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War on Drugs: Are We Winning?

By the coose in News
Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 02:49:59 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

So far this year, the combined federal and state money spent on this so-called War on Drugs is over 20 billion. Drug arrests are expected to exceed 1.55 million, the number of arrests in 1998. Couple that with the many lives ruined by the drug warrior-zealots and you have to ask yourself, "Are we winning the War on Drugs?"


More accurately, the question should be, "Is the War on Drugs really worth it?" The number of opinions vary greatly. Personally I think that way too much money is being spent on something that was tried 80 years; namely prohibition. The War on Drugs, started by Nixon in 1971, is no different than prohibition. If it ever ends, we'll be worse off than when we started it. Heck, we already are. Why should we continue to allow the government to use our tax dollars to finance a lost cause?

Perhaps we should consider The Heidelberg Declaration. First presented in 1996, it presents, in clear language, what is basically wrong with the War on Drugs.

But if you listen to the politicians there seems to be no rational end in sight. Even retired US Army Major Joseph Miranda comments:

And so the war on drugs will become a cancer upon the nation, sapping its liberties and its integrity. Perhaps, then, the real question is, how can the war on drugs be brought to an end?

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War on Drugs: Are We Winning? | 73 comments (73 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
but also.... (2.07 / 13) (#1)
by thelaw on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 12:21:53 AM EST

one thing that always gets overlooked by proponents of drug legalization is all the countless lives ruined by addiction to illegal drugs. geez, we have enough people addicted to alcohol, for crying out loud, do we need to make it LEGAL for people to ruin their and their families lives? the very nature of narcotics makes moderation close to impossible, since the drugs rely on heavy psychological effects for their work.

if i had my way, we'd ban alcohol, but that's pretty much impossible given that it's the drug of choice for most people. (which, incidentally, is the reason prohibition failed.)

all in all, we have too much dependence on chemicals for our fun. people have fun by getting buzzed on alcohol, marijuana, prozac... it's all part of the same affliction: people don't want to face life without the comfort of their drugs, so they imbibe, inhale, hit up, whatever.

happily chemical free,
jon

Re: but also.... (4.50 / 6) (#4)
by mebreathing on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 01:46:29 AM EST

I can ruin my life if I want to.

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (4.40 / 5) (#5)
by puppet10 on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 01:57:13 AM EST

I don't know, I'm against ruining lives through the use of chemicals. However shouldn't this be part of a free society, the freedom to ruin yourself? The "war" on drugs has been used (along with protecting the children and sexual harrassment investigtions) to slowly push back the accepted rules of gathering evidence to a point where it is very easy for the police/federal agents to invade people's private spaces and seize their property with very little evidence supporting them. Additionally I fail to see how forcibly detaining people (jailing) who's main crime is using a self destructive substance is somewhat antithetical to the basic idea of a free society.

Basically there are always going to be people who feel the need to try to mask their problems by relying on quick fixes like drugs. The way we deal with alchol and tobacco use is more in line with the idea of freedom. The only times the use of these substances is controlled is when it impacts others in a negative way (e.g. drunk driving) even though they can be and are often self destructive behavior.

The way to deal with the abuse of substances can be attacked two ways, one by trying to limit supply and segregate those who use the substance, or two try to limit demand and help those who feel the need to be self destructive and only make illegal acts which harm others directly.

The fisrt way hasn't seemed to work, so maybe we need to try the second. This doesn't mean drug use must be legalized, just that we decriminalize the use and provide an environment which helps those who want to stop their self destructive behavior quit.

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by analog on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 02:42:36 PM EST

all in all, we have too much dependence on chemicals for our fun. people have fun by getting buzzed on alcohol, marijuana, prozac... it's all part of the same affliction: people don't want to face life without the comfort of their drugs, so they imbibe, inhale, hit up, whatever.

Too true; however, you're really missing the point by thinking the solution is to outlaw those substances. The only solution that has any chance of actually working is to find out why these people need chemical help to make their lives bearable/enjoyable, and fix that. Of course, a large component of this country would rather throw people in prison than take the time to find out why their lives suck, so that's not a terribly popular option.

Drugs are not a legal problem, they are a social problem; until the authorities approach them as such, things will never really get better.

[ Parent ]

Re: but also.... (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by KnightStalker on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 11:08:46 PM EST

Every "crime" is a social problem. Murder, stealing, rape, etc. can all be curtailed (mostly) if we fix the root social problems pushing people to do them. That said, I'm also against the criminalization of drugs, but on the basis that it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights if I were to use them.

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by aphrael on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 02:59:05 PM EST

Is it better to throw someone in jail for fucking their life up (given that jails are *not* good at reforming people and typically leave them less skilled and able to function than before they went in) and pay taxes to support them (given that most drug users can hold down day jobs, especially when they are clean) or to treat them and help them overcome their addiction? Which is more cost-effective? Which is more humane?

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by tsunake on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:15:28 PM EST

While you may disagree with what other people do, it's not your place to tell them what they can and can't do.

You and I can remain chemical free if we choose to, but that doesn't mean that everyone else should too. America was founded on freedom, something that has unfortunately been forgotten. I almost feel like it's time for a revolution, or at least something to remind everyone what freedom encompasses (and especially what it doesn't). What I do on my own time, in my own home or wherever (excepting private property), is no one's business, unless it will cause them harm. That also covers pornography and religion.

-tsunake

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Lord Bytor on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:20:02 PM EST

People already have the choice to ruin their lives in many ways, getting into bad relationships, being in careers they hate, neglecting their health etc... the government doesn't go around putting theses people in jail and it shouldn't. If I don't have the option to fail then my success means nothing.

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by crayz on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:28:22 PM EST

Even assuming that you or anyone else has the right to tell me how I must live my life...how does locking someone up in a prison improve their quality of life? It would be like trying to stop an bulemic by taking away all her food.

Actually though, none of that matters, because you don't have the right to tell me or anyone else how to live their lives.

Why is it acceptable for the majority to force the minority to conform? As long as drug users aren't causing direct harm to others, why not just leave them alone, and offer help to them if they want it? Why do you have any more right to tell me I can't do drugs than I have a right to tell you that you can't collect stamps. I feel stamp collecting is for people who don't want to face life without stamps. Stamp collecting is unproductive and wrong. So starting today all stamp collecting is banned. Anyone caught collecting stamps will be sentenced to ten years in a federal prison, to live with rapists and murders, in the hopes that they will be rehabilitated.

[ Parent ]
Re: but also.... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by swc on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:18:50 PM EST

one thing that always gets overlooked by proponents of prohibition is all the countless lives ruined by the senseless "war on drugs". geez, we had a big enough problem with alcohol prohibition, for crying out loud, do we need to throw recreational/occasional drug users in jail with idiotic manditory minimum sentancing guidelines and ruin their and their families lives? the very nature of prohibition makes it's success close to impossible, since it requires the eradication of all liberties guranteed by the constitiution before the government can effectively control the lives of the entire population.

if i had my way, i'd legalize all drugs since most people don't want corrupt politicians telling them what drugs they can and can't do (which, incidentally, is the reason prohibition failed.)

all in all, we have too much dependence on the government to enforce our own morals on our fellow countrymen...it's all part of the same affliction: people want to see their own moral choices validated as being superior by passing laws to throw those who disagree with them in jail.

happily smoking a phatty,
sean

[ Parent ]
Dejavu? (4.50 / 2) (#41)
by pangmaster on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:25:05 PM EST

"if i had my way, we'd ban alcohol"

Have you learned nothing from history? This didn't work before. Why would it work now?

What I want to know is, why do we need to ban any of these so-called "bad" substances? Why not just educate everyone as to why we shouldn't choose to use them? I am still clinging to the tiny thread of belief that the United States is a free country.

