The short answer is to ensure that every child’s needs are filled. And THAT means supporting the families they’re nurtured in. Here’s why. There is nothing wrong with anyone’s brain. Our brains are a result of millions of years of evolution. No one is hardwired to “need” drugs, alcohol [or psychiatric meds for that matter; that’s another article]. What human children need is physical closeness at birth and on, good food, relaxed and loving families and good education. Its lack pulls people toward chemical fixes. If we do the following we’ll come a long way towards ending the endless, fruitless war on drugs.
- Make sure every family has a minimum income that can sustain a life of dignity. People have written about this for centuries [Abu Bakr in the years shortly after Mohammed’s life, instituted a minimum income to all families under his reign]. Several countries are taking stabs at it right now. There’s plenty of substantiating evidence connecting poverty to bad outcomes for children.
- Make sure every child has access to a great school. Finland is a good model of a country whose priority in education is equity; the U.S. is not. The public schools in NYC, one of the richest cities on earth, has a school system that middle class families don’t use. A huge outpouring of resource is needed to fix that problem but probably not as much as currently required to support, imprison, and heal the adults who grow up without that strong education.
We’ve easily got the resource. A small portion of our military spending [https://ourworldindata.org/military-spending/] or a slight adjustment to the unequal distribution of wealth could provide it. Of course ending racism and the unholy devotion to accumulating wealth our economic system encourages might be a prerequisite. This is not a complex problem; it just requires some human solutions.