PDA

View Full Version : US giving up the "war on drugs"?


Maxinquaye
01-17-2010, 11:18 PM
The Independent is full of thoughtful articles today.

Here's one that claims that the US is giving up (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-waves-white-flag-in-disastrous-war-on-drugs-1870218.html) its war on drugs.

After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born – amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal. US agents are being pulled from South America; Washington is putting its narcotics policy under review, and a newly confident region is no longer prepared to swallow its fatal Prohibition error. Indeed, after the expenditure of billions of dollars and the violent deaths of tens of thousands of people, a suitable epitaph for America's longest "war" may well be the plan, in Bolivia, for every family to be given the right to grow coca in its own backyard.

I would be pleased if that was so, but I don't know enough about it to make a judgement about it.

Don
01-17-2010, 11:40 PM
I'd like to think it may be true, but the investment in the drug war is stupendous, and the constituency is huge. Militarized police forces and thousands of new jail cells per year will hardly be needed for traffic offenders.

Maxinquaye
01-18-2010, 12:00 AM
Police are using controversial car-surveillance technology aimed at catching criminals and terrorists to target members of the public in order to meet government performance targets and raise revenue, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

That's what happens when you tell the police to go arrest more people (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-laughing-policemen-inaccurate-data-boosts-arrest-rate-1870416.html). They will do so...

I don't think the US war on drugs is any different.

clintl
01-18-2010, 12:11 AM
Well, one piece of encouraging news on this front is that a California Assembly subcommittee this week voted in favor a bill to put the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana on the California ballot as an initiative. It's not going any farther at the moment because the legislative session is ending, but it's a first step.

Slushie
01-19-2010, 08:14 AM
That's good news. Just like with gay marriage, it's the states that are taking the initiative on this issue, while the feds squabble. Last time I checked, fifteen states have decriminalized weed. Unfortunately, my state isn't one of them. But it's good to see that the DEA could possibly be on it's way out; this will take a long time. As Don pointed out, there's a lot of money in the correctional system and those interests won't go away quietly. Still, we're moving in the right direction.

blacbird
01-19-2010, 08:48 AM
I get the sense that a lot of people here, on all points of the political spectrum, share a significant degree of general agreement on this issue.

Now, go listen to what the Pat Robertsons and John Hagees and James Dobsons and Ted Haggards have to say about it. Not to mention that bastion of purity about the abuse of illegal drugs, Rush Limbaugh.

Then you'll understand another of the major obstacles to be overcome.

caw

AryaT92
01-19-2010, 08:59 AM
http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs011.snc3/11865_1376584374455_1227212143_31935208_2088403_n. jpg

benbradley
01-19-2010, 09:28 AM
Reducing the spending on trying to stop the overseas production of drugs is good, as that seems to be a very futile part of the War On Drugs.

But other parts are quite profitable for local and federal law enforcement, such as the forfeiture laws. Anyone found with large sums of money on their person or in their car gets the money (and probably the car too) confiscated with the reasoning that the only reason someone would have large amounts of cash is to use for drug dealing. Groups such as the ACLU have complained that this is an egregious rights violation, much like aspects of the more recent Patriot Act. I can see where this sort of thing could still go on, as harder drugs continue to be "highly" illegal. Confiscation of property, especially when it is only suspected to have a connection with illegal drugs, is a "profit center" for law enforcement that they may be reluctant to give up.

SPMiller
01-19-2010, 12:48 PM
While I was a kid, my hometown liked to take cars stolen--I mean, confiscated from so-called dealers and rebrand them for service as cop cars. These cars often had text painted on their sides proclaiming them as such, plus some lame slogan like "deal drugs, lose your car".

LOG
01-19-2010, 06:44 PM
http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs011.snc3/11865_1376584374455_1227212143_31935208_2088403_n. jpg
Hmmmmmmmm.

Roger J Carlson
01-19-2010, 08:03 PM
Not to mention that bastion of purity about the abuse of illegal drugs, Rush Limbaugh.Perhaps my memory is faulty, but when did Rush abuse illegal drugs?