Unfortunately many of us willingly give up our freedoms because we trust that the politicians, police officers and other authorities are telling us the truth. It's only because of our own ignorance and indifference that this is happening.
--
I don't do Windows...
[ Parent ]

Re: but also.... (none / 0) (#126)
by Pig Hogger on Mon Sep 18, 2000 at 03:48:18 PM EST

one thing that always gets overlooked by proponents of alcohol legalization is all the countless lives ruined by addiction to alcohol. geez, we have enough people addicted to sugar, for crying out loud, do we need to make it LEGAL for people to ruin their and their families lives? the very nature of alcohol makes moderation close to impossible, since alcohol relies on heavy psychological effects for it's work.

if i had my way, we'd ban sugar, but that's pretty much impossible given that it's the drug of choice for most people. (which, incidentally, is the reason drug prohibition will fail.)

all in all, we have too much dependence on chemicals for our fun. people have fun by getting buzzed on alcohol, marijuana, prozac... it's all part of the same affliction: people don't want to face life without the comfort of altohol, so they imbibe, inhale, hit up, whatever.

happily fun free,
pig
--

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot
[ Parent ]

Re: but also.... (none / 0) (#129)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:49:18 AM EST

"people don't want to face life without the comfort of their drugs" I don't get it - why do you care? I applaud your decision to not use alchohol or other drugs, but why would you want to force this decision on others? You mention that drugs ruin lives - I would opine that the DRUG LAWS ruin those lives. Either by making the drug murderously (and artificialy) expensive, or by outlawing something that should be a moral decision. You seem to epitomize what I call "American Prudessness" - we seem to be ashamed to feel good - whether with drugs or sex, unless it's with our duly wedded spouse, and then by-golly only missionary for me!!! I think if we legalized drugs, thereby dropping the price of them in a BIG way, and using the money saved (and earned through taxing the previously outlawed drug) to treat the cause (both social and economic) instead of hard-headedly fighting the symptom, we'd all be better off.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Why a war? (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by Maclir on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 01:11:20 AM EST

Clearly, treating drugs as a war, and as a criminal problem, has not worked. Treat it as a health problem.

All the "war on drugs" has achieved is to have made even greater profits for the kingpins.

opium, marijuana, crack...gimme a break (4.00 / 6) (#3)
by Simian on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 01:21:07 AM EST

It doesn't work. It was never meant to work. The "War on Drugs" has for the last hundred years been the wedge of last resort that politicians have used against the less powerful.

Opium was villified and eventually banned because of its association with the Chinese immigrants working on the West Coast. Marijuana laws targeted itinerant Mexican farm labor, because that's what a lot of them did to relax after 12 hours of hard work picking American crops. The name was actually made up by a 'drug crusader' to sound...you know...'Hispanic' Before it became politically profitable to call it marijuana, it was just plain ol hemp. I think it's clear that the same forces are at work in the ridiculous disparity of mandatory minimums for 'regular cocaine' and that 'ghetto drug' crack.

Speaking of crack, I don't even want to go into the hypocrisy involved in the U.S.'s stance on drugs. I get too upset. I refer (reefer?:-)) the interested reader to Alexander Cockburn's book "White Out" (written with someone else whose name escapes me) for a detailed rundown of U.S. malfeasance and the press' willingness to whitewash said hypocrisy.

Who was it that said (approximately) there's no faster way to undermine the respect for law than to pass unenforceable ones? I think it should be extended to read, "except perhaps to actually attempt their enforcement.

In short, the war on drugs is a smoke screen thrown up by those who have power to keep it. It's not about whether drugs are good or bad for you--it's about who has the right to decide what is good or bad for you.

jb


"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." Abraham Lincoln

Bullshit...my first hand experience with crack (1.66 / 3) (#60)
by Carnage4Life on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 09:49:12 PM EST

Speaking of crack, I don't even want to go into the hypocrisy involved in the U.S.'s stance on drugs. I get too upset. I refer (reefer?:-)) the interested reader to Alexander Cockburn's book "White Out" (written with someone else whose name escapes me) for a detailed rundown of U.S. malfeasance and the press' willingness to whitewash said hypocrisy.

I am constantly incensed whenever people try to balance a wrong with another wrong. I grew up hearing that two wrongs do not make a right yet everyday in my adult life I see and hear people who resort to such childish arguments. people complain that white people get of lighter than black people for drug offences and their solution is to let everyone get off lightly instead of tightening the laws and enforcing them properly.


I have lived in a neighborhood that had 5 crackhouses. I've been woken up from sleep by crackheads who wanted to sell me air conditioners and house hold furniture for crack money, I have been atacked by a crack head with a bat because I refused to share my six pack on my way back from the corner store, I have been harassed by nasty toothless crackheads asking if I want to get my dick sucked as I walked to the bus stop, I've seen a known HIV infected male engage in promiscous sex with crackheads to their knowledge and then seen this same crackheads jumping in people's cars to mess with them for money, my exx-roomate was slashed in the chest with a razor by a crackhead, and the list goes on.

Thankfully, I've moved and I'll never go back there.


PS: Just because in your idyllic suburban, gated communities the druggies you see are the cool cats who smoke a little reefer doesn't mean that all drugs are suddenly harmless and should be allowed to flow unchecked into society.

[ Parent ]
Re: Bullshit...my first hand experience with crack (none / 0) (#113)
by Simian on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 11:33:33 PM EST

Hmm. Although I am always honored to be the jumping off point of someone's self-expression, I don't see what you wrote has to do with my post. I wasn't advocating the legalization of crack. I was pointing out that crack was imported into the United States by Contra-backers with the knowledge and approval of the CIA. That's right, the same government you're evidently trusting to solve the problem, started the problem.

I'm sorry you grew up around crack. I've dealt with enough crack-heads to be grateful I didn't. (Don't make too many assumptions on the web. It's stupid.) But the answer to the crack epidemic isn't to finance Columbian death-squads.

I'm glad you at least admit that smoking a little reefer is harmless. ;)

Of course two wrongs don't make a right. That's why government ain't gonna get us out of this one. They've got too much riding on it.

jb




"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." Abraham Lincoln
[ Parent ]
Take a second to think (4.37 / 8) (#7)
by 3than on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 02:54:35 PM EST

You can say that many lives have been ruined by drugs, certainly.
But if you take a look at those lives which have been "ruined by drugs," you'll see some other things: most of those lives were also 'ruined' by socioeconomic circumstances. And what is it to be 'ruined' by drugs? Does that mean that you don't have a job, and thus aren't helping major corporations make money, both as a worker and a consumer? Maybe. Or does it mean that you were arrested and spend federal time because of harsh, selectively enforced drug laws? Does it mean that you became part of the industrial system which are known as prisons, where your addictions were cemented, and attached to violence? Does it mean that then, you were spit out of the system, to be 're-integrated into society,' which can be fairly difficult after prolonged, enforced separation? Or does it simply mean that your life is viewed perjoratively by the mass of TV-watching americans who have been made to understand that 'drugs are bad and will ruin your life?'
First, get rid of the bullshit moral stuff that's been tacked onto the drug problem. There is no moral issue here. It is not the business of the government to enforce morals--separation between church and state is one of the most important and positive aspects of our government. When the US gov't begins to enforce a moral agenda, be it that of a conservative few or a moderate many, very bad things happen: people become criminals because of other people's moral stances, not crimes.
When that's gone you start to see what the drug war really does. It allows the US gov't to deprecate certain populations. It allows them to routinely and systematically discriminate against people of lesser economic status, and different cultural status. It allows African-Americans to be stopped for no legal reason, and, as has happened recently in NYC, it allows people to be killed during these events of routine, racially inspired police persecution.
The so-called War on Drugs is, in fact, the greatest tool of the U.S. for the enforcement of racism and economic oppression. It is a tool which keeps our prisons full of workers, who get paid far less than minimum wage and cannot leave: they are slaves, not criminals. The United States did not outlaw slavery; they institutionalized it. And without the 'War on Drugs,' which is a bane to all involved, from the taxpayers and citizens who cede their rights and money without complaint to those who really pay, with loss of life or liberty, American Slavery, preserved for four hundred years, would die.
Many people with many dollars do not want this to happen, and we pay every day for their crimes, the real crimes, to continue.

