The War on Drugs – Who lost?

Our cities are full of druggies, our media is crammed with notices of young deaths, a segment of our youth are peddling drugs for easy money and parading around in flash gear and souped up cars, the crime rate soars as addicts seek money for a fix, the streets are littered with down an out homeless druggies and alkies, the prisons are packed to the gills with people on drug offences, our education system is undermined by stoned kids, huge amounts of money is flowing into the hands of dubious criminals to fund their activities, great swathes of our youth are having their education and prospects ruined, gangs flourish buoyed up on drug money, violent wars erupt, thousands are murdered down the line in producer countries, the drugs are full of poisons and impurities and cut with killer drugs, the quality and strength is dubious making it a shake of the dice each time, There are significant health risks from unknown drug strengths and impurities, a huge amount of police time is taken up with drug offences, double standards rule as upper class drug use is condoned, the problem is getting bigger by the day – isn’t it about time that the authorities admitted defeat? The war on drugs has been well and truly lost.

 

All the lies and propaganda over the decades only served to alienate youth. They saw it as lies and did not believe it. Who remembers stupid films like ‘Reefer Madness’? It created a youth rebellion.

 

If something is labelled dangerous then a group of kids have to prove they are up for it – they are big enough – they can handle it.

 

Prohibition only fuels use by promoting the allure and daring of it. It adds a mystique.

 

If only they had looked at drug use as a health issue and not a criminal one we would not have been in this mess.

 

I say decriminalise.

 

  1. Take profits out of the hands of criminals.
  2. Ensure the quality of drugs that are available.
  3. Give good health treatment to addicts.
  4. Take the mystique and ‘naughtiness’ out of the experience.
  5. Enable drugs to be taxed and use that money for health education and rehabilitation.
  6. Give accurate drugs information and not propaganda.
  7. Stop the puritanical imposition of prohibition.

 

Prohibition has increased drug use. When drugs are made legal then use actually goes down.

 

Drugs are not really the problem. Recreational drug use on a low level does not cause a great deal of harm. People are the problem. They cannot moderate their use. They take things to excess. They become addicted or use the drugs in poor settings – driving, operating machinery or trying to learn.

 

The Irony is that two of the most dangerous and addictive drugs are legal – nicotine and alcohol. Some other drugs have no place in any recreational scene. But criminalising their use is counterproductive.

 

I say decriminalise drug use and treat it as a health problem. The war on drugs is a total failure.

 

The war on drugs – who lost? We all did.

Comments

opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:41pm
I have taught drug education for 36 years. I've seen the effects drugs have had on my friends and in Rock Music. There are much better ways to deal with it. Driving it underground is the worst option IMO.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:00pm
Drugs are not really the problem
 
