Recently I had the honor of visiting with Bill Alden, Director of the DEA Foundation. Bill is a former DEA agent (Drug Enforcement Administration). He served us for 45 years, including the entire “War on Drugs” era. Now Director of the DEA Foundation, Bill Alden is helping spread the word about the importance of awareness and prevention, not just enforcement, and the critical role education plays in that effort.
Bill and I share a great deal of perspective on the War on Drug Addiction, especially on the importance of increasing the efforts to bring treatment providers and youngsters into the conversation. Enforcement of laws is not enough.
Many people (including young kids), are not aware of the importance and often direct connections between illegal and illicit drugs, addiction, and wellness. Prevention is more than “Just Say No”, and education is an essential ingredient in the fight. The DEA has estimated the cost to US society at $180 billion dollars per year. I find that cost to be an underestimate. I don’t know how to put a dollar value on families and individual lives lost to addiction, but I suggest it’s higher than that.
It was a privilege to visit with Bill Alden. He gave me a tour of the DEA Museum, which is part of the Visitor’s Center, and one piece of an extensive effort to help raise awareness about the efforts to protect our nation from the harm brought by the illicit and illegal drug trades. I will be posting more about some of the specific informational programs they have produced on this blog.