What is “Boots-on-the-Ground” Drug Prevention?

We need a new approach to preventing drug abuse and alcoholism, and we need it badly. Drug abuse and alcoholism have been the scourge of the 21st-century, often labeled as the single most dangerous and risky drug problem that our country has ever experienced.

Since the turn of the century, more than twenty-four million Americans have fallen prey to a drug or alcohol habit, and more than six-hundred and thirty-thousand have died from drug overdoses. Overdose deaths went from being a minor concern in the 1990s to vying for first place as the single greatest cause of preventable death in the U.S. This problem is an epidemic, and it is time we addressed it as such.

The Need for a “Boots-on-the-Ground” Approach

We need a boots on the ground approach to drug and alcohol abuse. “Boots on the Ground” is a military term, defined as the number of soldiers deployed in any given area for any given purpose. The concept behind boots on the ground is a strategy wherein an enemy is defeated through sheer overwhelming force of one’s own complement of soldiers. The typical mathematic algorithm of boots on the ground is to utilize a complement of ten soldiers for every one enemy soldier to create an overwhelming force of soldiers.

We can and should use a similar boots on the ground approach in addressing drug abuse, as it would be a different and likely highly effective strategy which we have not yet tried.

How We Would Utilize Boots on the Ground

For too long, we as Americans have tried to solve drug abuse and alcoholism in Congress, in political offices, in state government bodies, and in local law enforcement offices. It is time for that to change. We need to tackle the drug epidemic from a boots on the ground approach wherein we get dozens of people, even hundreds, from every community that is suffering from a drug abuse problem to do something about it. We need to get the communities themselves involved in tackling this problem. We need to get everyone riled up about this, and we need to get everyone working to address the epidemic that is twenty-first-century drug abuse.

Our nation has been attempting to address the drug problem with the same or similar strategies for almost twenty years now. They haven’t been working. According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our country is being more or less insane in how we are addressing the drug epidemic, and more than half a million people are dead because of it. It’s time we tried something different.

A boots on the ground approach would absolutely be something different. This would be an entirely new approach, an approach where entire communities would band together to reduce and remove the drug problems from their areas, rather than sitting around and waiting for the government to do it for them.

Real Examples of Boots on the Ground Tactics

The boots on the ground approach is neither esoteric or confusing in its application. A boots on the ground approach to tackling drug abuse and alcoholism would actually be very natural and straightforward. Examples of how this approach would be carried out could be in the following:

  • Community leaders organizing a city-wide march or walk in protest of drug abuse.
  • Local churches working together to pass out information packets on the dangers of drug abuse.
  • A City Council working together to organize seminars and workshops on how parents can best talk to their kids about drugs.
  • Local interest groups focusing on healthy and positive programs for kids, adolescents, teens, and young adults to keep the youth off the streets and safely in adult-supervised programs.
  • City-wide educational messages, advertising, and promotional material that lists short, quick, and hard-hitting facts on the brutalities of addiction.

These are just a few ideas of the directions people can go in for reducing a drug problem, and the kind of effort it would take to really eliminate an addiction crisis in any given area. With boots on the ground tactics like the above and countless others like them, we could actually make a positive change in our communities and slowly but surely reduce the U.S. drug addiction epidemic.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/preventingdruguse.pdf

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/healthinfo/AddictionsSubstanceAbuse/if-com-community-action-manual.pdf

https://adf.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Preventing-AOD-problems.pdf

https://www.samhsa.gov/prevention

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