No. It's our way of life which is. The coldness of our societies.
Bill H. Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:13pm
Yep, we all lost!
The winners are the pharmaceutical companies who get Doctors to overprescribe opiates and various other addictive drugs.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:30pm
SEF - and the authoritarian approach - a puritanical knee-jerk.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:30pm
Bill - they always win.
Donna Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:59pm
opher- i agree, the war on drugs, is so over, and was done so incorrectly. Also agree that decriminalize is the way to go. A logical way, to go forward.
Bill H- yes and they continue to do so, with little repercussions. Sad how they came to push a Dr. to do something they should know better. But i have been told, the Dr's didn't know the addictive effects, they were lied to, by pharma..
SEF- right on!! 
Shane Laing Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:27pm
Quite right Opher, I've been saying this for years. Perhaps if the politicians thought of it another way i.e. taxes like with tobacco they might change their minds. There are also the medical benefits two old ladies I know smoke weed to take away the pain of their arthritis.  
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:31pm
Donna - so how do we get the message out there?
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:33pm
Shane - I think that the beneficial effects of drugs have been lost in a black and white portrayal. It's been a propaganda that the kids have rejected. They now don't believe anything we tell them.
Lady Sekhmetnakt Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:45pm
Don't lie to your kids and you won't have that problem. My parents never lied to me, and although I don't trust the lying government, I trust my parents. I plan to raise my children the same way. I knew about the dangers of drugs like heroin and crack. Always avoided them. But likewise I know marijuana is essentially harmless for adults. Alcohol and tobacco are poison, etc. I believe the information I got from my parents and from valid medical research, but certainly not the propaganda lies from the government and big Pharma. 
Shane Laing Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:49pm
Did we believe adults when we were young? Nope we rebelled as well so its not really a surprise.  I must admit I would rather have weed being sold over the counter rather than kids buying legal highs made from god knows what. We really must legalise.
Dino Manalis Added Sep 7, 2017 - 5:37pm
We've all lost and people are addicted to prescription and non-prescription medicine and narcotics.  There needs to be a differentiation between treating users and punish traffickers.  It's complex, but Nancy Reagan was right, just say no, if you know what's good for you.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:21pm
Jenifer - I only wish other parents had the same attitude and knowledge.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:23pm
Shane - if it was legal then drugs would have quality and dosage control. Many deaths are from impurities or adulteration or overdoses due to changes in strength.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:25pm
Dino - but many young people simply do not say no and they do not believe the propaganda. I believe we have to take drugs out of the hands of criminals and remove the allure.
Bill H. Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:36pm
I use edible medical cannabis, which has allowed me to eliminate both a pill for high blood pressure and a sleeping pill. It also seems to have  been responsible for reversing my thyroid condition, as my doctor cut my thyroid medication in half and mentioned that "It is very rare to see thyroid conditions reverse, but I have been seeing quite a few lately for some reason". He has no idea that I use cannabis.
This is the main reason why you will find the pharma industry constantly lobbying against state's efforts to legalize cannabis.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:44pm
Bill - that is interesting. Cannabis, if used moderately, certainly does have some medicinal uses. The trouble is that it has been used to extreme and excessively in which case it is not good. The newer versions of Skunk have a misbalance between THC and cannabinol which creates psychological problems in some.
Why don't you tell your doctor about your use?
Jeff Michka Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:18pm
The war on drugs is over and "we" lost as usual.  We need more programs like DARE: Drugs Are Really Enjoyable, instead of warning kids, "you smoke pot Once and you'll be hooked on drugs forever."  Maybe some truth instead of alarmist lies kids can see right through, even at a young age.AND opher notes: Why don't you tell your doctor about your use?  My Dr. (former) got angry.  Challenging someone who thinks, as a result of their vocation, they re gawd, can't be trusted.
Jeff Michka Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:25pm
"Here's a prescription...stop using that stuff that works for you...."  Hahahahaha!!  Bill H's experience is like mine and others who have taken their own care into their control.  The feds won't even allow research to find out what and what else it might be useful for, but sheds tears over strungout coal miners and steelworkers.  It's kinda like how, any day now, they'll all be back to work, and all their problems will be solved.  Just ask the Orange smear.
wsucram15 Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:36pm
Dino..you are always the guy in the middle and I appreciate this. You cant be on this topic.
First Nancy Reagans and the policies of Reagan govt didnt start but made a bad problem much worse. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/iran-contra-scandal-unravels
 
Ask Gary Webb, a pulitzer prize winning writer who was tortured for his stories on the CIA and their involvement in the drug traffic from Mexico. John Kerry had attempted more than once to follow up on his leads.  It was the media specifically the LA times, that discounted his sources.  
 
But many other drugs come from other countries like Afghanistan, like poppy, I think 90% of the worlds poppy comes from there, although Mexico is trying the market.
One more thing..addicts dont have an option of saying no.  Nancy should have tried to understand that.
Bill H. Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:59pm
 
Opher - My doctor is actually a family member and is very "Evangelical", so I keep certain things from him. He is going to retire next year, so I will certainly let the new doctor know.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:08pm
The unsaid within about the war on drugs is its hypocrisy.
 
On the one hand Tarot Nancy whispered just say no while several departments within her husband's administration were illegally trading drugs for arms to give to Central Americans he approved of. 
 
Unsaid the war on drugs is the prime reason DUHmerican cops have become the militarized killers they so enjoy being. 
 
Unsaid are the CIA poppy fields in Afghanistan that DUHmerica will never willingly abandon. 
 
Unsaid are the of millions of dollars the booze industry has spent and continues to spend to prevent legalization. 
 
Yet another war DUHmerica can not win. 
 
Too much profit for too many to make keeping it going.
John G Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:10pm
Don't be silly. The US has a massive private prison industry to support.
And a black population to suppress.
And the CIA needs them to fund the arms and the human trafficking businesses.
Perish the thought.
John G Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:16pm
Jeanne. Your 'research' is off. Gary Webb wrote about CIA cocaine trafficking by the Nicaraguan contras. Not Mexico.
And the movie about him is a whitewash.
wsucram15 Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:19pm
Omg..I finally found something I agree with you both on.  Yeah perish the thought.
Afghanistan is where most of the heroin comes from to the US. That border wall (for drugs anyway) is a bunch of crap.  The new market is poppy and Mexico is trying but will never keep up.
Flying Junior Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:16am
Opher,
 
