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to the insane War on Drugs


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The War on Drugs is a ravenous, destructive machine that is laying waste to freedom, justice and fairness in America. 

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 seizures; 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 way.

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:
http://www.justthinktwice.com/factfiction/

"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
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html
"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 counts."

"...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 1933."

"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 speakeasies."

"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.

Methamphetamine

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 first prohibited. 

These three statements come from a DEA propaganda site aimed at teens:
http://www.meth-is-death.com/

"95% of those who try Meth "just one time" get hooked for life"
"95% of those who are hooked on meth became hooked after the first time"
"99 percent of first-time meth users are hooked after the first try"

So the claim is that 95-99% of first-time meth users are hooked for life. 
Which is correct?
Answer: None of the above.

National Crime Prevention Council: America's Methamphetamine Problem
http://128.121.17.146/ncpc/ncpc/?pg=5882-2006-11324-8774

"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:

http://www.justthinktwice.com/factfiction/MarijuanaisMedicine.cfm
"The scientific community has not approved marijuana as medicine."

Nonsense. 

National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine: The Medical Value of Marijuana
http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/marimed/ch4.html

"In conclusion, the available evidence from animal and human studies indicates that cannabinoids can have a substantial analgesic effect."
"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 once again.

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. law enforcement. 

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. 



Read More Essays Against the War on Drugs 

 

 


 

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