Re: Take a second to think (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by omidk on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:16:49 PM EST

The problem with this theory is that it treats the US government as a faceless body. The US GOVERNMENT is made up of people. To be able to say that moral's have no effect on government is ridiculous. Im sure if you would like to look at the US gov as the machine then you can pretend that its not run by christian values. I find these X-file style conspiracy theories about these sort of issues ridiculous. Its almost as if people forget about how stupid people can pass stupid laws based on their fucked up morals. Instead it is more fun to come up with a twisted science fiction version of the world to tell your buddies while you are smoking up.....been there done that.

[ Parent ]
Re: Take a second to think (4.00 / 1) (#114)
by KnightStalker on Wed Jul 26, 2000 at 12:35:18 AM EST

Im sure if you would like to look at the US gov as the machine then you can pretend that its not run by christian values

If xtian fundamentalists were any more impressed with the federal gov as a whole than any other freedom-loving demographic, that statement would carry a lot more weight. But no, they hate it probably more than anyone else. The fact is, the government is run by fascists, not fundies. Some of them are fundies.

And by the way, there is no such thing as "christian values"... you'd need a very wide brush to paint the Catholics with the Methodists with the Calvinists with the Kenneth Hagin crowd with Billy Bob's Church of Rattlesnake Handling (and all the other weird sects) in one stroke. :-)

[ Parent ]

A story from the frontlines... (4.00 / 6) (#11)
by octos on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:23:03 PM EST

This happened almost a year ago, but is a good example of many of the things that are wrong with the war on drugs.

Me, my wife Stacy, and her brother Rick were driving home to Austin after visiting their mom in Bryan, TX. We had had a little weed that weekend, but none that day (and never when driving) and I was pulled over for speeding by DPS, the state police. I was doing about 10 mph over the limit in my Integra GS-R, a car that definately looks out of place in rural Texas. I cooperated with the officer as I would in any traffic stop and all seemed fine until the cop deciced that she smelled marijuana.

I'll give away a bit of the story right now-- Someone gets arrested. The stop was valid, but the discovery of the weed was a pure act af "profiling" and a violatian of my rights by a corrupt police officer. Let me describe myself. I have long hair down to my waist, a gotee, and small glasses. I'm 24 years old and I was in a nice car.

Anyway, the cop claimed to smell MJ. Nothing has ever been smoked in my car. Not cigarrettes and never weed. We hadn't smoked anything that day, so our clothes were clean and our breaths minty. There was weed in the car. There was less than an eighth of an ounce in a 35mm film canister in a make-up bag in a suitcase in the trunk of my car. I'd like to know how any human could smell that while standing outside of a car.

Naturally, I refused to let them search the car, but they have a judge sitting around 24/7 that will grant leagal warrants to any cop that asks for one. With a warrant somewhere in the court system, they called for a dog and backup.

At this point, 3 Texas state troopers are occupied with searching for a miniscule amount of pot and detaining a 24 year old computer geek, my wife, a 32 year old government employee, and a 31 year old insurance agent. None of us has ever had an arrest or done anything worse than a traffic ticket. Acording to the propaganda, we are the worst scum of society.

The dog indicated that there was pot in the passenger-side door and one of the rear wheels before indicating that there was something in the trunk. THe cops egerly searched the contents and found the booty-- The weed, a pipe, and a hair accessory that uses an aligator clip that was dubbed a roach clip (why we'd need a roach wen we have a pipe and no papers is beyond me).

Fortuneately, it was in my wife's suitcase and the cop had to arrest Stacy instead of me. She seemed very dissapointed that she didn't get me. I'll spare you the part about my wife going through the jailing process.

I say fortuneately (and my wife agrees) that it was her is because she got better treatment and sentancing than I would have. People that look like me avoid rural areas for a reason. The court was tied up for an hour or so while Stacy pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possesion of paraphanalia. That got her a $250 fine. The misdemeanor psossesion of enough pot to maybe get a mouse high consisted of the following:

  • $750 fine
  • 50 hours community service
  • Enrollment in a "drugs are bad" class
  • One year probation
This was her first offence. She's white and middle class. Minorities get worse sentancing.

What's the point of the story? The corruption of the cops is a good lesson. The loss of constitutional protections is another. How about the loss of resources spent making the bust? I'm sure there were some drunk drivers who passed by us that could have been caught. The courts were burdened and I doubt that the money made from fines covers the cost of processing all the paperwork. If Stacy is good and does all that life-disrupting work, it won't go on her record, but if it did, an experienced, degreed, member of society may have become unemployable.

I got stoned last night. I'm at work today and I'm doing fine.

Re: A story from the frontlines... (none / 0) (#24)
by potatono on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:19:54 PM EST

>The misdemeanor psossesion of enough pot to maybe get
>a mouse high consisted of the following:

C'mon now, an 1/8th will get several people high.

Bogus deal tho. The southwest states have crazy drug laws, stems/seeds=felony. Stay away. Don't you think it's rediculous what people will go through just to make sure you can't have that 1/8th that you have anyway.

[ Parent ]

The good and the bad (2.67 / 3) (#12)
by nuntius on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:27:05 PM EST

This is quitea touchy issue.

On the one hand, drugs do ruin lives. On the other, people are going to get them if they can (and want to) regardless of laws.

Anti-drug laws don't seem to serve their purpose for several reasons:
  • They punish those who are suffering from the addiction by imprisoning users.
  • They do nothing to help people live without drugs.
  • As mentioned by others, they address the symptoms (drug use) instead of the problems (generally social)
  • They actually make life worse for the addicted who "have" to break laws to get their fix. Also, dealers can charge higher rates because drugs are hard to get.
However, these laws are "required" because:
  • Our society can not and should not condone people's lives being ruined by drugs.
  • Drug users do steal to support their addiction and increase crime.
  • Legalizing drugs would appear as the acceptance of their use.
  • Enforcing these laws requires the government to prevent people from doing what they want to--to themselves no less.
  • In effect, the laws only drive the drug culture deeper undergroung--not eliminating it but instead strengthening illegal foundations (like the guerrillas in Columbia).

So what are we to do? On the one hand, our society can't just stand by and watch drug traffic increase. On the other, the government is ineffective in solving the problem.

The solution? This problem requires us to take another look at the problem. We must break out of our current (ineffective) solution paradigm. The state is not meant to meddle in people's private affairs. Just as the military was not designed for civilian rule, the government's the wrong tool for the job. Privacy problems are just the surface of why it doesn't work. See China and Russia for case studies on other reasons. So what institution do we have which is designed to minister to the people? The church.

I'm serious. If you feed men's souls, their craving will be satisfied. In a stable, beneficial way. I think a lot of our nation's problem can be traced to hollow souls. Gates wouldn't have such a craving for money. Clinton wouldn't do anything to be popular. When their soul is satisfied, a people loose a lot of their craving for excess. This includes the highs provided by drugs.

This war won't be won when by the government's "winning" the war on drugs, nor by our legalizing drugs. These are hollow answers to the surface of the problem. Drugs, crime, rape, hate--these will only be won when people's souls no longer crave such things.