Are you talking about the U.S. or some nation within the British commonwealth?  If the latter is true, I didn't realize that your country had a similar incarceration problem to that of the U.S.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:25am
I think he's talking about the USA and little Billy Clinton's racist drug sentencing laws.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:10am
Jeff - I think as you say - honesty is the answer not lies.
I suppose it depends on who your doctor is.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:11am
For whom do you shill, skid-mark-g? Russia? Palestinian terror groups? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:11am
Jeff - I agree - a bit more research and a lot less propaganda would go a long way.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:14am
Wsu - thanks for opening out the debate into that area. Are the government involved?
One has to question their motives and sincerity. The British fought a war for the right to supply China with opium.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:14am
Bill - I understand. That makes it hard.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:15am
Jeffry - well put. That sums it up. Once big money is there to be made everything goes out the window.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:16am
John G - well there's some sense in what you say.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:18am
FJ - a bit of both actually. I think we both have the same problems in our communities to a greater or lesser extent.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:20am
Joh G - it goes way back before Clinton. Britain had a great attitude towards Heroin in the mid sixties. You could get it from your doctor. It was treated as a health problem. Junkies were not highly regarded by youth. There was not much of a problem. Then the States put pressure and we got the iron fist. Things went from bad to worse.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:32am
Whatever.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:36am
Skidmark-john-g (named after "Toilet G" on the Ground Floor of the brothel in which his mother birthed the miscreant [father unknown]) shills for Russia and Palestinian terror organizations committing or enabling atrocities against innocent people.
 
Who is your ideological compliance officer, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:42am
Autumn must be so proud.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:45am
Autumn must be so proud.
 
As proud as Barghouti and his BDS-holes.
 
Skidmark-john-g (named after "Toilet G" on the Ground Floor of the brothel in which his mother birthed the miscreant [father unknown]) shills for Russia and Palestinian terror organizations committing or enabling atrocities against innocent people.
 
Who is your ideological compliance officer, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:50am
As if you know any curious minds, Corey. 
Sutrina, Leroy and the like are your audience.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:53am
Skidmark-john-g (named after "Toilet G" on the Ground Floor of the brothel his mother squeezed him out into [father unknown]) trolls this site because he shills for Russia and Palestinian terror groups that commit, or enable others to commit, atrocities against innocent people.
 
Who is your ideological compliance officer, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:58am
My Bikram yoga instructor might be. I'll ask her next session.
 
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:00am
Skidmark-john-g (named after "Toilet G" on the Ground Floor of the brothel his mother shat him out into [father unknown]) trolls this site because he shills for Russia and Palestinian terror groups that commit, or enable others to commit, atrocities against innocent people.
 
Who is your ideological compliance officer, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:03am
Well as I said, Autumn must be proud.
WriterBeat needs commentators like you to maintain its standards.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:20am
Skidmark-john-g (named after "Toilet G" on the Ground Floor of the brothel his mother shat him out into [father unknown]) trolls this site because he shills for Russia and Palestinian terror groups that commit, or enable others to commit, atrocities against innocent people.
 
Who is your ideological compliance officer, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
 
WriterBeat needs commentators like you to maintain its standards.
 
They're no lower than yours, arse-wipe.
wsucram15 Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:29am
Your right.. I provided the link and wrote the wrong country. Oh my..its not a story John.  But all I did was pull a link to insert so I did have the wrong country in my comment in the first place.
As far as the movie..I only saw the end of it once but are you challenging the circumstances around his death?
I know about Webb because of a Professor I had, back when we had educators that were not fired for encouraging you to think.  
 
Opher; my thinking on the Afghanistan War is that profit had to be made somewhere...the crop was poppy. I remember the city of Baltimore drying up from heroin and crime going up exponentially for some time.  I know my brother and I argued about that.  Ive seen that stuff kill waaayyy too many people.    It is horrible to know that for profit people that are supposed to protect us, are killing kids and young adults.
 
