The War on Drugs is a ravenous, destructive
machine that is laying waste to freedom, justice and fairness in
Our government shows advanced symptoms of being addicted to its own War
on Drugs. Like hopeless addicts, our leaders refuse to admit the destructive
consequences of their behavior and they habitually increase their drug war
dosage with copious injections of cash. They are always looking for a stronger fix,
but they can't pay for it so they run-up the nation's debt. Drug enforcement agents
often act as judge, jury and executioner, and the media reinforces their negative behavior while they live in
denial of their own role, like a co-dependent partner.
News media play up public fears to sell copy. Politicians play upon the
same fears while they sell
themselves as being "tough on crime." Every year they ban more
activities, and pass longer prison sentences, more forfeiture laws, and
higher enforcement budgets. The next year they repeat this same ritual.
Well-paid bureaucrats scrutinize the legal system for glimmers of
compassion, discretion and freedom to close the "loopholes."
Drug warriors write anti-*This* acts and omnibus *That* laws and forbid
discussion of reform. Human rights violations and conflicts of interest
within the prison and law enforcement industries are accepted as a
regrettable aspect of fighting the war. Year after year of property
more mothers and fathers in prison; one marijuana arrest every 49 seconds with over
11 million busts served; the biggest law enforcement budgets in history;
the most sweeping and intrusive police powers ever...and more on the
Lost in all of the anti-drug hysteria is a simple, undeniable fact. Nearly
all casual drug users are peaceful and productive members of society. That
is, until they become casualties of the Drug War.
The War on Drugs is a Failure
Is this a news flash to anyone? Philosopher and poet George Santayana said, "Those
who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them"
and no clearer example can be found to prove his dictum than America's
longest war; the insane "War on Drugs." Our
government can't win this war and their attempts to hold the
line are not only expensive and destructive, they aren't having any real
appreciable impact on drug
use. As with Prohibition,
the War on Drugs has only added to the problems that it was supposed to
alleviate. Some drug use may have declined as a result of the
government's efforts, but the cost of that decline has been a huge
expansion in government, law enforcement and the prison system and a
dramatic reduction in personal freedom and privacy rights.
In the drug war, the pattern has been one step forward,
one step back - one trafficking organization smashed, another one
formed; one hectare of coca or opium poppy destroyed, another one
planted; one dealer imprisoned, another taking his place.
The drug war reflects a political arrogance that the government can solve bad habits by passing
laws and sending police out on the streets to arrest the way to an improved society.
The collateral damage of this arrogance is clear. It is time to end the drug war, to seek education, treatment, product labeling and testing, and a more orderly yet much less profitable market for the measure of drug usage, which society cannot stem or prevent, with or without force.
Drug laws and drug enforcement began with racial
discrimination against minorities and that discrimination continues. Despite roughly equal drug use between blacks and
whites, African-Americans are 13 times more likely to go to jail for
drugs than whites. In New York, 93% of the people in jail under the
draconian Rockefeller drug laws are African-American and Latino. Offering people
who use drugs treatment and help instead of incarceration would not only save this country much-needed
resources, it would help keep tens of thousands of mothers and fathers out of jail
and with their families.
According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Reports, we arrest more than 872,000 Americans a year for marijuana offenses, and that number has climbed every year for the past five years. That's one marijuana arrest every 36 seconds. And nearly 90 percent of those arrests are for simple possession - not
selling or cultivation.
The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that 97.8 million Americans, age 12 and older, have used marijuana at least once. The ranks of semi-regular smokers total more than 25 million.
If 39.8 percent of those over 12 have taken a toke, the number of young people getting high is higher. The DEA says that totals 41.8 percent of 12th-graders -- 31.7 percent have smoked in the past year -- 46.9 percent of college students and 56.7 percent of young adults.
Can our drug warriors claim success given these figures?
The moronic DEA anti-drug propaganda:
From a DEA propaganda site aimed at teens:
"A word about prohibition: lots of you hear the argument that
alcohol prohibition failed---so why are drugs still illegal? Prohibition
did work. Alcohol consumption was reduced by almost 60% and incidents of
liver cirrhosis and deaths from this disease dropped dramatically"
Huh? "Prohibition did work?"
This may well be the biggest and most incredible lie the DEA has ever
told, and it is most certainly the easiest to refute.
Cato Institute: Alcohol
Prohibition Was A Failure
"National prohibition of alcohol (1920-33)--the "noble
experiment"--was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve
social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and
poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The results of
that experiment clearly indicate that it was a miserable failure on all
"...consumption of alcohol actually rose steadily after an initial
drop. Annual per capita consumption had been declining since 1910,
reached an all-time low during the depression of 1921, and then began to
increase in 1922. Consumption would probably have surpassed
pre-Prohibition levels even if Prohibition had not been repealed in
"Instead of emptying the prisons as its supporters had hoped it
would, Prohibition quickly filled the prisons to capacity. Those
convicted of additional crimes with victims (burglaries, robberies, and
murders), which were due to Prohibition and the black market, were
incarcerated largely in city and county jails and state prisons."