Don't bother telling me this is idealistic. It is--but its a lot more practical than fixing the engine by giving the car a new paint job. :-)


P.S. I was inaccurate in an earlier post where I said that Solomon caused the Kingdom of Israel to split by listening to his peers instead of the counsil of the elders. Yes, Solomon was responsible for the split, but Rehoboam his son was the one who listened to his peers. Oops. :-)

Re: The good and the bad (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by analog on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:47:15 PM EST

Umm, I dunno about Gates, but Bill Clinton is a devout Baptist. If you'd care to check it out (probably not, huh?) a quick look through the news of the last year alone will come up with a long list of religious officials that have been caught engaging in all sorts of activities religion is supposed to prevent. One of our biggest 'vices' in this country is considered to be gambling; most religions preach against it. Yet our gambling mecca (Las Vegas) was built with financing that came primarily from that paragon of Christian virtue, the Mormon church (but somehow the Jews always get the credit/blame; go figure).

Before you (correctly) point out that these things don't mean religion is bad or useless, keep in mind that you presented it as the final answer to these types of problems. It is not. Marx had it right; for many people, religion is every bit as much a drug as cocaine and marijuana, and can cause just as much damage. It may be a part of the solution for some people, but it is by no means a panacea.

[ Parent ]

Re: The good and the bad (none / 0) (#36)
by nuntius on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:56:35 PM EST

I agree with your point. Now let me extend on it. Religion is nothing.

Yes.

Religion is nothing.

It is the salvation for which Christianity was truly founded. Not the religion. Unfortunately, all can claim to be Christian--whether or not they are in their heart. Being Baptist or Mormon does not make one a godly person. The outside does not always reflect the heart.

Also remember, Christ, Peter, Paul, and the rest--these people were Jews. Not even Christians by definition. :-)

[ Parent ]
Re: The good and the bad (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:59:22 PM EST

I didn't see your earlier post about Solomon, but it's kind of strangely appropriate his name should come up. Solomon was praised by generations for his "wisdom" and specifically for building the Temple. In the midst of several strains of chronicles and one contibuter to the text reveals that Solomon enslaved 1/3 of the United Kingdom--the resident minortities (something-ites and whatzit-ites) and regular Hebrew people from the Northern tribes. Building the Temple--a politically unifying project--is cited as a reason for the massive abuse of conscript labor. SO which Kingdom split away after he died? Uh-huh!

We are causing a similar internal division in our country by enforcing laws that ride heavily on the poor and racial minorities in this country. We can all agree that drugs like cocaine and heroin are incredibly destructive, but our collective project to punish their users and sellers "war on drugs" has done little but perpetuate itself, and meanwhile the consequences are piling up in prisons and neighborhoods. Like Solomon's heirs, we will pay for this "wisdom" and "justice" that brings us together with a greater burden of sadness and destruction later on.

[ Parent ]

Hell yes, we're winning... (5.00 / 5) (#14)
by analog on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:28:37 PM EST

The war on drugs has been enormously successful. Of course, before you realize this, you must realize that the point of the war on drugs isn't to end drug use; it's to legitimize government activity that would otherwise never be allowed. Before asking if we're winning or losing, you must first ask what we're fighting for.

An example: until recently in (IIRC) Oakland, California, it was possible for the local police to impound a vehicle that belonged to someone suspected of buying drugs, and sell said vehicle at auction without trial. In some cases, driving certain types of cars in certain neighborhoods was enough to be considered to be buying drugs (why else would you be there?). This was recently ended by the California Supreme Court, but it went on for over a year.

Anybody who has taken a high school class in civics or government will realize that this activity was blatantly unconstitutional, so why was it allowed to happen? Because drug use has been demonized in the social conciousness, so people are scared to death to speak up about abuses commited in the name of the 'drug war'. Anyone who does so will immediately be accused of advocating the widespread use of illegal drugs, and any chance they have of being heard quashed as far as is possible.

Relate this to the recent tendency of congress to declare new (and unconstitutional) restrictions on freedom of speech (among others) to be 'to protect the children', and I believe you'll see a pattern emerging. Against censorship? Well then, you must be a pedophile. Why else would you be against something that's 'for the children'?

I have two school age children (the oldest will be in fourth grade next year). They both attend a school that has a very aggressive 'anti-drug' program. They are regularly required to attend assemblies and other activities whose basic message is "don't do drugs". What I find amazing about it is that not only are they never told why they shouldn't do them (I take care of this myself), but discussing drugs in this school is grounds for suspension.

I have to ask myself what the point of this excercise is; to help my children avoid the problems drug use can lead to, or to indoctrinate them into doing what they're told by the 'authorities' without question, and without thought. Call me a cynic, but I'm fairly certain I know which it is.

The 'war on drugs' (in the USA at least) is nothing of the sort; it's a war on the Constitution, and on the American people. Look at it that way, and I think it's clear that it is indeed being won.

Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#22)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:16:34 PM EST

analog: If you see this, please contact me directly at djbonghit@smokedot.org... I'd like permission to reprint your comment on my site.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#23)
by Icculus on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:18:50 PM EST

AFAIK, many states consider anti-drug programs psychotherapy, and as such, they (the school) are required to get permission from you for your children to attend.

[ Parent ]
Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#27)
by analog on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:58:38 PM EST

While the school doesn't need my permission to have the kids attend these assemblies, I can opt them out if I want. I don't bother because it's an excellent opportunity to start some discussions at home. I fill in some reasoning as to why drug use can be a bad thing, but I also ask them questions about what they are and aren't being told.

It's rather gratifying to see a nine year old's eyes light up when he realizes he's being led around by the nose, even if it is for a (nominally) good cause. Nothing I could ever say to my kids could so powerfully teach them the lesson that they should never blindly accept what they're being told, no matter who's saying it.

[ Parent ]

Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by FlinkDelDinky on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:36:13 PM EST

I tend to agree with you. The drug war has been used to erode our rights and freedoms by expanding the role and powers of local and federal law enforcers.

I think two things need to be done (socially) in regards to law.
1. Decriminalize drugs (talk more about this later)
2. Decriminalize prostitution (with consenting adults of course)

Legalizing drugs is actually more far reaching that it at first appears. Most people are thinking about pot or coke. But there are all kinds of drugs out there that really will mess up most people with regular use like speed and ice. Then there's huffing, definately not a good think to be sniffing glue or gassoline vapors on a regular basis.

Still, you own your body and being libertarian I tend to think as long as the damage doesn't extend beyond your body you're free to fuck yourself up. Commit a crime and 'I was high cause smoked some ice for fun and lost my mind so I'm not guilty' isn't (or shouldn't) matter for anything.

What about perscription medication? I think it should also be freely available as well but there's some dangerous caca there and darwin will definitely be culling the herd on that one.

One more thing that's popped in to my head is food additives. Here is were I definately want some regulations. I'm not to keen on having little Johnny drink 'original coca-cola'.

Still, I'm for decriminalization of drugs. But unlike most, I don't expect it to solve societies drug problems. I merely expect the governments attack on our freedoms to have a (temporary) lull.

[ Parent ]

Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#46)
by aphrael on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:40:47 PM EST

I think it should also be freely available as well but there's some dangerous caca there and darwin will definitely be culling the herd on that one.

Antibiotics should, however, be tightly regulated --- not because people can fuck up themselves with them, but because improper use of them will seriously undermine their effectiveness for *other* people.

[ Parent ]

Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#54)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:37:41 PM EST

Antibiotics should, however, be tightly regulated --- not because people can fuck up themselves with them, but because improper use of them will seriously undermine their effectiveness for *other* people.

True. Antibiotic misuse is an example of something you do to your own body which actually does have a negative impact on other people, and as such should be regulated. Most drug use, however, doesn't harm other people, and should not be illegal (I'm all for government regulation of sale though. I'd be perfectly happy if you'd be able to buy weed at liquor stores if you're over 21, even though I'm only 18.)