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:45am
Jeanne. You have no idea of the corruption that your political class and the deep state is involved in.
Not a clue.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:50am
wsu - there is truly a madness at work. It reminds me of Joseph Heller's masterpiece Catch 22. Not so far off the mark was it?
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:50am
Saint - try intelligence for a change. Why don't you?
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:13am
Saint - try intelligence for a change. Why don't you?
He is untouchable.
It's far more likely that Autumn will ban me for his meltdown than him.
Every bit of abuse he spews is my fault.
Me calling Jeanne or you naive is equivalent to 100 Corey excrement insults in Autumns eye.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:10am
To quote the inimitable Roger Hodgeson: You're bloody well right
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:28am
You and I share a lot more common ground than the casual observer might think. Despite our numerous differences of opinion in other matters this is one in which we are very nearly in 100% agreement. You have hit upon a number of points which I have previously made in other posts/comments on this topic. The war on drugs has been an epic failure. Any war where the tactic does not conform to the strategy is one in which the war is pursued by fighting the wrong battles. Even those directing these policies know that the effort is futile, but it has gone past attaining the stated objective. Now it is about expanding authority and adding ever more officers with more of their toys in the form of military grade equipment. Multiple layers of agencies with overlapping jurisdiction and they are all clamoring for their share of spending for the cause 
Steve Bergeron Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:28am
An immoral society is always easier to enslave than a moral society, be the enslavement to drugs or whatever.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:44am
TBH - the number of things we agree on increases by the minute.  There is a madness in prohibition. It always does the opposite of what is intended.
I think you are right - the agencies all need feeding.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:46am
Steve - I personally would not equate drug use to immorality. It is certainly true that some drug use could be construed as immoral but I believe that applying morality to the issue is a puritanical act. Drugs used wisely can enhance life and enjoyment. Addiction is a misery.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 8, 2017 - 8:31am
Thumpers don't know any better.
Ian Thorpe Added Sep 8, 2017 - 9:22am
"He who controls the spice controls the universe." Frank Herbert, Dune
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 8, 2017 - 9:40am
>> I personally would not equate drug use to immorality.
 
Of course not. Drug use (responsibly) has added a lot to the quality of life.
 
But "drug use" and "drug abuse" are two distinct actions.
 
Speaking does not equate to immorality... Verbal abuse does.
 
Walking with a cane does not equate to immorality... clubbing people in the head with it does.
 
Taking a pill to relieve pain does not equate to immorality... taking a pill to get high over and over and over again does.
 
>> Addiction is a misery.
 
A self-inflicted misery brought on by a moral lapse in judgment.
 
That said, any such mistake doesn't have to define and ruin the rest of your life. Those errors aren't even as important as what comes after. We all make mistakes; it's what you do after that that is important.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 8, 2017 - 9:41am
The spice melange! Love Herbert's universe. An interesting reference here in this conversation. Even after plotting the course of thousands of years of human history Herbert demonstrates that some things never change when it comes to human behavior. The Emperor of the known universe, Shaddam IV, is beholden to the corporate interests of CHOAM, the Combined Honette Ober Advancer Mercantile, and the Spacing Guild.  CHOAM is rather like the highly advanced form of my own construct, IMaGE. This is to occur in the year 10,191. Odd, isn't it, that he should portray such a highly advanced order and yet still demonstrate that age old pecking order.
 
I might say that we are in need of a Fremen-like seizure of if not the drugs then at least drug policy.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 8, 2017 - 9:51am
Someone has gone to the trouble of compiling statistics on the increase of impaired driving in Colorado since the legalization of recreational marijuana. I do not know their sources of method of data gathering so I will not speak to the validity of the survey one way or the other. It can be said that the results are presented to suggest that there is some correlation between the increase and legalization.
 
I find myself wondering if there have been any similar surveys conducted to determine what if any impact the legalization has had on the use heroin, oxycontin and other narcotics?  I don't know, but my suspicions tell me that the use of these would have been reduced.
George N Romey Added Sep 8, 2017 - 11:18am
I know who won, the healthcare industry, the prison industrial complex, marketing/PR firms-the usual suspects.  People have been using mind altering substances since the dawn of time and will continue to do.  I certainly have fond memories of my MDA, speed and other sundry drug days!
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 12:48pm
Lynn - that's all very true.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:22pm
George - you are right. There is human nature to contend with.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:24pm
TBH - prohibition seems to increase use. I think the added spice creates more desire. Forbidden fruit and all that.
Frank Herbert was a great writer wasn't he?
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:25pm
Ian - Frank summed it up didn't he?
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:26pm
Addiction is misery.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:08pm
be the enslavement to drugs or whatever.
 
