The Wrong Way To Fight The War on Drugs

The Wrong Way To Fight The War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on June 27, 2006 at 13:55:47 PT
By Jim Bildner and Madeline Drexler
Source: Boston Globe 
USA -- Thirty-five years ago this month, President Richard Nixon launched the modern-day war on drugs, calling illicit substances ``America's public enemy number one." Today -- after endless confiscations and arrests, stacks of scientific reports, and hundreds of billions of dollars in government funding -- Americans are left with one conclusion: The war on drugs has failed.
It has failed for many reasons. Our leaders refuse to accept the facts on the ground. Their strategies are shaped more by punitive ideology than by pragmatism and compassion. And too many Americans still believe that drug addiction is someone else's problem. As a result, our government's wrongheaded policies have gone unchecked -- with countless lives lost, families wrecked, and victims more cruelly marginalized than in other developed nations.Fact: In the three decades since Nixon declared substance abuse a ``national emergency," the United States has focused on curbing supply and demand for illegal drugs. Currently, nearly half a million people in this country are behind bars for drug crimes (mostly trafficking). Yet the domestic drug market remains free-flowing. Classic economic theory states that when supply goes down, the price of a commodity goes up and its purity declines. With hard street drugs, the inverse has occurred. They're dramatically cheaper and purer than they were 25 years ago -- suggesting greater supply and easy access. Adjusted for inflation, cocaine prices have dropped by more than half since 1980. A bag of heroin goes for little more than a gallon of gas or a six-pack of water.Virtually every campaign to eradicate or interdict illicit drugs abroad has enhanced either the ingenuity or ruthlessness of growers and smugglers. Experts call this ``squeezing the balloon." Wipe out coca crops in Bolivia or Peru, and cultivation starts up in Colombia. Raid US methamphetamine labs, and Mexican operations quickly fill the gap. A bottomless global supply feeds a steady home-grown demand.Fact: Despite strong consensus among researchers that drug treatment should be the centerpiece of policy, our government shortchanges this cost-effective approach. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 3 million Americans suffer serious drug problems, and 17,000 die annually from their addiction. Treatment has been proven to reduce drug use, improve patients' health and job prospects, and cut the risk of overdose, crime, and HIV infection.In the United States, however, most sufferers receive no medical or psychological help at all. Barely a quarter of the Bush administration's substance abuse spending goes toward rehabilitation. By contrast, Nixon devoted more than half of his anti-drug budget to helping those at the mercy of their habit. Enforcement, he insisted, had to be paired with innovative approaches to saving patients. In today's political climate, such ideas would be considered progressive.How can we begin a national dialogue on this charged and complicated issue? ``The problem is not that the United States has failed to do the impossible," write the University of Maryland's Peter Reuter and the University of Chicago's Harold Pollack, two respected observers of the drug wars, ``but that it has failed to do things that could readily be done."True, we must target high-level dealers with swift and certain punishment. But tough enforcement alone won't work. Spending priorities must be turned upside down.Doing what ``could readily be done" means shifting investment toward treatment and harm reduction; easing regulations on opiate maintenance therapies like methadone; and imposing strict standards on private treatment facilities, which have flourished in a regulatory limbo. It also means figuring out which programs discourage drug use and which are cynical quick fixes, and supporting the research that will help us tell the difference. Prevention, not punishment, is the core of enlightened public health.After 35 years, the war on drugs -- a failure by any measure -- should be phased out, so that the real fight can begin.Jim Bildner, whose son died last year of a heroin overdose, is chairman of the Literary Ventures Fund. Madeline Drexler, a Boston-based science journalist, has a visiting appointment at the Harvard School of Public Health. Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author:   Jim Bildner and Madeline DrexlerPublished: June 27, 2006Copyright: 2006 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: Justice Archives
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on June 28, 2006 at 09:40:10 PT
Yes, it is an excellent "enlightened" article
Thank you!
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Comment #22 posted by Toker00 on June 28, 2006 at 09:26:51 PT
Nice article, gw.
Lighten up, America. LIGHT 'EM UP, AMERICA.Toke.