Sarpedon
01-19-2010, 08:08 PM
And forgive my ignorance, but why does the drug monster have an alligator clip head? I'm reminded of Bender abusing electricity on Futurama.

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 08:15 PM
Perhaps my memory is faulty, but when did Rush abuse illegal drugs?


A few years ago...his housekeeper was hooking up him up with oxycontin, then the cops nabbed him and he went to rehab. As I recall.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/28/national/main1561324.shtml

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 08:16 PM
And forgive my ignorance, but why does the drug monster have an alligator clip head? I'm reminded of Bender abusing electricity on Futurama.

roach clip?

Sarpedon
01-19-2010, 08:19 PM
Oh. I guess that shows how boring I am.

AryaT92
01-19-2010, 08:23 PM
If you're referring to the roach of a blunt, does anyone use that clip??? If not, nevermind.

Roger J Carlson
01-19-2010, 08:27 PM
A few years ago...his housekeeper was hooking up him up with oxycontin, then the cops nabbed him and he went to rehab. As I recall.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/28/national/main1561324.shtmlI don't see anything in that article about illegal drugs.

Celia Cyanide
01-19-2010, 08:31 PM
If you're referring to the roach of a blunt, does anyone use that clip??? If not, nevermind.

Some people do, yes.

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 08:47 PM
I don't see anything in that article about illegal drugs.

If it's not your prescription, oxycontin is illegal.

CheekyWench
01-19-2010, 08:58 PM
If it's not your prescription, oxycontin is illegal.
Yep. If you're caught with it and don't have a bottle with your name on it, you'll most likely go to jail.

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 08:59 PM
If you're referring to the roach of a blunt, does anyone use that clip??? If not, nevermind.

Not everyone smokes blunts. Not a big fan, myself. But, regular joints, sure, lots of people use clips to keep fom burning their fingers as they pass it about or hold it. Or, um, so I'm told.

Roger J Carlson
01-19-2010, 09:01 PM
If it's not your prescription, oxycontin is illegal.No, it's the illegal use of a drug, not the use of an illegal drug. I'm not just picking nits here. In the context of this thread about the War on Drugs and legalizing illegal drugs like marijuana, the difference is important.

Legalized marijuana is still illegal to use without a prescription. And yet we are talking here about "legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana".

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 09:09 PM
No, it's the illegal use of a drug, not the use of an illegal drug. I'm not just picking nits here. In the context of this thread about the War on Drugs and legalizing illegal drugs like marijuana, the difference is important.

Legalized marijuana is still illegal to use without a prescription. And yet we are talking here about "legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana".

You're still missing something, I think. If you do not have a prescription for a prescription narcotic, it is just as illegal for you to have as crack, or heroin. So, it's exactly the same as having medical marijuana without a prescription. So, yeah, Rush was arrested for illegal drugs. I'm not seeing the difference you seem to be seing. Maybe, I'm dense today (yeah, that's it, just today:))

Roger J Carlson
01-19-2010, 09:44 PM
You're still missing something, I think. If you do not have a prescription for a prescription narcotic, it is just as illegal for you to have as crack, or heroin. So, it's exactly the same as having medical marijuana without a prescription. So, yeah, Rush was arrested for illegal drugs. I'm not seeing the difference you seem to be seing. Maybe, I'm dense today (yeah, that's it, just today:))Okay, let me try again.

Alcohol is a legal drug, and yet it is illegal to use it if you are under the age of 21. If a minor uses alcohol, that does not make it an illegal drug. Again, in the context of this thread, if that were so, "legalizing marijuana" would not be legalizing it at all, as long as there are some controls on it.

And in Rush's case, he wasn't arrested for "illegal drugs". The charge was "fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions". That doesn't make it okay, but it is far different from being arrested for possession of illegal drugs.

SPMiller
01-19-2010, 09:47 PM
Very few people in the US and Canada use clips.

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 09:49 PM
Very few people in the US and Canada use clips.