Especially if the enslavement is to an imaginary guy in the sky that talks to you.
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 9, 2017 - 8:09am
LOL Yep.
opher goodwin Added Sep 9, 2017 - 1:47pm
Dannl - are drugs and addictions are many.
opher goodwin Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:50pm
Dannl - offending people is OK if you believe what you are saying. Offending is different to abusing. If you write something with passion you are bound to offend people.
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 3:13am
Ha Dannl - I like your style.
Ian Thorpe Added Sep 10, 2017 - 11:58am
Opher & TBH When I first read Dune in the 1970s I did not think of it as a dystopian vision of the Orwell / Huxley / Dick genre, perhaps I was not so aware then of how the corporate squid was spreading its monopolistic tentacles around the world. Frank Herbert was obviously way ahead of me, maybe he had Paul  Atreide's supernatural vision.
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 12:42pm
Ian - he certainly had vision - but then a lot of those early Sci-fi guys did. They had minds that were streaks ahead.
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 12:43pm
Dannl - you are a real hoot. Who's JK?
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:04pm
OK - I don't think I've seen anything by him.
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:43pm
Sounds interesting. There is no way of trawling back on this site is there? You can't do a search.
opher goodwin Added Sep 11, 2017 - 4:44am
No - perhaps that's something Autumn could address? It would be good to do.
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 13, 2017 - 12:42pm
As a retired DEA agent, let me say that I don't believe in locking anyone up for mere personal possession or use of drugs. Over the course of my career in DEA I locked up a lot of dealers and major traffickers, and I don't apologize one bit for that. Did it improve the situation? I guess not since it is worse than ever compared to when I started. Yet, without enforcement against smugglers and traffickers, it would have been much worse.
 
If you want to legalize drugs then you need to ask yourself some basic questions:
 
1 Which drugs would you legalize-soft drugs like marijuana or all drugs including heroin and meth?
 
2 Would there be an age limit for use and possession and what would it be- 21, 18, 15, 10, 5 or none?
 
3 Who would be responsible for furnishing drugs to people- doctors, pharmacists, anyone, or the govt.? If my child were an addict and were getting his drugs from the govt, I would have a hard time feeling allegiance to that govt.
 
I think what is needed is enforcement against traffickers, education and treatment. All have had some degree of success and all have had some degree of failure.
 
You rightly point to Reefer Madness as a lie, but here is what is not a lie:
 
 "Our cities are full of druggies, our media is crammed with notices of young deaths, a segment of our youth are peddling drugs for easy money and parading around in flash gear and souped up cars, the crime rate soars as addicts seek money for a fix, the streets are littered with down an out homeless druggies and alkies, the prisons are packed to the gills with people on drug offences, our education system is undermined by stoned kids, huge amounts of money is flowing into the hands of dubious criminals to fund their activities, great swathes of our youth are having their education and prospects ruined, gangs flourish buoyed up on drug money, violent wars erupt, thousands are murdered down the line in producer countries, the drugs are full of poisons and impurities and cut with killer drugs, the quality and strength is dubious making it a shake of the dice each time, There are significant health risks from unknown drug strengths and impurities, a huge amount of police time is taken up with drug offences,...."
 
Will legalization cure that? I don't know. 
 
During my DEA time in Italy, I had occasion to go to Paris in the 1980s on a case. While there I spent a night dining and drinking with an English Customs official. I asked him about England's experimentation with legalizing heroin because I was always being told that was the model. He said they had discontinued it because all it accomplished was it tripled the addict population. G Food for thought.
 
Oh one other lie: John G typically blames the US Govt and the CIA.
opher goodwin Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:08pm
Squawk - very good questions. It is an area where there are few clear answers.
Personally I would legalise all drugs and treat addicts as a health problem. I would allow pharmacies and other controlled outlets to sell the stuff where it can be taxed and monitored. I would pour money into education and health care.
I think that would remove the mystique and stop the attraction for young kids.
What you said about the British early sixties way of dealing with heroin does not stack up with my understanding. I believe that heroin was a small problem then and junkies were looked down on by youth culture. Making it illegal has turned it into a massive problem and made it look rebellious.
There are no easy, risk-free answers. All I know is that prohibition has failed and is funding crime and causing misery. I think we should try another route.
opher goodwin Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:09pm
Squawk - yes I would put age-limits on it - as with tobacco and alcohol.
opher goodwin Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:10pm
Dannl - I agree - a good practical set of questions.
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 13, 2017 - 11:28pm
Opher
 
If you put any restrictions on it than you need some sort of enforcement body right? As to the users, yes it is a health problem. I agree. As to the traffickers, it is a criminal problem.
 
Mind you, I don't have the answers-after 25 years of being a narc-I don't have the answers. We just have to convince our youth that it is a mistake and offer the treatment to go with it.
opher goodwin Added Sep 14, 2017 - 9:53am
Squawk - I think that if it was decriminalised and quality controlled most traffickers would simply drop away.
I can't see it would be any worse than what we have at the moment. During prohibition (of alcohol) consumption rose. After prohibition it went down again. I think there is something about it being illegal that attracts people - it's a bit like young kids smoking tobacco or sneaking into pubs. They think it's daring.
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 15, 2017 - 12:12pm
And where will the traffickers go? 
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 15, 2017 - 1:18pm
>> And where will the traffickers go? 
 