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Comment #21 posted by global_warming on June 28, 2006 at 08:41:22 PT
Lighten up America. If we have such rights as freedom of religion and the liberty to fatten ourselves and our children up like hogs to the detriment of our health and the endangerment of our lives, we have the inalienable right to light up and get high on our own time, so long as it doesn’t endanger the public or take away from the rights of others.
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Comment #20 posted by afterburner on June 28, 2006 at 08:04:35 PT
#15 global_warming 
If the soccer moms are coming on board with Regulate and Tax, the end of Prohibition II is not far away. The same thing happened with Prohibition I (alcohol). It is ironic that the article has a beer advertisement embedded within it.
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Comment #19 posted by Richard Zuckerman on June 28, 2006 at 07:03:16 PT:
Please vote for Ralph Nader,, Libertarian Party, and Green Party, political candidates?The June 2006 issue of the educator's magazine known as Phi Delta Kappan, (telephone number)(800) 766-1156, (Fax)(812) 339-0018, has an article entitled "It's the Curriculum, Stupid: There's Something Wrong with It," by Dave F. Brown, at pages 777-783, takes the position that public schools do NOT prepare students for the real adult world!! Their shipping department told me they want $12 for this particular issue to be mailed to me. I plan to photocopy the hell out of it and mail it out to Boards of Education and Parent Teacher Associations. I have been complaining that they fail to teach the dark side of government. I voted for George Herbert Walker Bush in 1980, ignorant of the Bush Family and Rockefeller Family having financed 40% of Adolph Hitler's steel production and having supplied Standard Oil of New Jersey [now Exxon-Mobil] shipments during an Oil Embargo, which a federal judge wrote in an unpublished opinion constitutes "treason." If you believe that if you can't beat them then join them, that we must go along to get along, you are deceiving yourself, people!!!Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(848) 250-8879, richardzuckerman2002, a "spoiler." 
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Comment #18 posted by Toker00 on June 28, 2006 at 05:30:49 PT
OT but VERY relevant e-mail.
How to Impeach a PresidentThe National Teach-In on Impeachment, sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Melville House, now has over 100 screenings of the documentary short HOW TO IMPEACH A PRESIDENT scheduled for the July 19th launch.Screenings, hosted by constitutional experts, are scheduled for venues ranging from the Grand Lake theater in Oakland, CA to the Judson Church in New York City, and dozens more bookstores, churches, college campuses, community centers and private homes in between.It's not too late to sign up to attend, or to schedule an event of your own, by visiting
http://www.articlesofimpeachment.netThere, you can also obtain a teach-in kit, copies of the handbook ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST GEORGE W. BUSH, or view an excerpt from the documentary.Please join the growing grassroots movement calling for an impeachment investigation. Spread the word, and join the CCR, the nation's leading institute of constitutional scholarship and activism, on July 19 to find out what you can do to make impeachment a reality.___________ImpeachPAC Endorses Bill Durston (CA-03)ImpeachPAC, a federal PAC funding pro-impeachment candidates for Congress, has endorsed Dr. Bill Durston in his race for California's 3rd Congressional District against rightwing Republican Dan Lungren.Dr. Durston served in Vietnam with the Marines 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, and he received the Navy Commendation medal for bravery under combat. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine and has practiced in Sacramento for over 20 years. He was President of the Sacramento chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility from 2003 until this year.Durston has written: "As a U.S. Representative, I will support the impeachment of George W. Bush, including introducing articles of impeachment myself if they are not introduced by another member of the House." Skinner Takes Close Second in DFA Grassroots All-Star ContestNancy Skinner, Democratic Congressional candidate from Michigan's Ninth District, with your help placed second and nearly won DFA's contest for grassroots all-stars. She's posted the following message on her site:"First I want to thank you for your support of me in Democracy for America's Grassroots All-Star Contest these past two weeks. We were told by DFA that at the end the voting was very close but that we took second place to Jerry McNerney from California's 9th Congressional District. I want to congratulate Jerry and wish him the best of luck as he continues in his campaign. The good news is that the U.S. Supreme Court played no role in the decision of the close count and we are thrilled that we had so many supporters nationwide! Special thanks to our friends at, Buzzflash, The Ostroy Report, Michigan Liberal and so many bloggers who worked hard for us."
