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The Drug War is ongoing because...

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by ethics, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    ...everyone profits from it. Unfortunately, even if Obama gets re-elected not much will happen Maybe these new "bath salts" synthetics will shake the crap out of the issue due to the fact you can't easily track it.

    Fantastic article in this month's GQ. I am sure all of you will not agree on everything but I certainly believe in most of what is said, how Obama will be useless (again) if re-elected and how this whole War on Drugs is just a huge sham.

  2. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I wrote a post years ago about Vietnam and how the VC and NV used drugs against the American forces there.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Except these "forces" are inside the US and I doubt we have enough power to stop them. The whole model is broken.
  4. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    Excellent piece.

    This paragraph points out one of the biggest issues with our criminal justice system as a whole. we make it entirely too hard for people to reintegrate with society. We set them up for failure. That's got to change.
    Arc and ethics like this.
  5. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

  6. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    The drug war is the ultimate absolutely perfect capitalistic model of supply and demand. In this case as far as the United States the biggest problem is demand. When I was in high school there was no drug problem in the United States or any drug war. (Sure there is all ways someone some where using drugs but as far as large numbers and adults in mainstream of society, not really enough to count. But then the mainstream of society was a lot different then than now.

    As for prison it accomplish on a macro scale one good thing: It keeps a lot of bad people that would hurt others off of the street for a time. That about covers the good. The bad is 90 percent of the people going in to prison are exposed to a society more lawless and violent than on the outside and being in prison make a person a worse person by being there and they re-enter society a bigger "threat" than when they went in. (Most of them will end up going back.)

    The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world. And the numbers are increasing.

    When it comes to a solution for the prison problem I really wish I had a solution or some practical ideas but I don't. It's frustrating.

    Meanwhile for those not in prison we've turned it into a form of entertainment by all the "lockup" or "Inside prison" reality shows that run every day of the week on TV.
    ethics likes this.
  7. dsl987

    dsl987 Member


    "At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million."

    "Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education."

    The drug war is helping the US into bankruptcy. Legalize it and treat the addicts. With even a small fraction of the money they save on NOT fighting the drug war they could wage a very good public education program about why you should not do drugs. It makes no sense that alcohol is legal but drugs are not.
    ethics likes this.
  8. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    Your intentions are well-meaning and noble. However education has been shown to at best to somewhat lower the rate of drug addiction or abuse, not stop it. Not even close.

    Also, treating the addicts is only good for those that want to genuinely break the addiction. Most don't. Same for any person addicted to any substance.

    Over the years there have been both past and still ongoing numerous high profile public education inform or educate the public on why they should not use drugs. Remember the egg yolk and whites sitting peacefully on a surface: "This is your brain not on drugs." Then they start to fry the egg. "This is your brain on drugs." I know it is one simple illustration or example but I point it out as its a specific example that a lot of people probably remember.

    When I was very young there wasn't a drug problem or war on drugs because there was an infinitesimally low demand for hard drugs. Drug use and specifically drug users were considered low-life scum by the the overwhelming majority of of society. They were at best one step-up from child molesters. There were no Betty Ford Clinics. They weren't needed.

    Now in current society, (that really started the big evolution to hard drugs in the mid-seventies), they are just sick, victims, or worse stupid bums. Drug use is rampant. Society's view of the using drugs has changed and consequently so has the demand. Heck we even semi-glorify drug users like Charlie Sheen. Make him a celebrity over besides his acting over his drug use.
  9. Kluge

    Kluge Observing your world for over 50 years

    When I was in high school there most definitely were illegal substances being used by a large portion of the student and adult populations. Pot was illegal in any quantity. NY had the Rockefeller drug laws that made dealing a life sentence, dealing being defined as a controlled substance changing possesion regardless of compensation, intent or circumstances. Park somebody's car and if it had pot in it you were a dealer by law. Viet vets with infant children that I knew personally would use and talk about pot as if they thought it was ok. Teachers talked about using pot, not the just say no of the future era but the risky and possibly illegal phrases of the late 60's and early 70's. It was the days when media hero cops had to have street smarts, to have been-there-done-that with everything and anything they could righteously prosecute for. Kids bought pounds and sold ounces for gas money. And, yes, it was the idyllic suburbs, town after town the same thing repeated.
    What I believe most about the time was that widespread 'victimless' drug use was a tool that made it possible for new transistorized surveillance to be used almost at will because any rumor of pot was likely credible enough to get a search warrant. Cops weren't breaking down doors but surely someone in power was curious about a society where 'Big Brother' was close to being possible. There were vestiges of the anti-communist causes with paranoia about unions, hippies, student political activity, lowering the voting age to 18 years, civil rights of minorities, all that, and looking for pot users was a framework that emulated today's Patriot Act in its ability to make it legal to watch and listen on the government budget. A kid I knew was waving his 'stash' on the steps of the school when a patrol car happened to drive by and busted him, later the cop cursed and said if he knew the kid was a juvenile (or not, memory fails in the details) he would have looked the other way just to avoid the paperwork. And why else would so many 'crimes' be negotiated to violations, get thrown out on technicalities, draw minimum penalties, etc etc a lack of punishment for so many? It had all the trimmings of a government sponsored operation.
    So, what about today? What is it and where is it? Does it look similar there to what it was here, then?
  10. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Yes... But there is a serious flaw in your logic. You have assumed that legalized drugs will result in lower cost to taxpayers. You're assuming that public service announcements will influence people into not using drugs. (We've had them for decades and they're not working.) You've neglected all the things that legalized drugs will cost us. You've forgotten the cost of collateral damage to non-users of drugs, for example to victims of auto crashes struck by drivers incapacitated by drug use. You've forgotten about the loss of productivity caused by major drug use. (I've assumed major drug use will increase if they're legal.) You've forgotten about the effect use of drugs has on non-using family members of drug users. You've assumed that education will prevent most people from using in the first place, and that the rest can just be treated out of it. From what I've seen most drug users don't even want to be treated. They have to be forced into drug treatment programs. They'd rather just use drugs, use more drugs, use drugs more often.