Drugs are simply the means (commodity in demand) to an end (the money, gear and cars). It could just as easily be widgets if drugs were legal and/or in less demand.
 
The misguided youths aren't married to the drug industry. They won't just say, "Oh well the profits not there now that it's legal, but it's the industry I chose." If and when there is better money in illicit widgets or hoes (garden tools) or what-not; there you will find them.
 
What is going on in our cities (and across the nations) isn't a commodity problem.  It's a moral depravity problem.
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 15, 2017 - 1:22pm
I know I'm late to the discussion.
As a conservative, currently against the idea of legalization; I don't necessarily disagree with everything OG has stated.
 
Our points of agreement are:
- Drug abuse is on the rise (and thus deaths from it).
 
- The current system fosters crime (from dealers and addicts).
 
- The current system fosters homelessness (though alcohol and mental illness would be greater factors in my opinion)
 
- Prisons are full of drug offenders (50% in the US)
 
- Current system lacks quality control.
Our points of Contention are:
 
- Illegal attracts substance abuse. Is there a "drug culture" and peer pressure? Sure. BUT... THE REASON people do drugs is to get high. If licking toad turds provided a better high; they'd eventually figure it out and do that. Allure and propaganda are a minor influence at best.
 
I'm just concerned legalization would just be trading one massive mess for another. (With the understanding that this is strictly from an American filter.) I'm just not willing to jump off that cliff yet without some concessions to address concerns of what I would expect to happen once legalization occurred.
 
Concern: Personal Responsibility and Accountability
Welfare: There are already way too many people riding in the cart than are pulling the cart when it comes to paying the national bills. My concern is that legalizing drugs will result in a lot of people simply living off the dole, getting high, and generally leeching off society. Quite simply, I don't want to pay for people to get high; and I don't want legalization to add to this problem. So, I propose that to receive public assistance (welfare, housing, etc...) you don't get to do drugs. And you'll prove it with scheduled and random drug tests. You will be legally allowed to take whatever you want to fry your brain but you will pay for that privilege yourself.
 
Under the Influence Laws: We will need to implement very strict and yes, punitive, under the influence laws. Take whatever you want, but do it and get behind the wheel of a vehicle and all bets are off; with heavy fines, jail time, AND the forfeiting of the right to continue using drugs.
 
Child Welfare: Children suffer when parents get high, they suffer more when parents get high all the time. We're talking basic human needs being neglected. It happens today, and will happen if drugs are legalized. It's time to remedy this crime and remove children from abusive environments when necessary. Of course, I would again want very punitive legislation against anyone who sells this crap to children. That would remain very illegal.
 
Government Bloat vs the Free Market:
Limited Government Control: Yes, the government can set quality standards and a few other regulations on distribution, etc, but I would want the free market to reign in creating product and thus making it widely available. Get Uncle Sam (or the states) in the business of a few licensed providers and your back to graft and corruption. If we're trading enforcement agents for a new massive bureaucracy; I'm not interested.
 
My goal would be to make marijuana as cheap a parsley. And that is possible if the free market is allowed to work.
 
One a side note, I'm know personally a few high-volume farmers. We're talking thousands and thousands of acres per year. If you've eaten a watermelon or onion in the U.S.; you have eaten their product. They have done this (produced food) all their lives and they are good at it. Now, all these little podunk half-acre pot growers THINK they want pot legalized nationally. They just don't know... If that happened (and the free market was allowed to reign) they would be out of business within a season or two. They can't compete with a farmer that understands applying volume and manufacturing techniques to agriculture.
 
I'm also concerned about Uncle Sam using this too much as a cash cow. I would like ALL money (taxes) collected from these products to go education (concerning drugs) and medical treatment to help people get off them.
 
Employer Rights: I'm concerned about the rights of employers. Many don't want dope-heads working for them now, and still won't if it is legalized. The liability issue alone is staggering. So we've got a few choices where we can choose one to many options. Give employers some relief in terms of liability and setting employment requirements. OR Shoot all the lawyers.
 