http://skinnerforcongress.com___________A Portrait of a Progressive CongressmanBy David SwansonCongressman Jim McDermott became involved in politics through his opposition to the Vietnam war. He came to Washington 17 years ago hoping to create national health coverage. Instead he's spent much of his time opposing new wars and war crimes. McDermott's record on matters of peace and war is unsurpassed in the Congress. On the matter of impeachment, however, he has lost all interest – as has every incumbent Democrat since Leader Nancy Pelosi decreed that impeachment should be "off the table."I sat down with Congressman McDermott on Monday to discuss the Iraq War and the possibilities for peace. He offered insights and lessons from history that we would all do well to bear in mind. Powerful New Book on Iraq to Be Released
Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq
By Mike Ferner, Foreword by Cindy SheehanEndorsement by David Swanson: "Americans oppose the war on Iraq in large numbers because they understand that it was based on lies. Anyone who reads Mike Ferner's account of the people in Iraq whose lives are being destroyed will change the way they talk about this war. They will call it wrong, criminal, something that could never have been done the right way, no matter how competently performed. If they learned what is in this book they would not simply oppose the war by telling pollsters they oppose it. They would do what some of the most courageous and principled among us are doing. They would follow Mike Ferner's example and put their own safety and liberty on the line repeatedly to end the killing. Ferner has told the stories that can change minds and sets the example that needs to be followed." Iraq Veteran Says He Serves His Country By Promoting ImpeachmentTim Goodrich is Co-Founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War. In this public service announcement, he says that he is serving his country by working for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Play the audio here: peace on war. END FREEDOM AND CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!
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Comment #17 posted by Toker00 on June 28, 2006 at 05:11:40 PT
Comment # 12
This is serious business, folks. These people have never been a threat to national security, and they are not now. Do you want to know what IS a threat to our national security? THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION! Fascist Government Gone Wild! Has anyone seen any media talking about this? Is it on the radio anywhere? We need to mobilize our support for these people! They are us! We must demand, not just an end to the Iraq war, and the War on Drugs, but to the WAR ON TERROR!! This is not a war to protect us, it is a war to destroy us! We see how unjust the War on Some Drugs has been. We know Iraq is nothing but a War of Lies! It is time to get the word out to END THE WAR ON TERROR!! Homeland security is nothing more than a FASCIST take over of our, OUR, government! HOMELAND SECURITY MY ASS!! The only thing being secured around here are the Elite, the power grids, and the oil fields and refineries. The People are on their own! It's time for the police departments and State National Guard to stand down against any orders to arrest or aim their guns at their own countrymen who do nothing more than exercise their constitutional/human rights! We are witnessing what happens when we do NOTHING! This story should be as widely broadcast as WACO! Rainbow farm should have been, too! 9 -11 stopped that story, cold! Are we about to experience another PNAC planned act of terror against us?!? After all, if they would kill the freedom of the Rainbow Farm, don't you think they would have no problem with killing the freedom of the RAINBOW FAMILY? These are the people who hate RAINBOWS, BAMBI, PEACE, LOVE, HIPPIES, LIBERALS, CANNABIS, GAYS, BLACKS, MEXICANS, ANY PEOPLE SOUTH OF OUR SOUTHERN BORDER, (except the cheap labor) THE CONSTITUTION, AND ANYONE EARNING LESS THAN A MILLION A YEAR! It is time for ALL of us to TAKE OUR FREEDOM BACK!! WAGE PEACE ON WAR!! END FREEDOM AND CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!  
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Comment #16 posted by mayan on June 28, 2006 at 03:39:36 PT
More OT
Sorry if this has been postd...War On Medicine:
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Comment #15 posted by global_warming on June 28, 2006 at 02:39:10 PT
One soccer mom's take on the drug war the end of the day, our government knows it cannot enforce marijuana prohibition. In the absence of being able to do so, it sends the damaging message to our young people that marijuana should be illegal simply because "I'm the government, and I said so." Moms know better - and may ultimately be the single key to bringing sanity back to American drug policy."
