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Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs

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Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs
« on: April 25, 2006, 06:58:56 PM »
Break addiction to senseless war on drugs


by Stanley Crouch

 

 
In the ongoing battle over the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the Food and Drug Administration has now shown that ideology can bend almost anything to its will. Last week, the FDA claimed that "no sound scientific studies" supported the medical use of the drug - flatly contradicting a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine. That seems strange, given that the Institute is part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's most prestigious scientific advisory agency.
Could one group of scientists be so far off as to come up with a completely incorrect reading of the medicinal value of the drug? I doubt it - and so do many others who feel that right-wing politics have trumped science yet again.

But that, it seems to me, is the least important issue connected to the legalization of drugs. The three most important reasons to call a ceasefire in the insane "war" we've been fighting for decades are the reduction of crime, the expansion of the tax base and the contribution to the economy.

Whether or not anyone likes it, recreational drug use has become part of American social life - and it is that use, not addiction, that fuels the trade. If addicts alone were spending money on drugs, the problem could have been licked or dramatically reduced long ago.

As for the reduction of crime, we are constantly getting benumbing reports that tell us how many inner city young men drop out of school to sell drugs, naively looking for a fast way to make big money. Such young men are the drones of the business. If we ended the illicit nature of the trade, the drones would either stay in school or surprise us and find a legal line of work.

The real economic winners in the drug business these days are the high-level dealers and traders. When it comes to them, America is being played for a chump in exactly the way we were during Prohibition. That's when the Mafia gathered all the capital it needed to become a formidable national criminal organization because public demand for drinking was greater than fear of the consequences of drinking.

If we ended today's version of Prohibition and legalized drugs, we could stop the murderous drug wars and pull billions of dollars out of the shadow world. Taxes could be levied and public rehabilitation centers supported.

In that way, victory could be pulled from the jaws of a very obvious defeat. Some call this position defeatist - but it's far more realistic than craven. It's simply a matter of facing the facts of our time rather than pushing our heads under the sand - no matter how many young men are in our penal system for either the sale or the possession of drugs, no matter how many are killed in drug wars and no matter how obvious it has become that recreational drug use is here to stay.

We are still a long way from waking up to these facts. But we can wake up, and we will. After all, once upon a time, many thought slavery would go on forever and women would never get the vote.

 
 
 

krumanadi

Re: Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2006, 07:12:09 PM »
Very interesting... I think I have to agree as far as marijuana goes, but I don't think harder drugs like cocaine or heroin should be legalized.

Re: Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2006, 07:36:23 PM »
Agree as well...this war on drugs isn't going anywhere. We seize only an estimated 7% of the drugs that come into our borders from Mexico and search somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-7% of the containers that come into our country. We're not stopping drug use and all the while overcrowding our prisons.
I think pot and coke should definitely be legalized. Coke is obviously a little more controversial...but at least if it were legal, you wouldn't have to worry about what it was cut with.
Don't know how I feel about heroin. On one end of it, you can become addicted from after the very first time you try it. On the other hand, if we took after Canada and had centers where people could obtain clean needles and be supervised, we could cut down on the spread of infectious diseases. In addition, if i'm not mistaken, most of the heroin used in this country comes from the middle east, particularly Afghanistan...and it's likely terrorists have a big stake in the heroin trade. Wouldn't hurt to cut out their funding in that department.

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Re: Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 12:44:46 AM »
difficult to grasp...aye know.

Re: Break Addiction to Senseless War on Drugs
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2006, 08:58:41 PM »
the idea that those addicted to drugs don't fuel the drug trade is pretty ridiculous. the reason the problem hasn't been licked isn't because drugs are illegal, it's because addiction is treated like a crime rather than an illness.

the solution isn't legalization, it's increased access to treatment, or the use of drug courts (treatment programs that include sanctions and heavy supervision) as an alternative to incarceration. effective treatment costs about a quarter of what criminalization does (iirc), and drastically reduces drug use and criminal behavior.

the idea that legalizing addictive substances is going to make all their harmful effects go away is pretty ludicrous. while i agree ideology plays too much of a role in drug policy, the alternative is definitely not giving everyone access to substances that are guaranteed to produce nothing but negative effects.

We would see an increased access to treatment through the tax revenues we would receive from the legalization of marijuana and cocaine. Secondly, the users who get caught with smaller amounts of the drugs aren't the ones that are overcrowding our prisons. It's the guys selling a pound of weed or an ounce of coke who get busted in some sting operation who are subject to mandatory sentencing. They get stuck with their 5-10 year sentences and get thrown in the same prisons as murderers and rapists.
Legalizing addictive substances isn't going to make all the harmful effects go away. However, criminalizing drugs isn't helping us either. Prohibition led to the development of organized crime in our country and the illegal drug trade is just perpetuating the crime that plagues our inner cities. I think at some point in our lifetime we'll see the decriminalization of marijuana...hopefully sooner than later