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: Hell yes, we're winning... (none / 0) (#48)
by analog on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:51:28 PM EST

Well, after a little poking around brought on by the request from our friend DJBongHit above, I find that I have my court cases mixed up. The case I'm remembering was apparently a different property seizure case.

As relates to Oakland, just yesterday a three judge panel upheld the law that allows the police to seize and sell your car if you're suspected of buying drugs; note that you don't have to be charged for this to happen.

All in all, I'd say that if you've got business in Oakland, you should probably take BART.

[ Parent ]

We? (5.00 / 3) (#16)
by nutate on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 03:56:58 PM EST

Since before college, I've always been interested in fighting against the drug war. Why? Because, it's a waste of money, waste of lives (millions incarcerated), inherently an extension of slavery and jim crowe laws through < $1 a day prison labor... etc. etc. I firmly believe the arguments against the drug war are as solid as they were when Pres. Carter nearly succeeded in decriminalizing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana before a cocaine scandal in his upper echelon of hirees brought the plan down in a ball of right-wing rhetorical flame.

The subject of this post "We?" refers to the fact that the <u>majority</u> of americans have smoked marijuana. What if they had all been arrested on that first incident? Then who would be in control? Tyrrany of the majority may have been feared by d'tocqueville, but in the case of the drug war, the vocal minority has been the tyrant.

So, what have I done about it? Well, for another semester, I will be the president of Columbia University Students for Sensible Drug Policy which is a chapter of the national Students for Sensible Drug Policy that has New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on its board of directors. They work with DRCNet, the november coalition, families against manditory minimums, the american civil liberties union, the lindesmith center, the national organization for the reform of marijuana laws and numerous others to try and help put the power of law enforcement and the laws themselves back in the hands of the majority.

To those of you who don't do drugs for personal, legal, religious reasons or otherwise, good for you. But understand that spending billions of dollars fighting 'the drug war' in the u.s., colombia and other south american countries does not improve your standard of living... in fact it does the opposite by disallowing youth their education and allowing economics (read <u>law enforced and black market violence</u>) to control the drug supply instead of rational distribution systems.

Sorry for the run on sentences... not enough coffee... which I hope those of you trying to conserve our current state of affairs know was outlawed by the ottoman empire in the 16th century only increasing it's popularity.

fighting Big Tobacco (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by wildmage on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:00:26 PM EST

While we're on the subject of drugs, has anybody noticed all the anti-smoking ads lately? Their references to "Big Tobacco" and tobacco executives loosing their homes because they're evil, are really starting to get on my nerves.

Sure, the tobacco companies fucked up and they need a spanking, but I'm really appalled at the way the public is being manipulated. There's no facts in these ads, just propaganda to make you feel good about burying the tobacco companies.

Here's a good propaganda site for anti-smoking.

I'm not a smoker, and I won't be one. However I am vehemently opposed to all these taxes, and new laws and limitations that keep happening. Sure, these people are addicted. But I think its your right to be addicted. People are trying to pass laws to limit smoking in private establishments. In PRIVATE establishments. What the hell?

Wildmage


-------------
Jacob Everist
Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
Near-Earth Asteroid Mining

Re: fighting Big Tobacco (none / 0) (#42)
by theFish on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:28:34 PM EST

Y'know those ads cheese me off, how come nobody is
on the liquor industries case?

Also, I haven't seen anybody mention that many prisons
in the US are in fact not run by the government, but contracted
out to _publicly_held_ corporations.
The War on Mino^H^H^H^Drugs keeps a lot of correctional officers working.

[ Parent ]
Conspiracy mode (none / 0) (#47)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:47:11 PM EST

While I'm at it... Does anybody think it's worth noting
that the sons of former CIA director Geo H Bush
are governors of Fla and Tx, the 2 states where the majority of illegal drugs enter the US?

Coincidence, I know...

Okay, I'm gonna go wait for my IRS audit now.
Conspiracy mode off

[ Parent ]
(4.00 / 1) (#19)
by 4gapa on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:07:34 PM EST

I disagree. Not all politicians are head-up-the-ass when it comes to the War on Drugs. Check out what my own Governor, the honorable Gary Johnson of New Mexico has to say.

I suppose this is the result of electing an intelligent business man instead of a career politician.

Fighting Ourselves (none / 0) (#20)
by Zach Garner on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:11:13 PM EST

Any "War" on a subgroup of society is inherently wrong. We essentially are declaring war (metaphorical or not) on ourselves. This is not a war that can be won.

A war against people of a certain religion, race, or sexual preferance would be as just (ok, so race and probably sexual preference is genetic... but religion isnt).

Re: Fighting Ourselves (none / 0) (#40)
by urgle on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:17:33 PM EST

Yeah, right!

So a "war" on murderers would be just as 'inherently' wrong as a "war" on religion according to you? Both murderers and religious people are what they are by their own choice.

Freedom of religion is one thing, freedom to murder someone is another, and freedom to sell/use drugs a third. You cannot just make sweeping statements like that.

[ Parent ]

Re: Fighting Ourselves (none / 0) (#44)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:32:51 PM EST

So a "war" on murderers would be just as 'inherently' wrong as a "war" on religion according to you? Both murderers and religious people are what they are by their own choice.

That's different - I've said it time and time again, and I still don't understand how people can compare drug users to murderers. Using drugs does not in any way infringe on the rights of others, while murdering somebody does. People should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Defining a "problem" (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:15:36 PM EST

There are a lot of people who say "if you are not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." This is a vacuous noise made by those who have too little grounding in logic. Allowing the government to define the "problem" of drugs AND the "solution" has made the things done about it inevitable: massive waste, frenetic passage of laws covering other agendas, and not much change in the level of misery - though we could argue the misery gets spread around more.

Why is there so little definition of the "problem"? Is the "problem" that too many people use drugs? [How many is too many and why do you care?] Is it that -other- people are having fun? [Get a life.] Is it that people =should= be buying shampoo, salted snacks and deodorant with the drug money?

Roughly fifty years ago H.L. Mencken pointed out that some "problems" don't have solutions, while others have solutions that are worse than the problems. At the time, he was speaking about prohibition (of alcohol) and some sex problem that he didn't define. His advice: "Try to forget about them."

If you asked a US politician "What is the purpose of the War on Drugs?" and insisted he answer, what would be the result? A statement like "To make the consumption of Drug X decrease"? Why should the consumption of Drug X decrease?

As soon as the US government is made to meaningfully answer why the money is spent, the indefensibility of the whole program will be self-evident.

Re: Defining a "problem" (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by driptray on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 09:02:53 PM EST

Is it that -other- people are having fun?

I think you've hit on one of the main elements underlying drug warrior thinking, which is that drug use is some kind of a shortcut to pleasure which is unearned and illegitimate. If people can simply turn on and have fun they will have no incentive to get up and go to work at their boring job, and no incentive to save for a rainy day, invest in the future, and all those boring things etc etc. Drug use thus becomes a moral issue, and signifies the split between responsible citizenship and irresponsible hedonism.

If you live a boring life of responsibility you'll find it very confronting to think that others are simply having fun now - it brings into question your whole way of living. Well, to hell with confronting your own choices, its much easier to just demonise and criminalise drug users.

Why should the consumption of Drug X decrease?

There is no reason unless unless you see the use of Drug X as not only morally wrong, but a direct affront to your own conception of the right way to live.

I'll end with some history. In the decades after the American civil war, addiction to morphine/heroin was at all time high, estimated to be 6% of the American population. This was in part due to many injured soldiers having become addicted when given morphine for pain relief of their war wounds. Yet this massively high rate of addiction (compared to today) was not seen as much of a problem, certainly not a criminal problem or even a moral problem. To the extent that it was seen as a problem at all, it was simply a medical problem.