I know quite a few people that do. Most prefer bongs to joints anyway.

SPMiller
01-19-2010, 09:51 PM
I know none (zero) who do out of all those smokers I know who live in Texas, California, Oregon, Minnesota, and Manitoba.

Diana Hignutt
01-19-2010, 10:02 PM
I know none (zero) who do out of all those smokers I know who live in Texas, California, Oregon, Minnesota, and Manitoba.

Maybe it's an East Coast thing?

Don
01-19-2010, 10:24 PM
Very few people in the US and Canada use clips.
Locking hemostats are much more popular than electrical alligator clips.


Or so I've heard.

benbradley
01-19-2010, 10:26 PM
Okay, let me try again.

Alcohol is a legal drug, and yet it is illegal to use it if you are under the age of 21. If a minor uses alcohol, that does not make it an illegal drug. Again, in the context of this thread, if that were so, "legalizing marijuana" would not be legalizing it at all, as long as there are some controls on it.

And in Rush's case, he wasn't arrested for "illegal drugs". The charge was "fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions". That doesn't make it okay, but it is far different from being arrested for possession of illegal drugs.
He ended up in a 28-day spin-dry for drug abuse, likely on the strong recommendation of an attorney or judge. So the exact charge may not have been "possession of illegal narcotics" but those who get or attempt to get "class 3" or whatever-they-are prescription drugs are for the most part treated just like heroin users, and are seen as at best a half-step above them. Especially in treatment centers, "a drug is a drug is a drug." Yes, it paints everyone with the same "addict" brush, and no, it's not fair, but that one aspect of both the War On Drugs and the "A&D" alcohol-and-drug 12-step-based treatment industry.

In fact, while the legal consequences of someone under 21 possessing alcohol are far lesser than getting a medically unjustified prescription for a highly controlled substance, parents are likely to be told that alcohol posession by someone under 21 is a symptom of alcoholism, and get a strong sales pitch for the very same 28-day treatment program that a teen heroin user would go through. "A drug is a drug is a drug, and alcohol is a drug." (slogan of Narcotics Anonymous)

Don
01-19-2010, 10:41 PM
I would really like for one person who supports the war on drugs to tell me how it can be made to work.

We have the lesson of alcohol prohibition. We have the lesson of the last 35 years of a failed drug war, with more drugs available on the street today than 35 years ago when the DEA was founded. We have anecdotal evidence that it's easier for kids to get marijuana than alcohol.

Short of scorching the earth and putting everyone in jail, the war on drugs is doomed to fail, and has always been doomed to fail.

So can someone please tell me how it can be made to succeed, if we're to continue it indefinately?

SPMiller
01-19-2010, 10:45 PM
The so-called war on drugs cannot work, and I think that deep down, proponents of the program know that. However, they probably also believe the situation would be worse without the prohibitions. It's difficult to test that belief without eliminating those prohibitions.

benbradley
01-19-2010, 10:47 PM
More to the point of the OP, I just heard this story on the changing status of the WOD on the public radio show "Here and Now."

Drug Official Calls for Treating Addiction like Chronic Illness
http://www.hereandnow.org/

This mentions the Obama Administration's de-emphasis on law enforcement and a stronger emphasis on drug treatment to attack the drug problem. I forget if that was a campaign promise, but Obama might actually do this one.

Amazingly, he agreed that current treatment methods (specifically month-long in-patient 12-step-based treatment) have a very high failure rate (and unlike most, he wasn't blaming the patients/former patients for not doing what they're told to do). He said a continued, long-term treatment program is much more effective. I got the impression this would not be 12-step-based (which I think is good, I'm very strongly against 12-step and I've got t-shirts and bronze medallions to qualify for my opinion), but a continuous "maintenance" treatment program seems as ominous to me.

This could be a boom for the A&D treatment industry - instead of in-patient treatment a month at a time (for however many times over a lifetime a person or insurance company can afford it or is willing to pay), treatment becomes continuous over a lifetime.

