Friday, June 3, 2011

Musings: DARE to Say No

It’s officially official: the war on drugs is a complete and utter failure that has devastated people and societies around the globe.

So says the newly released Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker and various world leaders.

But while the Commissioners aren’t radicals, their recommendations most certainly are:

End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others. Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence.

Review the scheduling of drugs that has resulted in obvious anomalies like the flawed categorization of cannabis, coca leaf and MDMA. Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens Offer health and treatment services to those in need. Respect the human rights of people who use drugs.

Break the taboo on debate and reform.

Whoa, baby. Talk about a revolution.

And in a clear slap to Reagan-era policies and the debacle known as DARE:

Eschew simplistic ‘just say no’ messages and ‘zero tolerance’ policies in favor of educational efforts grounded in credible information and prevention programs that focus on social skills and peer influences.

Why? According to the report:

The global war on drugs has failed. When the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs came into being 50 years ago, and when President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs 40 years ago, policymakers believed that harsh law enforcement action against those involved in drug production, distribution and use would lead to an ever-diminishing market in controlled drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis, and the eventual achievement of a ‘drug free world’. In practice, the global scale of illegal drug markets – largely controlled by organized crime – has grown dramatically over this period.

Indeed. Between 1998 and 2008 alone, use of opiates has increased 34.5%, cocaine 27% and cannabis 8.5%, according to the report.

Yet the United States – the biggest perp in the drug war and biggest consumer of licit and illicit drugs – remains in deep denial, wasting some $40 billion a year – yes, $40 FRICKING BILLION – fighting drugs. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal:

A spokesman for the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy said U.S. drug policy wasn't a result of a "drug war" mentality and that its "balanced drug control efforts are making a big difference," including recent reductions in the use of drugs such as cocaine.

But you can only bury the truth for so long, especially when the whole world is watching. As Democracy Now! Reports:

The drug war has been an expensive failure both abroad and at home, said Bruce Bagley, an expert on drug trafficking and Latin America at the University of Miami. Abroad, Mr. Bagley compared U.S. efforts to a massive game of whack-a-mole in which drug supplies, drug violence and crime are "shuffled from one country to the other." He said that in the U.S. there is little or nothing to show for it "except for the warehousing of some 600,000 people a year on drug-related offenses in prison at huge cost."

"It's estimated that over one trillion have been spent on fighting this unwinnable battle," Mr. Branson said, according to the AP. "The irony is that a regulated market — one that is tightly controlled, one that would offer support not prison to those with drug problems — would cost tax payers much less money."

But then we wouldn’t be able to lock up large numbers of young men of color, in a form of judicial genocide. We wouldn’t be able to fatten up our police departments with money seized through asset forfeitures. We wouldn’t be able to continue our imperialistic meddling in the affairs of our neighbors to the south with infusions of military equipment and paramilitary training programs.

We wouldn’t be able to marginalize and criminalize a segment of our society, in a classic divide and conquer strategy. We wouldn’t be able to control people through fear and bullshit them into giving up their civil liberties. And we wouldn’t be able to give big pharm, with all its lucrative campaign contributions, a legal monopoly on the market.

Because, you see, the drug war is only in small part about drugs.


Anonymous said...

Druggies are "a segment of our society" that I want marginalized. Another "segment of our society" that I want marginalized are those multi-generational welfare families who are parasites.

I'm all for their total eradication through forced change ("treatment") or incarceration for those unwilling or unable to successfully pass through "treatment" and stop that shit.

I have other "segments" in mind, but that's for another day...

Anonymous said...

The first comment comes from an ignorant and prejudiced standpoint. Simply look at other cultures to see how inconsequential responsible drug use is. The Incas developed an advanced society (with farming knowledge and techniques that could easily cure the worries of world hunger and agriculture these readers worry about) while chewing coca constantly, and regularly imbibing hallucinogens--South American indian tribes flourish to this day drinking that stuff regularly. The lack of taboo creates an atmosphere of safety and respect.

In Portugal, they decriminalized all drug possession back in the early oughts, and now overdoses, HIV rates, and violent crimes are all dramatically lower. In America, the prison system is the fourth largest "state" in the country, and half of state incarcerations are for non-violent drug offenders. Your argument makes no sense economically, either, wasting the labor and potential of non-violent detainees.

Most so-called "illegal" drugs today were enjoyed heartily by earlier generations, with relatively few negative effects. Those drugs were made more dangerous as they were shifted to the black market by federal prohibitions.

Nevertheless, Today, more people die of properly prescribed medical drugs than from illegal drugs. I suggest you stop taking your heart medication next time you get worked up by the kids smoking a joint outside the market.