    I doubt I know any more about how things would work out with legalized drugs than you or anybody else, but my feeling is that if these drugs (particularly cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin) were legalized that the cost to society would go dramatically higher.

    I truly don't know what the solution is, but surrendering to the enemy and declaring we've won the war isn't it.
  11. dsl987

    dsl987 Member

    If done right the decriminalization and/or legalization of drugs can work. Portugal seems to be an outstanding success in this regards.




    We know that fighting the war on drugs the way we are now is not working. It's time to change tactics and think of different ways of going about it. Employers could still drug test and fire employees for being under the influence, just like they can now with alcohol. I have not neglected collateral damage, I just think this way reduces the damage further. This way you take a lot of the money out of drugs and get rid of the cartels. The cost of drugs would drop dramatically, maybe even 90%, with profits being taxed instead of going to the black market. You would also reduce the amount of theft/property crime associated with drug users looking to make cash for their next fix.

    By no means do I support the use of drugs, especially as somebody who has seen the damage they cause. If you want to do drugs they are readily available, the war has totally failed in that regard. We don't lock up alcohol abusers for drinking, only when they break other laws such as DUI. We also don't lock up people with gambling addictions, until they steal to feed their habit. Better to get the problem out in the open and deal with it than lock up people for having a bag of weed and destroying their future careers in the process.

    Where does it end? There will always be a chemical you can inject, snort, or inhale. You can protect people from themselves by passing more and more laws. They huff paint, glue, cry cleaning solvent, anything they can get their hands on. It's not working, we need to do something different.
    ethics likes this.
  12. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    Say that under current drug enforcement and prosecution policy, (what you refer to as the war on drugs) that hypothetically 100 million tons of hard drugs a year enter and are consumed in this country.

    Now, hypothetically again, say we didn't enforce and prosecute as we are doing now. And as a result 1000 tons of hard drugs entered or were manufactured in the country and were consumed. Under such a situation would you say the war on drugs was working or was effective?

    Without endorsing or condemning the "war on drugs" I suggest that the current policy is highly effective in at least dramatically reducing the flow and/or consumption of hard drugs in the United States. There may or may not be better ways to deal with this country's drug problem. But, again, I submit there will all ways be a drug problem as long as there is a demand, AKA users, and we can do little to control that. In fact we have in addition to the war on drugs fought against it by so many educational and public service programs over the years plus offered literally unlimited access to users for a chance to get clean and where has it gotten us. Answer that question accurately and one has a firm grasp of the problem and likelihood of success against it.
    Copzilla likes this.
  13. dsl987

    dsl987 Member

    It takes $47,000 per year to incarcerate somebody in California. I imagine you could be a lot more productive with that money than locking a person up, and destroying his chances of holding a decent job for the rest of their life. That money would be better spent educating people and offering free clinic services instead.

    Nobody gets hooked on drugs to deliberately ruin their lives, treat them as patients and try to get them back on track. Nobody quits drugs until THEY are ready to quit, but there are a lot of people who could get back on track eventually if it were not for a criminal record dogging them the rest of their lives.
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    I can say only one thing about the effectivity of current US illegal drug enforcement policy. It's more effective than no policy at all. Or at least it appears that way to me.

    I don't accept that either, that there is little we can do to decrease demand. If we accept that then we are tacitly accepting that we will never solve the problem. I'll agree that public service announcements and drug awareness education are not working. The best that can be said about our present policy is that illegal drug use would be worse than it is without the present efforts to decrease illegal drug use.

    We seem to have a bit of a cultural problem. Our culture condones and glamorizes drug use, like for example as depicted in TV and movies and often in music. California and other states have de facto legalized marijuana use. (Simple marijuana use and possession is a slap on the wrist. You can get authorized to buy as much personal use pot as you want for about $200 quack doctor permit.) Drug use leads to a wide panoply of anti-societal behavior. If drug users/abusers cannot get legitimate jobs due to drug testing then they'll turn to crime for an income.