Don
01-19-2010, 10:47 PM
SP, that argument always reminds me of the Marxist theory of the elephant gun. Groucho, not Karl. :ROFL:

Roger J Carlson
01-19-2010, 11:10 PM
SP, that argument always reminds me of the Marxist theory of the elephant gun. Groucho, not Karl. :ROFL:Which one?

Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I'll never know.-------Groucho Marx

or

"And this is my elephant gun!"
"It shoots elephants?"
"Why, yes, it does!"
"How do you get them into the chamber?"

Slushie
01-19-2010, 11:39 PM
I know none (zero) who do out of all those smokers I know who live in Texas, California, Oregon, Minnesota, and Manitoba.

Me neither. Once the joint/blunt burns down, then it goes into the one-hitter. Works perfectly. But I have seen a clip and the one in the cartoon seems a little thick, like it would be used for holding tin-foil rather than a joint.

Don
01-19-2010, 11:50 PM
"This gun protects us from elephants."

"There are no elephants here!"

"See, it's working."

cethklein
01-21-2010, 07:15 AM
The war on drugs has failed because law enforcement has taken the easy way out. Instead of putting more effort into going after the root of the problem, like cartels, they spend most of their resources nabbing people with less than an ounce of marijuana. And hell they can't even hold them that long on such charges. But they do it. Why? Because it's easy and it makes it look like they;re doing something.

Of course I'll never subscribe to the "just legalize all drugs since people will do it anyway" idea. Would people who support this also support legalizing speeding? After all, people do it anyway. I'll wager the answer is no. I'm all for legalizing pot (with strict controls). But not other drugs. I've seen what meth and heroin do to people. No sane person would ever want that shi to be legal. It's terrible. And it can hurt mroe than jsut the end user. I posted an article awhile back on this forum about contamination from meth labs. Some argued that if we legalize it, people won't make it at home and thus innocents won't be contaminated. Having worked with meth addicts I can tell you this is resoundingly false. They'd likely make it even more at home. Meth users like meth because they can make it themselves. They don't have the embarrassment of buying it and potentially being caught either by police or those they know. Most users have serious mental and emotional issues (often but not always caused BY meth). These aren't the kinds of people who will jsut go to a legal meth store to get it. They'll still either make it themselves or get it from people they know well. They don't WANT the outside world to know they use it in most cases.

That being said, pot is a less potent drug and used under controlled circumstances would be no more (and possibly much less) dangerous on a national scale than alcohol. We need to focus on the big fish not some idiot with a dime bag. The war on drugs hasn't failed. The people fighting it have.

Slushie
01-21-2010, 09:29 AM
Okay, here we go.
The war on drugs has failed because law enforcement has taken the easy way out. Instead of putting more effort into going after the root of the problem, like cartels, they spend most of their resources nabbing people with less than an ounce of marijuana.
Wrong. Here (http://www.justice.gov/dea/programs/progs.htm) is the DEA's Programs And Operations Chart. Note money laundering, OCDETF, operations pipeline and convoy, and southwest border initiative. Click their links to see what they do specifically. The DEA does have the operational infrastructure in place to combat the cartels and they do make large-scale busts. Still, this doesn't damage the cartels' ability to get their products to the consumers. Actually, the DEA isn't even involved with arresting people with less than an ounce of weed; that is reserved for local law enforcement. When it come to the low levels of the drug heirarchy (the consumers and small time dealers) the DEA focuses on prevention and education, not seizure.

Of course I'll never subscribe to the "just legalize all drugs since people will do it anyway" idea. Would people who support this also support legalizing speeding? After all, people do it anyway. I'll wager the answer is no. <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> I've heard that analogy before. It's overused, generic, and simplistic; it's a one-size-fits-all counter point to anything that stresses individual choice.