Incarceration:
I assume we want to address all the poor misguided youths currently in prison for
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:13pm
Squawk - it's a question of supply and demand isn't it? If there is easy money to be made then people gravitate to it. If you remove the easy money then they have to do something else.
If the drugs were legal I think there wouldn't be any need for trafficking or pushing. Those guys would be out of a job.
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:18pm
Lynn - I agree up to the last bit. I believe drugs are a human problem. Every culture has its drugs. They use them for different things - religious, spiritual, recreational, identity, stress, pain, insight, creativity, music, dancing, energy, slimming or just to change their reality. It's not a moral issue at all. The first step is to recognise why people are using the drugs and address that. The puritanical streak is to say that all drug use for recreation is decadent and wrong. It isn't.
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 2:26pm
Lynn - some good points here. But don't we need stringent controls on driving cars, operating machinery, going into work, looking after children right now whether they are legal or illegal? I think employers already have the rights to fire if people come in stoned or drunk, don't they?
I'd like to see it undercut the market and take the illegals out and I'd like to see the money ploughed back into education and rehabilitation.
As for those locked up for using - I'd have them out and on a compulsory rehab.
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:36pm
>> I believe drugs are a human problem. Every culture has its drugs. ... It's not a moral issue at all. ... The puritanical streak is to say that all drug use for recreation is decadent and wrong. It isn't.
 
Agreed... all recreational drug use is not decadent and wrong.
 
It's is decadent and wrong when
1) it affects your ability to care for and provide for your family and
2) it affects your ability to be a productive member of society
 
Recreational use?  Yes.  Abuse?  Absolutely a moral issue (whether legal or not).
 
All I'm saying is that if you want me to consider legalization then you must address within the legalization process consequences for individuals who take it too far (abuse).  If you're not interested in doing that, I'm not interested in legalizing it.  Status Quo would seem to be our decision.
 
>> The first step is to recognize why people are using the drugs and address that.
 
Simple... they do it for the carnal pleasure of it... to get high.  How to address that (secularly)... I have no idea.  I do suspect legalization has no effect on the high induced; but granted… I’ve never tried it.
 
I noticed you missed addressing the welfare issue?  Do I have a right not to subsidize someone's drug use?  No government assistance if you use drugs?
 
>> don't we need stringent controls on driving cars, operating machinery, going into work, looking after children right now whether they are legal or illegal?
 
Yes... and we don't do it adequately with the drugs that are legal.  So... I'm trying to make things clear before we pull the trigger on this that things need to change; especially concerning the use of hard drugs. 
 
I’m just trying to head off the whining about the prison industry incarcerating those poor dope-heads who did nothing wrong but try to get home (drive under the influence).  I’m not interested in waiting for the dope-head to kill a bus load of nuns or children before saying “OK, enough is enough, now he really broke the law!”
 
>> I think employers already have the rights to fire if people come in stoned or drunk, don't they?
 
I don't guess you've ever owned a business.  Firing someone requires a lot of "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed.  As above, please don't assume existing law will address the issues raised.
 
See, I'm really looking at this like a contract.  You're wanting something from me (agree to legalization) and in return, I'm wanting something from you (assurances that other problems won't be created or exacerbated) and it's best that we really understand how this is going to work before we pull the trigger on it.
 
I'm just trying to break the cycle of dismissing each other concerns out of hand.  Step One: I acknowledge the problem we are currently in.  Step Two: Consider your proposal and offer up my concerns to come up with a plan we can agree on.  Step Three: Balls in your court.
 
>> I'd like to see it undercut the market and take the illegals out and I'd like to see the money ploughed back into education and rehabilitation.
 
If that requirement was not the aim, there would be no way I'd support legalization.  And again, I think the only way to achieve it (undercut the market) is to keep government involvement and bureaucracy to a minimum.  The free-market must control production.  (And as I stated earlier, the current producers have no idea that what they are asking for will put them out of business.)
 
I don't want to trade the illegal dealers with the few legal pay-for-play government sanctioned dope dealers who gave lavishly to politicians and foundations.  Again, if that is the definition of “legalization”, I’ll pass.
 
If marijuana isn't as cheap and abundant as parsley, the market undercut has failed.
 
>> As for those locked up for using - I'd have them out and on a compulsory rehab.
 
Absolutely!  All two of them.   Meaning... I don't think they (imprisoned users) exist.  (Not in the U.S.)  If there are any in prison for recreational use... it's a very minute percentage.  (Unless you’re talking about the guys who held up a liquor store or mugged granny to support their habit?  In which case, THEY need to stay right where they are.)
 
If you can provide me with evidence that "users" are imprisoned in any meaningful numbers (5%, 10%, etc...) I would be grateful. 
 