    The family abuse and public disruption caused by alcohol intoxication is legendary. Heroin addiction of course results in comatose users, but crack cocaine hypes users and methamphetamine use is dramatically worse in that it causes erratic behavior, paranoia and hyperactivity. Meth use is hauntingly like the legendary anti-marijuana movies of the 1930s, the movies we all laughed at.

    I would like to execute narcotics traffickers but our society seems to have trouble executing even murderers.

    As a first step the US should close the borders to illegitimate crossings of prohibited substances and undocumented immigrants. Sadly, controlling access is IMO far less effective than containing desire to use such drugs.
  15. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    DSL, I notice you didn't respond about the my comment and question to you on the effectiveness of the "war on drugs" regarding the hypothetical of 100 tons v 1000 tons.

    With extremely rare exception drug users don't go to prison in California--at least not for possessing or using drugs. So you financial argument is not especially strong IMO. Drug dealers and violent criminals, especially repeat offenders go to prison. Since 15-20 percent of the folks in California prison are illegal aliens your money argument seems better or more applicable with illegal aliens.

    You have yet to respond to the fact the for decades we have had public education, public service messages, (treatments to get clean) programs in schoolfocused at youth, ("Just say No.") and all most unlimited diversion programs, in lieu of incarceration for use.

    Meanwhile one literally can't turn around or barely have a day go by without a high-profile celebrity that either are in trouble, jailed, or die from drug use. All of them are painted as poor victims. The ones that beat the rap like Charlie Sheen see their popularity increase.

    The main problem is the culture that looks positively upon or with acceptance drug use.

    There was no national drug problem when I was in high school 50 plus years ago. The drugs were available though. There just wasn't the demand. Hard drug users were all ways considered social outcasts. Now nothing could be further from the truth.

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I don't say that to be disrespectful to you. On the contrary I really admire that you car so passionately to correct a curse and plague that we as a country and a lot of people suffer because of drugs. I simply point out that going from one program that is arguably not effective enough to a system that is worse is not the answer.
  16. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    But has it?

    It seems there's been little change since implementation, and in some cases, usage has actually increased, contrary to what the "experts" claim.

    I agree that decriminalization is warranted for some drugs (specifically marijuana), but only when there's a reliable road side test available.

    It's interesting that people cry about people being put in jail for illegal drugs, but the jailing of drunk drivers is perfectly acceptable. Talk about a double standard.
    Copzilla likes this.
  17. cmhbob

    cmhbob Did...did I do that? Staff Member

    Completely agree with this and have for a while.

    Not really a double standard. Drunk drivers are clearly endangering others. Most drug users aren't. Or is that your point?

    General reply:
    I think it's naive to expect the drug cartels to obey drug import laws when those are established after decriminalization/legalization. They haven't obeyed US drug laws for decades. Why would they start? Why would they sit idly by as a huge portion of their market evaporates?
  18. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    One would have to assume/presume that if legalization of hard drugs were the solution that retail drug prices would become so cheap that the narcotics trafficking business would become so unprofitable as to not support the narcotrafficante culture. One has to assume that those who fed their drug habits by crime would suddenly find drugs so cheap that they would abandon their criminal pursuits. (Perhaps they would seek drug addiction treatment out of boredom.)

    That brings to mind a number of questions. Government subsidy for legalized hard drugs? Government supply contracts for the narcotrafficantes? Narcotrafficantes moving into more profitable illegal ventures? Does anybody expect them to simply vanish and go away after we legalize cocaine/heroin/methamphetamines?

    In other words I agree with you. It's naive to believe that drug cartels would simply evaporate if hard drugs were legalized. They would fuel their empire with their next best thing which would also be our own next worse thing. Perhaps terrorism. (We can presume that they won't decide to move into cigarette smuggling and tobacco tax avoidance as their major business.)

    Seal the borders, against narcotics, against illegal immigration, against terrorism.
  19. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    The legalize drugs argument is always a straw man. Let's look at bath salts. In many places, they've been sold legally, or at least under legal pretenses. But has that been a tax boon, or not a problem at all? On the contrary, it's been a huge problem, and not a tax windfall at all. Legislatures have had to scramble to cover those drugs under their laws in order to do something about it, because it's been a complete NIGHTMARE.

    So how can anyone say legalizing drugs is the answer? Haven't we JUST seen that recently with bath salts?

    Now I can certainly respect the argument that decriminalization of marijuana is a proper approach. Not legalization, but decriminalization for user amounts. Get a ticket, lose your pot, go on your way. Whatever. But I've seen what happens to people on drugs. Mental illness abounds, depravity, loss, death. No fucking way. Not as long as I have a say in it. There is no reasonable way to integrate use of some of these drugs into a civilized society. We have plenty of trouble with the ONE recreational drug we have legalized now.
  20. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Really? Is that what we need to do? Pull in numbers and stats that fit our argument from the world? Can we try the numbers from Netherlands?

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