DRUG POLICY REFORM
Because of current societal fears and stigma regarding recreational drugs and drug users, the U.S. spends over $50 billion a year perpetuating their illegality, primarily to incarcerate addicts, racial minorities, the mentally ill, and economically disadvantaged individuals. This repeatedly failed attempt at prohibition also results in the creation of dangerous black markets, and precludes treatment, harm-reduction strategies, and sound preventative education. The fervor around the war on drugs has also prevented society from exploring the benefits of certain psychoactive materials that, in a controlled and therapeutic context, has proven to have great healing and transformative potential for many suffering individuals.
Similarly, the lack of acceptance and fear around death and dying has resulted in massive expenditures of often frivolous and artificial attempts to minimally prolong life at the end. For instance, more than half of Medicare dollars are spent on patients who die within two months, costing society over $300 billion annually, often adding stress to families and actually reducing the quality of life for many patients. This cultural of “death denial” has also prevented society from empowering mentally sound individuals with terminal prognoses to be able to take greater control over their pain and timing of their death. The Riverstyx Foundation aims to support a more balanced approach that encourages avenues to reduce suffering through hospice and palliative care, providing people the opportunity to die with less suffering, and with greater dignity and peace.