Similarly, in the first decades of the 20th century, heroin addiction was much more common than today, however the profile of the average addict was very different - middle-class, middle-age housewives, who bought their heroin from pharmacies. Again it wasn't a criminal or moral problem, perhaps viewed in a similar way to the way we now view middle-aged housewives who have become addicted to prescription tranquilisers. The demand for criminalisation of heroin came about only when heroin use spread from the respectable female middle classes to blacks.

Can't let them lazy blacks sit around stoned all day - gotta make sure they work!
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Get Uncle Alan on the case (none / 0) (#26)
by madams on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 04:49:06 PM EST

One way to convince the US government to legalize (drugs w/ or wo/ regulation) is to have Alan Greenspan tell Congress how much the GDP will increase if we take money spent on drugs into account.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

us gov: lighten up. (2.50 / 2) (#28)
by ar0n on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:07:40 PM EST

I live in one of the most liberal countries in Europe (when it comes to drugs & stuff). I, like any other 16 year-old (or 15 for that matter) can go out and get a joint in any coffeeshop for about 10 bucks. I can go out and get a beer at the grocery store any time I feel like it. But I don't. Out of the 100 people my age at school, perhaps 8 do a joint a on a regular basis, while the others (me including) haven't ever even touched one. Why? Because I, and many others of equal intelligence, see no reason to "dumb ourselves down". Why would you use a drug that inhibits intelligence, and renders you about as responsive and intelligent as a potato? What's the use in seeing a pink elephant in a yellow tutu calculating the 3853rd digit of Pi if it's not really there? Then again, I haven't tried it, so I'm not really one to judge.

As for the War on Drugs, alcohol is according to a scientific (yes, scientific) article worse than cannabis, in all ways. Ethanol destroys braincells, causes liver-damage and is more intoxicating than cannabis.

And while all these witch-hunts after marijuana continue, a Budweiser commercial with frogs singing about the last legal destructive drug is showing every fifteen minutes on your idiot-box.

sigh...

err... (none / 0) (#29)
by ar0n on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:08:36 PM EST

I forgot my point, sorry.


[ Parent ]
Re: us gov: lighten up. (none / 0) (#59)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 09:34:04 PM EST

Why would you use a drug that inhibits intelligence, and renders you about as responsive and intelligent as a potato? What's the use in seeing a pink elephant in a yellow tutu calculating the 3853rd digit of Pi if it's not really there?

All you're doing with this statement is spreading misconceptions about pot. Pot doesn't make you see pink elephants doing anything. The strongest hallucinations pot will give you is color shifts or, perhaps if you've done acid or mushrooms recently, patterns shifting around. And acid or mushrooms will not give you that type of hallucination either.

Not to mention the fact that marijuana does not make you stupid, as is commonly thought. Nor does it cause you to be "About as responsive and intelligent as a potato." I do my best thinking and work when I'm high (both 2D/3D Computer Generated Art and Programming). Marijuana, contrary to popular belief, is a thinking man's drug, along with acid and mushrooms. X, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol are not, and should not be lumped into the same category.

See this article on marijuana.com to debunk the rest of your misconceptions about pot.

Then again, I haven't tried it, so I'm not really one to judge.

So why do you judge, then?

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Hallucinations from Dope (was Re: us gov: lighten (none / 0) (#61)
by nekonoir on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 10:22:55 PM EST

Actually, I've personally had some pretty fscking wierd hallucinations on dope.

Like being at a party and seeing some people in wireframe but others were 'normally rendered'. Likewise when your vision lags reality by 3/4 sec, (think ala Fight Club pans & zooms) that can be pretty trippy.

I've never done mushies or acid so these are not flashbacks, but they are a hell of a lot more that color shifts (but definately not Pink elephants in tutus).

Then again, maybe I'm just damn wierd.


Evil Squid Man

[ Parent ]
Wire frame "people" (none / 0) (#130)
by imric on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:00:33 PM EST

Are you sure it was a (fnord) hallucination?
Paranoia Is a Survival Trait!
[ Parent ]
Keeps drugs away from SUV drivers! (1.00 / 1) (#32)
by omidk on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:20:53 PM EST

sure the poor will use drugs no matter what but if you legalize soccer mom SUV driving motherfuckers will start using heroin and run us over with their TANK-cars. Nevermind. By the way, i just got back from amsterdam and im kinda mixed on how much freedom you want to give people. It was cool but im not sure if i would want to live there.

Re: Keeps drugs away from SUV drivers! (none / 0) (#33)
by octos on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:33:14 PM EST

"Tell me again about the hash bars."

[ Parent ]
Here in the Netherlands... (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by dim on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:37:55 PM EST

...there is no War on Drugs. Of course, the government tries to educate people as much as possible about the consequences of drug use, and it will penalize people who, through drug use, manufacture or trade, exhibit real criminal behaviour, such as violence and killing, etc.

The end-users of the drugs, however, do not normally get penalized or put in jail. This would not serve any purpose, except costing the state a lot of money. This money is better spent in helping people who want to quit using drugs, or educating people.

What the government is doing also, is getting marijuana growers to pay taxes. The tax service here doesn't care if growing might be illegal, they are only interested in turnover amounts. ;) This way, even the growers will contribute something to society (except hemp of course :)

The impression I'm getting from the WoD in the US is that it is some kind of movement within the government, which is simply trying to sustain itself indefinitely. There is a lot of money involved, and that is never a good thing. Too many people are dependent on this War, and they'll not give it up so easily. They make too much profit...

As an aside, I work in Amsterdam, and I don't even drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but I see lots and lots of enormously stoned US tourists every day. They really enjoy themselves, not because they never smoked anything, but because they can relax. No police officer will arrest you here, if you are smoking a joint on the street (as long as you aren't in the middle of road blocking the traffic of course :) ). Police people have better things to do, IMHO.


--
cat ~/.signature

Re: Here in the Netherlands... (none / 0) (#38)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:00:34 PM EST

...there is no War on Drugs. Of course, the government tries to educate people as much as possible about the consequences of drug use, and it will penalize people who, through drug use, manufacture or trade, exhibit real criminal behaviour, such as violence and killing, etc.

And that's exactly the way it should be.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Salon article (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by Simian on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:38:30 PM EST

For those of you who might've missed it, I recommend the recent Salon article on the subject of how women, guilty of nothing but bad taste in the men they date, have been punished for their boyfriends/husband's drug deals. Sometimes their sentences are longer even than the guy actually dealing!

clickit, clickit good

I would comment further, but it seems the vast majority of kuro5hinites agree with the evident wrongness of the War. I wouldn't want to get caught preaching to the choir ;)

jb




"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." Abraham Lincoln
Drugs are Baad, hmmkay? (4.25 / 4) (#37)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 05:58:52 PM EST

But seriously, there definitely is something good about outlawing certain drugs: If you look at the problems that addicted persons can create for the rest of society, maybe people should be protected against themselves and society against them: Here in the Netherlands in some cities junkies do cause a lot of trouble, due to begging, burglaries and robbing people for the needed money to fullfill their addiction. There are a lot of cities I don't feel safe in at light: catching my train to go home from Amsterdam at 4:00 at night does not make me happy. But controlling drug use and abuse can be done in various ways, but whether or not the american way of outlawing the substance entirely is the best one, I'm not sure. Any ideas anyone?

Re: Drugs are Baad, hmmkay? (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by dim on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:31:43 PM EST

There are always junkies who cause problems in some way or another. Merely by existing, they already piss some people off. ;-)

I think a good solution would be to just put them under surveillance of a normal doctor, who can prescribe their dope for them. There have been experiments with this approach in Switzerland, where heroin addicts could get their daily doses for free. Some of them abused this facility, which was to be expected, but most of them could stop stealing and cheating to get enough money for their addiction. For some of them, it has even been possible to get a reasonably stable life...

