwaves" will kill you too if you stick your head in it. so get rid of these; a good suggestion!!
    The rise in autism as well as a few cancers started back the middle seventies. Hmmmm. Back then moms heated baby food in water. Over time microwaves fell in price so that now they are everywhere. Is it linked?
    No it is linked to "modified engineered" baby food and later on by "modified wheat" and special fed chicken and "beef" for the McDonalds hamburgers made in China from modified Tibettian Lama's mixed with some prairy horses meat. So do not blame my "lovely" blue glow outerspace piece of tin.
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    You are aware of the little scince project done by a middle schooler? Two plants, one watered with heat sterilized water the other watered with radiated water. Just to see if they grew differently. And guess what?
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    unitedmajority Wrote: Boone,
    I feel sad when I see a really fat person, no I don't auto blame them for this, I didn't walk their shoes nor do I know if they really have no control over how fat they are because of either physical or enviromental reasons.

    I would say both fat and drugs are a health issue as you do. Is it better to quit smoking then gain fifty pounds? I think the smoke is deadlier, but both are deadly, smoke and fat. As far as which one cost society the most, it is clear the money system is profiting from both. I don't know what the majority pays for most, but now I am wondering, which one the system makes the most money off of, drugs or fat, at the majority's expense and life. Hmm, I wonder which kills the majority of us, fat or drugs, do you know?
    That's a very valid debate. I have not even thought about it in the terms of a smoker. Which I have to question myself on. That's because I believe smoking to be one of the most costly and addictive drugs of use in our society. Thanks for the input.
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    Dutch Wrote:
    unitedmajority Wrote: Boone,
    I feel sad when I see a really fat person, no I don't auto blame them for this, I didn't walk their shoes nor do I know if they really have no control over how fat they are because of either physical or enviromental reasons.

    I would say both fat and drugs are a health issue as you do. Is it better to quit smoking then gain fifty pounds? I think the smoke is deadlier, but both are deadly, smoke and fat. As far as which one cost society the most, it is clear the money system is profiting from both. I don't know what the majority pays for most, but now I am wondering, which one the system makes the most money off of, drugs or fat, at the majority's expense and life. Hmm, I wonder which kills the majority of us, fat or drugs, do you know?
    Personally I think it is a pure mental issue of compensation for something what is missing; not being loved; work problems; social problems etc.
    The promotion of junk food all the time on TV etc. makes persons lazy because they do not have to cook themselves and or intoxicate themselves because it stops the pressure of the society push to be on top or end up on the bottom. Both items are caused by the same thing, which is our consumption, performance driven rat race.
    You may be correct "because it stops the pressure of the society push to be on top or end up on the bottom". I've heard it stated by many, that these items of pleasure relieve the stress and pressures of life.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    TJ Wrote: jared,
    You are wrong. There is no easy solution to obesity in America. You can educate all that you want but that bag of Frito's at eleven o'clock at night is like crack cocaine. There are probably a host of mental issues that are compensated with over eating and not just over eating but eating high fat high sugar junk. And the amounts eaten are usually way too much. This coupled with inadequate exercise is a recipe for heart problems and diabetes.
    Which problem costs us more ? I have no idea. The figures you quoted on jails seem staggering. And as you stated, upon release, there's probably no decent employment available.
    I didn't say that it would be easy to solve the obesity epidemic in our country and I apologize if it came out that way. What I was trying to state was that both of the problems are massive and will take years, if not decades, to solve. What I was attempting to lay forward as an argument, however, was that people do have a choice as to what they put inside of their bodies, but only one of them can send them to prison.

    You will get no argument from me as to what the food that we ingest does to our bodies. Most American's don't eat real food anymore, but instead are eating "food like product." The chemical products in the food have little to zero benefit and only exacerbate the problem. Your Frito's comment couldn't have been more on point. It's as addictive as crack cocaine and nearly as destructive to your body. However, I will still submit that there is an easy solution to this epidemic regardless of how easy it will be to solve. The solution is simple: eat healthier and exercise every day. In reality, that is far more difficult to achieve, but the solution is there for everyone that is ready to change.
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    GemsWoven Wrote: We could ban HFCS and microwave ovens. Convert all McDonald's, Wendy's and BK's to photobooths. That would do it. But....
    Funny, but may be effective as treatment and cure in some cases.