To support the war on drugs is to embrace ignorance and advocate the destruction of human life. To try to "marginalize" it is to misunderstand the inherent mystery of our brains: we live to change our state of minds. So we exercise, we have sex, we eat chocolate, and drink beer. Or we ingest other materials as we see fit.

Take it from a member of the younger generation: we're just waiting for you old prejudiced fogies to die off so the world can move on to fostering some respect for altered consciousness. The inherent violence and hatred in your words makes me sick. You should be ashamed.

Sorry for the rant. Thanks for good work, Joan.

Anonymous said...

Take it from a member of the older generation (62)...I own stock in for-profit privatized prison systems, and I LOVE the payback.

Keep toking...I'll keep reaping the dividends.

Live is good, for me anyway.

Anonymous said...

"those multi-generational welfare families who are parasites."

Are you talking about the Bush family, Netanyahoooo and others?

Anonymous said...

"those multi-generational welfare families who are parasites."

Oh gosh, my mistake, you must be a haole talking about the Hawaiians who canʻt survive on their land anymore because so many parasites have arrived from the U.S. living off the welfare of the aboriginal people.

Anonymous said...

Who created welfare?
Who created the NEED for welfare?
What can one acquire with welfare?
What kinds of welfare are there?

Necessity of life.
State Legislatures.
County Councils.

Anonymous said...

Boy - it sure does seem like we need to nip the welfare generation to generation thing in the bud. It is a self fulfilling prophecy ! See it all the time.

Anonymous said...

Before moving to Kona 10.5 years ago, we lived in the Chicago burbs pretty much all our lives.

The "multi generational welfare families" I referred to were inner-city low-life parasites.

Similar, but different to the Hawaiian variety of low-life parasites.

Anonymous said...

Whether in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the Drug War.....War is costing us lots of money as a country and it has not accomplished anything except post traumatic stress syndrome, loss of limbs, and prisons full.

Great for the businesses that make money from these wars....we are the losers......economically, socially, and morally.

Time to stop all wars!

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

"Before moving to Kona 10.5 years ago ... Hawaiian variety of low-life parasites."

Why does this make me feel like committing unspeakable acts of violence?

Someone obviously stay fo'get fo' go home awready....

Anonymous said...

Poor Kona! Infested with maggots from Chicago. And as for a sensible drug policy, as long as the drug lords, dealers, cops, judges, lawyers, jailers and other parasites are making a buck off the status quo, it won't happen.

Anonymous said...

TO: June 4, 2011 1:42 PM........

Iʻm curious, how would you describe the specific type of parasite that you are?

Anonymous said...

TO: June 4, 2011 4:24 PM

My feelings exactly.

Anonymous said...

And the Chicago maggot probably calls Vets parasites too.
And this maggot probably never was a Vet.

AND, I gotta wonder what the maggot bigot racist has against Hawaiians?

The maggot is able to remain in Hawaii because he happens to be a welfare sucking parasite living off the assets and stolen wealth of the Hawaiians.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Kona! Infested with maggots from Chicago. And as for a sensible drug policy, as long as the drug lords, dealers, cops, judges, lawyers, jailers and other parasites are making a buck off the status quo, it won't happen.

June 4, 2011 6:27 PM

I really liked this post.

Anonymous said...

I stay in Hawaii because I made a shitload of money in my career on the mainland and retired debt-free to Hawaii 10.5 years ago.

Thanks to social security now paying me over $2,100/month tax free, my aforementioned money shitload can stay where it's at and no longer be used to support my lifestyle here.

As to land ownership, the world is rife with ownership transfers of all, illegal, warlike, etc.

I don't care how I got mine...only that I got it.

Life is good. Your mileage may vary.

As to all the welfare parasites out there....well, you know what to do to yourself.

Anonymous said...

You do know that my use of "welfare parasite" refers only to those people who elect to stay on welfare rather than attempt to get jobs. They often misrepresent their actual status in order to "cheat" their way into even further handouts.

Those on welfare due to a failed but sincere attempt to get or keep work or those that are truly disabled to the point of not qualifying for any work do not fit my definition of "parasite".

Some disabled do, however. I know one who gets a new Corvette every second year. Somehow, he is on full disability, but can climb in and out of a Corvette...a testament to dexterity, but who also regularly plays golf, tennis, scuba dives, etc.

Now, that is a "disability welfare parasite" simply playing the system by exploiting loopholes and, probably, having a "flexible" doctor attesting to his "obvious" inability to work.

Anonymous said...

gadfly in kona
descended from maggots
brought over w/cattle
from the continent
lucky u live hawaii