Some people who are addicted can be helped, either via normal medical help, acupuncture, alternative healing methods or whatever means they want to try. It should be a standard medical service to get help if you suffer from any addiction, because in most cases people aren't able to stop using on their own. Who can advise you better than your normal physician?

There are (alas) also some addicted people, who simply can't be helped much. They have become so dependent on their addiction, that without it, they'd be nothing. I think it's the most humane to arrange society in such a way that these people can keep using their dope, without causing problems for other people.


--
cat ~/.signature

[ Parent ]
It will NEVER end! (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by h0tr0d on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:06:41 PM EST

The biggest reason behind the war on drugs here in the US is that it gives the government reason to erode and take away our Constitutional rights. I have seen it happen many times and unfortuantely the general public is either too ignorant or naive to realize what's happenig. The government says, 'hey, we need to take away a few of the good citizen's rights in order to fight the war on drugs' and way too many people say ok. It's wrong no matter how you look at it. As one of our founding fathers put it (I think it was Ben Franklin) 'those who will give up freedom for the sake of security deserve neither.' I can't emphasize this enough. The war on drugs is but a poor and very expensive excuse to reduce the rights of the Amrtican people. If only there were an easy way to stop it (the government, that is).

-- It appears that my spleeing chucker isn't working again.

How the WoD got started (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 06:37:13 PM EST

For those of you who still believe that the government's War on Drugs was started for the common good of society, I encourage you to read an editorial that was written for my site. Here is part I and part II.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

Views of the Presidential Candidates (4.00 / 3) (#49)
by driph on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:00:34 PM EST

The insane thing is, I believe that most people are of the opinion that the war on drugs is a failure and a waste of resources. How the hell do we stop it?

Electing or voting for a presidential candidate and other politicians that oppose the War on Drugs would probably be a good start.

I'm following this post with several replies, each detailing the views of the major presidential candidates. I'll let it be said up front that I am voting for Harry Browne this election, his take on the War being just one of many factors contributing to my decision. However, I'll just be pulling quotes from Issues2000 and the official sites of each candidate, instead of spewing my own opinions.

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave

Al Gore (none / 0) (#51)
by driph on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:06:34 PM EST

Al Gore
[unable to find a specific page detailing his take on the War on Drugs on his Official Site.]
As President, Al Gore will commit the resources to fight crime and stem the flow and use of illegal drugs in rural areas, particularly drugs like methamphetamine having such a deadly impact in rural America. Al Gore will do everything he can to make Americaís rural families safer.
From Al Gore's Rural Anti-Crime Initiative.

Al Gore's agenda to propagate the War on Drugs includes:
CRACKING DOWN ON METHAMPHETAMINE

  • Double the number of High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) to create a greater degree of coordination and focus on drug problems within a rural geographic area. HIDTAs can assist in curtailing the growing use of drugs like Methamphetamine;
  • Increase funding for the Drug Enforcement Administrationís Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Teams to close down clandestine methamphetamine laboratories;
  • Add 100 new DEA agents, assigned to rural areas, to help intercept methampehtamine traffickers, and cut down key supply lines;
  • Provide training for local law enforcement officials in dismantling methamphetamine laboratories.

Also, Al Gore on Drugs, from Issues2000:

Science doesnít say medical marijuana is proper. (May 12)
Mandatory weekly drug testing for state prisoners & parolees. (May 3)
Drug treatment programs for every addict who wants one. (May 3)
Lead a national crusade against drugs. (May 2)
Loosen restrictions on medical marijuana. (Mar 5)
Tougher drug policies; fight drugs in Colombia. (Mar 5)
Did pot when young, like young people do. (Jan 24)
Decrease disparities in punishing crack vs. powder cocaine. (Nov 1999)
Drug efforts are beginning to pay off; we must do more. (Feb 1999)
Community disconnectedness is a source of drug problems. (Feb 1999)
Drug Control Strategy: More $, more enforcement, more TV ads. (Feb 1999)
After-school programs prevent most drug use. (Mar 1998)


--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]

George W Bush (none / 0) (#52)
by driph on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:16:04 PM EST

GW Bush
[unable to find a specific page detailing his take on the War on Drugs on his Official Site.]
Not only that, but it seems the issue of drug use is glaringly avoided on his web site. How odd. :]

Here's GW Bush on Drugs, from Issues2000:

  • Supports military package to Colombia to fight drug supply. (Mar 5)
  • Stronger penalties for first time cocaine possession. (Mar 5)
  • Identifies with former addicts based on former alcoholism. (Jan 22)
  • Full background checks on drug use for all appointees. (Aug 1999)
  • Parents make up for past by warning kids against drugs. (Aug 1999)
  • Supports tough drug laws as well as drug education programs. (Dec 1998)
  • Encourages abstinence from tobacco, drugs or alcohol. . (Dec 1998)


--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Harry Browne (none / 0) (#56)
by driph on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 08:00:11 PM EST

Harry Browne
[Harry Browne has a page detailing his take on the War on Drugs within his Official Site]
"I have never met anyone who thinks we're winning the Insane War on Drugs. Nor have I met anyone who believes we will ever win it."

From Harry Browne's stand on the War on Drugs:

"I want to end the War on Drugs -- which will take the criminal profit out of the drug trade and bring peace to our cities once again. I also want to end the tyranny that's been imposed in the name of a "drug free" America -- something that has never been and never will be. The federal government has no constitutional authority to prosecute any common crime -- not even murder, assault, or rape, let alone anything having to do with smoking, drinking, or drugs.

Today there are hundreds of thousands of people in prisons who have never committed violence against anyone, never stolen anything, never threatened anyone. They are there for the act of smoking a marijuana cigarette, or for selling some marijuana to their friends, or for using cocaine or selling it. Some of them are actually innocent, but they were convicted on the testimony of actual drug dealers who received reduced sentences in exchange for testifying against someone -- anyone will do.

Meanwhile, murderers, rapists, and child molesters are released early because the prisons are overflowing with drug prisoners.

On my first day in office I will pardon everyone who has been convicted of a non-violent federal drug offense. I will empty the federal prisons of the marijuana smokers, and make room for the truly violent criminals who are terrorizing our citizens. And I will make it possible for addicts to seek treatment without fear of criminal prosecution."

Also, Harry Browne on Drugs, from Issues2000:

  • We canít mandate an end to personal tragedies, like drugs. (Jul 6)
  • Let states decide drug laws, not feds. (Jul 6)
  • Drug War breaches 4th Amendment civil rights. (May 27)
  • Drug War makes streets a war zone. (Jan 27)
  • Decriminalize pot; end the war on drugs. (Jan 13)
  • Admits pot use; but itís none of your business. (Aug 1999)
  • Crime rate soared in 70s Drug War like in 30s Prohibition. (Aug 1999)
  • Replace costs of enforcement with costs of addiction. (Aug 1999)
  • Legalization removes the rebellious appeal of drugs. (Jul 1999)
  • Increased govt monitoring does nothing to reduce drug use. (Jul 1999)
  • Bank profiles aimed at drug dealers will fail. (Feb 1999)
  • Pardon non-violent drug offenders to free prison space. (May 1996)
  • Govt has no Constitutional authority to prohibit any drugs. (May 1996)
  • War on Drugs is a crusade against victimless crimes. (Jul 1995)
  • Marijuana is not unconditionally evil; allow medical use. (Jul 1995)
  • Truth is a casualty in the War on Drugs. (Jul 1995)


--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Ralph Nader (none / 0) (#57)
by driph on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 08:09:00 PM EST

Ralph Nader
[Nothing specific to War on Drugs on his Official Site, however, there is a writeup on the use of industrial hemp.