"It was hoped that Prohibition would eliminate corrupting
influences in society; instead, Prohibition itself became a major source
of corruption. Everyone from major politicians to the cop on the beat
took bribes from bootleggers, moonshiners, crime bosses, and owners of
"In summary, Prohibition did not achieve its goals. Instead, it
added to the problems it was intended to solve and supplanted other ways
of addressing problems. The only beneficiaries of Prohibition were
bootleggers, crime bosses, and the forces of big government."
Sound familiar? The names have changed but the game is
the same. Today it's; "drug dealers, the
cartels, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system" who are
the only beneficiaries of the Drug War.
The American Government Lies About Drugs
When you lie to people about the dangers of drugs, you
undermine the goal of dissuading people from using drugs. Adults aren't
stupid. Children aren't stupid. Once they figure out that you've lied to
them, they won't believe anything you say.
There is no dispute about the fact that methamphetamine
is a very dangerous drug. The question is how best to reduce it's use.
The DEA prefers lies over facts, and in doing so they are making the
same mistake that has been made many times with marijuana since it was
These three statements come from a DEA propaganda site aimed at teens:
"95% of those who try Meth "just one time" get hooked for
"95% of those who are hooked on meth became hooked after the first
"99 percent of first-time meth users are hooked after the first
So the claim is that 95-99% of first-time meth users are
hooked for life.
Which is correct?
Answer: None of the above.
"The 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
found that 4.3 percent of the U.S. population (9.6 million people) have
tried methamphetamine at least once, and at least one million had used
it in the past year."
Using their figures, 9.6 million people have tried meth, and assuming
the worst-case scenario, let's say all of the one million who used methamphetamine
in the past year are addicted. That would be an addiction rate of about 10%.
But the government is telling kids on it's "meth-is-death" web
site that the addiction rate for first time users is 95-99%. One would
expect the government to overdramatize a little in our children's
interest, but this is such a transparent lie that only the youngest
children are likely to believe it. Older "at-risk" children
will see right through it and be more likely to discount or question
other assertions made on the site.
Methamphetamine is more
addictive than alcohol, but it can also be said that alcohol is far more
destructive to American families and society. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's
(NIAAA's) 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related
Conditions (NESARC) finds that 17.6 million Americans were either
dependent on alcohol or misused it in 2001-2002, compared with 13.8
million adults in 1991-1992. The rate of alcohol misuse increased from
3.03 percent of the population to 4.65 percent during the decade, while
the rate of alcohol addiction declined from an estimated 4.38 percent of
the population to 3.81 percent. There
are many more Americans addicted to alcohol than to methamphetamine.
Marijuana as Medicine
The DEA continues to promote the lie that marijuana has
no medicinal value:
"The scientific community has not approved marijuana as medicine."
"In conclusion, the available evidence from animal
and human studies indicates that cannabinoids can have a substantial
"Until a nonsmoked rapid-onset cannabinoid drug delivery system
becomes available, we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for
people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by
smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting."
According to a 2001 national survey of US physicians
conducted for the American Society of Addiction Medicine, nearly half of
all doctors with an opinion on the subject support legalizing marijuana
as a medicine. Moreover, no less than 80 state and national health care
organizations – including the American Public Health Association, The
American Nurses Association, and The New England Journal of Medicine –
support immediate, legal patient access to medical marijuana.
The FDA Contradicts The National Academy of Sciences
In the ongoing battle over the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the Food and Drug Administration has now shown that ideology can bend almost anything to its will.
Recently, the FDA claimed that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of
marijuana - flatly contradicting the above review by the National
Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine. Could FDA scientists be so far off as to come up with a completely incorrect reading of the medicinal value of
marijuana? Of course not. Right-wing politics have trumped science
End the War on Drugs
It's time to end this insane drug war and the only way
to do that is for everyone to work to change the drug laws. Get up off
of your couch and go to the window and yell, "I'm as mad as hell
and I'm not going to take it any more!"
Actually, a more effective approach is to educate every
person you come in contact with--and especially politicians--about the
ruinous nature of the war on drugs and the virtues of harm reduction vs.
If you need more convincing as to the need for direct
action, I urge you to visit www.deasucks.com
for information about how the war on drugs and specifically the DEA is
killing chronic pain patients by intimidating their doctors. Many
millions of people are in extreme pain every single day and they are not
able to get the medication they need. Many more people die from not
having the prescription pain medications they need, than die from the
drug abuse the government is trying to prevent. One of the major causes
of those deaths is the overuse and abuse of OTC NSAIDS like
acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) by people who are desperate for pain relief.
It can happen to you, or someone you know,
especially if you live in a rural area, so please do something right
away. Why not today? We need to slow the pendulum's rightward swing down
quite a bit before we can even start trying to make it go the other
direction. It's not hopeless, but it's not going to happen unless
everyone starts pulling their weight.