I would think that if such people existed we would be inundated with news coverage of their
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:51pm
Opher,
 
Yes and we sure have the demand here, don't we? However, serious drug traffickers are either going to find another enterprise (criminal) or try to undercut whoever is licensed to sell drugs. Call it a new black market, perhaps.
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 15, 2017 - 7:58pm
Lynn,
 
I agree that very few people are sitting in jail for mere possession and use. I can't speak for every local jurisdiction, but DEA doesn't prosecute people for simple possession. It can be charged, but it is along with other charges and is used as a plea bargaining chip. That was my experience.  As I recall, there was a simple possession statute under Title 21 US Code, but no federal prosecutor would accept a case where DEA arrested someone solely for simple possession (personal use quantity.) The two main charges we used were possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy.
 
Since most probationers or parolees are subject to violation for positive drug testing, that could account for many who have been sent back to prison. The question is-what was there original charge?
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 15, 2017 - 9:41pm
FOUSESQUAWK
 
I appreciate your input.  Like I said in my comment, I suspected as much based simply on the fact that these poor souls aren't trotted out by the media on a regular basis.  It's just common sense they (those in prison for simple possession) don't exist.
 
It's good to get a 1st hand perspective.
 
I'm sure drug abusers do local jail time all the time; but I don't equate that to prison as is generally implied.
 
I'm really sympathetic to the argument that the problem exists, and that the current system is a mess.  But I clearly separate casual possession from abuse from distribution.
 
The legalization movement is constantly blurring the lines between these.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:42am
Lynn - all good stuff. I like your take on use and abuse - with the proviso of who makes the decision on where the boundary lies? The problem with drugs is abuse. If they stop people taking care of their children, doing productive work or taking care of themselves it is abuse.
I think on welfare that a society has a responsibility to its weaker members. I don't mind chipping in to stop people living in misery - as long as the money is used productively and not to support abuse.
Better drug enforcement in driving etc. I think is a given. We do it with alcohol. We need a similar system for drugs.
I think you probably underestimate the number of people locked up for using but I do not have any evidence for that belief.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 4:44am
Squawk - that is true - the pushers will turn to something else. But if the government produces stuff cheap enough they won't be able to make a living undercutting it. Maybe a good percentage will find gainful employment? We can hope.
Lynn Johnson Added Sep 16, 2017 - 11:04am
OG, thanks for the comments and the hat-tip on the differences between use and abuse.
 
OG >> with the proviso of who makes the decision on where the boundary lies?
 
Of course, government sets that guideline... with guidance from the people through our elected representatives.  That would need to be spelled out very clearly in the legislation that legalizes the substances.
 
OG >> I think on welfare that a society has a responsibility to its weaker members.
 
I agree, though I don't think that is a role of government. (Mostly because it does such a horrible job of it, by its bureaucratic nature.)
 
But my problem (concerning the topic at hand) is that I think that responsibility diminishes for "members" who chose to be weaker and do so knowing they will be taken care of.  That is the category in which I would put drug abusers.  Widows, orphans, the elderly, the mentally ill... responsibility.  Drug abusers... not so much.
 
Thus, if I'm to be convinced to support legalization of drugs, I want assurances that we, as a society, will not reward or enable abhorrent behavior (abuse) though our welfare system.
 
Hopefully we are in some agreement based on your statement "as long as the money is used productively and not to support abuse."  With the clarification that money/welfare distributed by government is rarely efficient/productive. (But another topic...)
 
OG >> But if the government produces...
 
Whoa, whoa, whoa... government doesn't "produce"; at least not efficiently (and thus not cheaply).  At best, government can facilitate the production THOUGH the private sector and free market.
 
This only works if cheap and there are a lot of pitfalls to getting to that point; mostly having to do with government regulation.
 
OG >> Maybe a good percentage (drug pushers) will find gainful employment? We can hope.
 
And I'm the irrational one clinging to religion. :) (Written tongue in cheek)
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 11:59am
Lynn - I think we are approaching agreement - however I do think there are many reasons for drug abuse and those need separating out more. IMO by no means all drug abusers are not worthy of support and care. I see them as victims.
I'm fine with government facilitation. That works - as long as there is quality control and strict enforcement of production and control over distribution/sale.
OK OK - I live in hope.
FOUSESQUAWK Added Sep 19, 2017 - 12:35pm
 "Maybe a good percentage will find gainful employment? We can hope."
 
Do you really believe that? I don't.
opher goodwin Added Sep 20, 2017 - 3:53am
FOUSESQUAWK - yes I believe that. Once the easy money is gone then there will not be the 'career opportunities'. At the moment it is all too easy a path to go down. The young kids see the older guys going around with the cars, clothes and cash and want to follow. What will they go into if the drugs aren't there? Prostitution, robbery?
No I think many of them will have to get a job. Drugs is easy money. Take that money out of circulation in the underworld and things might change.