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on June 28, 2006 at 02:24:30 PT
Good news! Italy's new government tells Antonio Maria Costa and his U.N. World Drug Report to go to hell...Italy relaxes cannabis laws:,,3-2245854,00.html
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on June 27, 2006 at 23:00:42 PT
"in the name of Homeland Security "
Oh my gosh! I guess it was just a matter a time, though, before they pulled that one out of their bag of magic laws to make citizen's rights disappear.That's horrible!
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Comment #12 posted by mayan on June 27, 2006 at 22:41:14 PT
Public Health? BWAHAHAAHAAA!!!
Prevention, not punishment, is the core of enlightened public health.Unfortunately, public health is irrelevant to the fascists. The drug war has nothing to do with public health. Absolute power and control are the objectives.Has anyone heard from museman? THE RAINBOW GATHERING SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN INVADED...Rainbow Children Detained in the name of Homeland Security!!!! WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Charlie Sheen Says 9/11 Movement "Juggernaut Of Truth": Theories on September 11 Discussed in the US: 911 Warnings: We Knew…and Did Nothing! tu, Salon? Salon's Folly: Wants 9/11 Evidence: Debate Team selected to debate government account of 9/11 - September 16 - Charleston, South Carolina:
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Comment #11 posted by Taylor121 on June 27, 2006 at 22:05:47 PT
Call Congress Now
ongress will vote on an amendment this week (as early as Tuesday night) that would protect cancer, AIDS and other patients who use marijuana for medical reasons from federal prosecution. Make sure your Representative votes the right way: call him or her as soon as possible, and forward this alert to everyone you know. (You can check our website to make sure Congress hasn't voted on the amendment before you call).What to Do: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak to your Representative. If you're not sure who represents you, the operator can tell you. You can also look up your Representative by entering your zip code at the top of the page.What to Say: Once the operator transfers you to your Representative's office, give the person that answers the phone the following message:"Hi, I’m a constituent. I’m calling to urge my Representative to vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment to the Science-State-Justice-Commerce spending bill, which will be voted on this week. This issue is very important to me."(Hinchey-Rohrabacher is pronounced Hinchee - Roy Bocker.)Then forward this alert to friends, family, etc.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on June 27, 2006 at 18:02:36 PT
I was eating supper and there's dead Nixon all over this page! 
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Comment #9 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 16:29:45 PT
re: food
as long as I am paying my taxes,to the foot of that golden Calf,my opinion has been payedmy thoughts have payed for this placein Gods UniverseMy Prayer is that God comes,And dissolves this current world.For God is above mans rules and laws,
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Comment #8 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 16:15:11 PT
there is
a higher foodthat nourishes your Eternal Soul,
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Comment #7 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 15:57:25 PT
has the air
thickened with the filthof greedy childrenbastards devoid of any spiritualitya mere sack of silverthey taketo remain silentin this worldImagineHow these demonic and useless worshipers,bow so deeply before there little bit of food,
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Comment #6 posted by lombar on June 27, 2006 at 15:54:07 PT
Morality and personal habits cannot be legislated.
"The desire to use drugs can't be stopped by passing laws or more police action. Campaigns to stop the sources in Mexico and South America are not only failures but keep their people in a state of poverty because drug money has corrupted their governments. Most of the money given to these foreign governments by our country has done nothing but enrich the politicians in Mexico and South America."The lone voice becomes a choir...
Illegal drugs the real cause of violence
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Comment #5 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 15:47:59 PT
Georgie Porgie
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Comment #4 posted by billos on June 27, 2006 at 15:45:35 PT
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Comment #3 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 15:38:59 PT
i cannot digest
Nixons worldview,
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Comment #2 posted by global_warming on June 27, 2006 at 15:37:22 PT
re: the real fight can begin
it is not daises that Nixon is pushing,Nixons bones are being absorbed,By the lowest creatures,The worms can digest the flesh of this person,That was once called Nixon,
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Comment #1 posted by billos on June 27, 2006 at 14:48:16 PT
                  I am so glad
Nixon is pushing up daisies............Isn't that terrible???
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