And you're using a weak counter-argument to make you're point seem stronger. The real counter-argument to you're point is that it's not about "everyone does it"; it's a cost/benefit analysis. The current amount of money the federal government is spending on the drug war has not been yielding comparable results. In 1998, the DEA received a little more than $1 billion (http://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/enforce/border/dea_1.html); in 2009 they received $2.2 billion (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/rewrite/budget/fy2009/justice.html). Now, I know our currency has inflated, but not by that much. Even if adjusted for real dollars, the funding has increased over the past decade. Has violent drug-related crime reduced on a consistent trend? Are there fewer drugs entering this country? Are there fewer drug-related arrests being made? These are metrics the drug war should be measured by, and by these counts these answer to all of the above is: no.



I'm all for legalizing pot (with strict controls). But not other drugs. I've seen what meth and heroin do to people. No sane person would ever want that shi to be legal. It's terrible. And it can hurt mroe than jsut the end user. I posted an article awhile back on this forum about contamination from meth labs. Some argued that if we legalize it, people won't make it at home and thus innocents won't be contaminated. Having worked with meth addicts I can tell you this is resoundingly false. They'd likely make it even more at home. Meth users like meth because they can make it themselves. <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> &n</style>I don't know how you reconcile “resoundingly false” and “likely” in the same point. And meth users like meth because it's meth. I don't know who you've been dealing with, but the notion that meth is primarily home brewed is a myth; the drug is incredibly difficult to make. I would tell you to google it, but I'm sure the feds are monitoring those sites; I don't recommend researching it.

Methamphtamine trafficking trends (DEA website). (http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/meth.html#6)
Pulled from the link: Transportation of methamphetamine from Mexico appears to be increasing, as evidenced by increasing seizures along the U.S.-Mexico border. The amount of methamphetamine seized at or between U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry (POEs) increased more than 75 percent overall from 2002 (1,129.8 kg), to 2003 (1,733.1 kg), and 2004 (1,984.6 kg).

The sharp increase in methamphetamine seizures at or between U.S.-Mexico border POEs most likely reflects increased methamphetamine production in Mexico since 2002. Mexican DTOs and criminal groups are the primary transporters of Mexico-produced methamphetamine to the United States. They use POEs primarily in Arizona and southern Texas as entry points to smuggle methamphetamine into the country from Mexico. Previously, California POEs were the primary entry points used by these Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) and criminal groups; however, increasing methamphetamine production in the interior of Mexico has resulted in Mexican DTOs and criminal groups shifting some smuggling routes eastward. Methamphetamine transportation from Mexico to the United States by these DTOs and criminal groups is likely to increase further in the near term as production in Mexico-based methamphetamine laboratories continues to increase in order to offset declines in domestic production/End link

#


They don't have the embarrassment of buying it and potentially being caught either by police or those they know. Most users have serious mental and emotional issues (often but not always caused BY meth). These aren't the kinds of people who will jsut go to a legal meth store to get it. They'll still either make it themselves or get it from people they know well. They don't WANT the outside world to know they use it in most cases. <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> Again, I don't know who you've been dealing with, but the behavior you're describing just doesn't vibe with what I've experienced. Embarrassed? No. A true addict won't give a shit, as long as they can get their drug the cheapest and fastest way possible. And addicts tend to filter (or be filtered by) people in their life who don't live a similar lifestyle. So I just don't see social embarrassment as an issue here.


But this thread of the argument is getting tricky to back up. It's using the case-by-case problems of each individual addict as a spring-board for you're (and my) points. But here's where this thread benefits my argument: this is a public health issues, not a criminal issue. By you're own admission, addicts can be victims of mental disorders. Whether it is from the drug or not is irrelevant; the point is that these are health problems that should be addressed in a hospital, not a prison. Under the current drug war, these people will not get the help they need.



That being said, pot is a less potent drug and used under controlled circumstances would be no more (and possibly much less) dangerous on a national scale than alcohol. We need to focus on the big fish not some idiot with a dime bag. The war on drugs hasn't failed. The people fighting it have.The war on drugs has failed; prohibition has failed. The current war continues to exacerbate the problems of violence in urban areas, and fills our correctional system with non-violent "criminals". Again, drug addiction is a public health issue and should not be treated as a crime.