"I have already participated in a formal petition that challenges the DEA to take industrial hemp off of the proscribed list. The Resource Conservation Alliance monograph, Issues in Resource Conservation, powerfully presents the argument for allowing US farmers to grow industrial hemp."

Ralph Nader on Drugs, from Issues2000:

  • Remove industrial hemp from DEA drug list. (Jun 25)
  • Replace Drug War with treatment and alternative sentencing. (Jun 25)
  • Supports legalization of industrial hemp. (May 16)
  • Solution to addiction is information, not prohibition. (Oct 1994)


--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
It's also a real war now (first US war of 21st Cen (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:02:23 PM EST

There's growing evidence that this is no longer an incredibly brain-dead domestic "police action" (ambiguity intentional), but a real international armed conflict.

The action in Columbia is getting a *lot* hotter. Americans are dying, the Columbian guerrillas are making progress (remember, they're heavily funded under 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' philosophy), and Washington continues to treat this a no-lose political situation.

The fact that many of use are seeing echoes of the darkest aspects of Vietnam and Afghanistan (home-grown militias fighting an "imperialist" power, guerillas getting excellent funding from, ah, unusual sources because it's a proxy fight for something much bigger, wholescale trampling of civil liberties back home, and esp. the groupthink that "America: Love it or leave it" or "If you don't support DARE you have something to hide", etc.)

At least this time we don't need Agent Orange. Instead we have genetically engineered fungii that the US government is already demanding to dump on Columbian coco fields. Remember, this fungus only attacks coco plants, and will not harm the rest of the ecology. R-iii-g-h-t.

It'll be over (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:34:11 PM EST

If you simply look at the movies, it's apparent that changes are coming. Being John Malkovich, American Beauty, Jesus' son, Next Friday, Me, Myself & Irene, Something about Mary, Dogma, Scary Movie and so on. Movies affect our nation's judgements greatly. And most movies that mention weed treat it like something that is not a big deal. In Being John Malkovich, when the guy tells his wife: "I can't invite her, we have some tension going on.." She goes "Well, big deal, we'll smoke a joint, no tension." In Dogma, 2 positive heroes are potheads, in Next Friday it's portrayed very innocently. In Me, Myself& Irene, Irene asks with a surprise "what, is it a crime??" after the police finds some weed roaches in her appartment. Everybody laughs, but the feeling you get is "it's funny because it's true". But American Beauty really broke some new ground: one of the main heroes, and a positive character, is not only smoking pot, but is a devoted dealer.

I get an impression that at some point, an election will be won partly because one of the candidates will promise to legalize weed.

Re: It'll be over (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by DJBongHit on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 07:40:57 PM EST

But American Beauty really broke some new ground: one of the main heroes, and a positive character, is not only smoking pot, but is a devoted dealer.

Hmmmm... I wanted to see that movie, but I didn't know about that. Now I'll have to see it.

I get an impression that at some point, an election will be won partly because one of the candidates will promise to legalize weed.

Not for a long time. There are still tons of people out there who are completely misinformed about drug use, and think it's possible to become a marijuana addict and overdose and die. Just last night I was watching that stupid new show on Fox (Opposite Sex) and one of the characters said something like "I was stoned and I took off my panties and put my lipstick and keys in them because I thought they were my purse." Anybody who has smoked pot knows that you don't get that stoned, but for people who don't know that much about it, it just reinforces the negative views of pot.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: It'll be over (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by Simian on Wed Jul 26, 2000 at 02:33:23 AM EST

I'm sure Fox will be well-paid for its "anti-drug" message, as detailed in the Salon coverage of aforementioned scandal. Absolutely nauseating.

Part one of the article

And part two. There was more coverage, I believe.

jb




"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy." Abraham Lincoln
[ Parent ]
government regulation of morality (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by bmattern on Tue Jul 25, 2000 at 10:48:54 PM EST

Interesting comments made from both sides, although the kuro5hin community seems to be mainly on the humanitarian side (as am I). I am definately opposed to the War on Drugs. I have many friends who are avid pot smokers, and so far, although taking up a majority of their time, it has not ruined their lives any more than television has ruined the lives of the people who spend 8 hours a day glued to it's repetitive crap. But back to my subject. I myself am vegitarian. I am totally morally opposed to the killing of animals for nutrition that can be obtained elsewhere. BUT, do I think it should be OUTLAWED to eat meat? No. I think it is much more helpful to educate people on the harms of mass producing and eating animals. So although others are morally opposed to drug usage (as I am not) I don't think prohibition is an answer. Everyone's morals are different, and everyone should be able to express their moral views, but it is totally against the ideals of freedom and democracy to enforce your moral views on others. Peace.

Use of drugs = no NHS/Medicare? (5.00 / 2) (#127)
by qts on Mon Sep 18, 2000 at 04:24:19 PM EST

How about legalising all drugs, but mandating that that meant being ineligible for treatment on the NHS for non-emergency conditions - being charged for those which were drug-related?

Re: Use of drugs = no NHS/Medicare? (none / 0) (#128)
by dabadab on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:36:35 AM EST

Well, but then the same should apply to those who are smoking, drinking alcohol, drive cars, go to skiing, not keeping themselves in shapes ... basically all the people, because they do something risky. You know, most of the drugs really do not do much harm - most people use "light" drugs, most of which not even as harmful as whisky. NOT all durg-users are on crack/heroin/etc - it's a minority.
I think that the most important thing is to make difference between drugs. Marijuana and crack are not in the same league and we should realize it. We should even realize that alcohol IS a drug - and it is of the more dangerous type.
The other important thing is: drugs DO have positive effects. And think not of the dying junkie you always see in the media as "drug user" - think of normal people. Lots of them smoke pot - they just don't like to disclose this fact for obvious reasons.
--
Real life is overrated.
[ Parent ]
It's not hurting anyone (none / 0) (#131)
by reshippie on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:23:08 PM EST

I have tried pot a few times, didn't do much for me, but I've been told it wasn't great stuff. I have never been arrested, never even had a speeding ticket, but I have tried pot on seveal occasions, and this makes me a criminal who should be incarcerated.

WHY???? Laws are supposed to help, and protect people. There is no reason for the US (or any other) Government to protect me from myself. On my 21st birthday, they cannot stop me from attempting to drink an entire bottle of 151, which most likely would kill me. I'm not gonna do it, because I'm really getting used to to this whole living thing, but anyway.

Why is it that the government feels it's ok to protect us from ourselves in some ways, and not others. If they were at least consistent about how they wanted to run our lives, that would be one thing. They can't even do that, though.

Lots of people draw similarities between the prohibition of alcohol, and the prohibition of drugs. One of the major sources of alcohol during Prohibition was at Mob run speakeasies. Alcohol is a lot harder to make, than pot, it requires time, and labs and stuff. (I know "designer drugs" do too, but I'm on a roll) One of the things that the Mob is notorious for is bribing politicians and police officers, so that they can go about their business.
A lot of drug dealers, on the other hand, are either in gangs, which don't tend to have much political power, or (heaven forbid) are in business for themselves.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and that's my conclusion. If drug dealers had the political connections that bootleggers did, there would be no War on Drugs by now.

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

Why are you free to commit suicide.... (1.00 / 1) (#132)
by ooch on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 02:19:14 PM EST

...But are not free to do so by drugs? If I use drugs the only person I harm is myself. I could harm myself a lot more by killing myself. However doing drugs is illegal, and commiting suicide not.(Actually in the nineteenth century it was prohibited here in holland, and drugs were legal then:)

War on Drugs: Are We Winning? | 73 comments (73 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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