Roger J Carlson
01-21-2010, 04:58 PM
The war on drugs has failed; prohibition has failed. The current war continues to exacerbate the problems of violence in urban areas, and fills our correctional system with non-violent "criminals". Again, drug addiction is a public health issue and should not be treated as a crime.My problem with treating drug addiction as a public health issues is that the public will be expected to pay for it. So where is personal responsibility? If anyone is free to use whatever drugs they wish, they should also be required to pay the consequences. If the public is required to pay for it, the public should have a say in its use. I believe that's the current argument for restrictions on smoking in public places and cigarette taxes. If it's a viable argument for cigarettes, how much more for dangerous drug use?

Now I'm not heartless. I believe society has a responsibility to help people in trouble if they cannot help themselves. But I also believe it has the responsibility to regulate the circumstances under which those people get into trouble.

Don
01-21-2010, 05:40 PM
But Roger, we're already paying for the drug problem now. We're paying for increased militarization of our domestic police forces, military operations in foreign countries, housing the largest incarcerated population in the world (%-wise), and a tremendous load on our justice system. There are also massive unintended costs; a justice system so busy with malum prohibitum they do a crappy job on malum in se, for one example. Children shot dead on the street in drug wars, for another. Gangs made rich and powerful simply because of a black market created by legislation have to be near the top of the list as well.

I'm a heartless SOB who considers most hard drug cases proof of evolution in action. But even I won't argue against treating the drug problem as a health issue rather than as a war. And I'd never claim that overall costs are going to go UP if we make that change in policy.

If society has a responsibility to regulate circumstances, wouldn't it be wiser to direct that regulation toward treatment and education than toward open warfare in the streets?

SPMiller
01-21-2010, 06:39 PM
I suppose Don handled that one better than I could, but I do want to point out that a more permissive approach to the social apparatus could incur greater costs than a restrictive one. I don't know enough about the particulars to say, either way, what would be fiscally superior. But I do know that more freedom is better than less freedom, in general.

Celia Cyanide
01-21-2010, 06:52 PM
I'm not really bothered about which is more expensive, but I do think it is more effective to emphasize treatment over incarceration for non-violent drug offenders.

Roger J Carlson
01-21-2010, 07:14 PM
I suppose Don handled that one better than I could, but I do want to point out that a more permissive approach to the social apparatus could incur greater costs than a restrictive one. I don't know enough about the particulars to say, either way, what would be fiscally superior. But I do know that more freedom is better than less freedom, in general.Legalization does not equal freedom. Cigarettes are legal, but smokers have less freedom than anytime in our history.

clintl
01-21-2010, 10:08 PM
My problem with treating drug addiction as a public health issues is that the public will be expected to pay for it. So where is personal responsibility? If anyone is free to use whatever drugs they wish, they should also be required to pay the consequences. If the public is required to pay for it, the public should have a say in its use. I believe that's the current argument for restrictions on smoking in public places and cigarette taxes. If it's a viable argument for cigarettes, how much more for dangerous drug use?

Now I'm not heartless. I believe society has a responsibility to help people in trouble if they cannot help themselves. But I also believe it has the responsibility to regulate the circumstances under which those people get into trouble.

I'd rather pay for treatment than pay for prisons. There's no guarantee, but there is a chance of a good outcome. There is very little chance of a good outcome with prison. And the treatment progams could be funded with taxes on the drugs. I think it would end up costing us a lot less than it costs us now.

clintl
01-21-2010, 10:10 PM
Legalization does not equal freedom. Cigarettes are legal, but smokers have less freedom than anytime in our history.

True. But there are good reasons for it. Smoking harms the people in the immediate vicinity of the smoker. And I would want to see similar limitations on where you could use drugs legally.

Celia Cyanide
01-21-2010, 11:22 PM
Legalization does not equal freedom. Cigarettes are legal, but smokers have less freedom than anytime in our history.

We'd have less freedom if it were illegal, though.

Romantic Heretic
01-21-2010, 11:24 PM
I hope they make tobacco illegal. The profits to made are huge! :ROFL: