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Do you think the war on drugs is a failed policy?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 3, 2006

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Photo of Isaac Hilpman

“Yes. I think the war on drugs is a war on people and a war on the impoverished.”

Photo of Krystal Richard

“I think it has worked, but I don’t come from an area with a lot of drug problems.”

Photo of Jim Baze

“I think largely that is probably true. As long as there is a demand, it’s going to be incredibly hard to control. We really need a lot more public education and to make drug use less fashionable.”

Photo of Tanya Anderson

“The war on drugs just turned into a war on certain groups who have become charac-terized as drug users. As far as regulating the overall illegal use of drugs in our country, it has completely failed.”

Comments

happygolucky 8 years ago

Multidisciplinary-Right on, Thanks. Looks pretty cool.

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happygolucky 8 years ago

lunacydetector-Can we start with our Coke Toking President? You know, since he also got busted for DUI. You do know that Pot stays in your system for up to 30 days after the last use. If they bust every pot smoker in town, we'll have the cleanest streets in the world. It was a sad day last year when there were more pot holes than pot heads.

Peace Pot micro dot, Don't drop bombs, drop acid.

And for you bible thumpers out there.......

god is great, man is not. man made Whiskey, god made pot.

god may have made us brothers and sisters, but pot keeps us friends.

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Multidisciplinary 8 years ago

Sue, have you seen the poetry blog? I think you have talent beyond balancing acts.

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sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Manly, I would never knowingly allude to anything unseemly. I'll try to do better in the future and stay on top of my game.;)

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Multidisciplinary 8 years ago

Jonas, come, be here with us. We are your friends, and we want to help drive the "cranky" right away from your doorstep. I've been forcing myself to sort a huge pile of paperwork, and plan to move furniture in one bedroom for a bit tonight, but sounds like some will be here having fun.

Seriously. (At our house moving furniture is also a pseudonym for m*%ing l%$e when you don't want the kids to know why you went to the bedroom LOL)

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my_manly_essence 8 years ago

S_S....

"take the stance" "grab it by the horns and hold on" "bumpy ride"

My! My!, So many double entendres!!

;)

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sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Manly Essence, Ha ha ha ha ha...you'll never let me live that one down, will you??? I'm just going to take the stance that there is much about life to enjoy. And also an imagination, from time to time, doesn't hurt. Life isn't going to come up and knock on your door. You gotta go out, find it, then grab it by the horns and hold on, 'cause it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride!

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Marion Lynn 8 years ago

The history of the drug laws in this country is a history of fear.

LSD was illegalised not because of its effects but because of fears; largely unfounded of its possibilities.

Pot has been illegalised primarily because the Roosevelts administration's Harry Anslinger and the Congress responded to the fears of Southern and urban law enforcement regarding the "drug crazed n++++++s" found in the music and arts communities in those areas and the fear that such reprobates would rape White women.

The association of racism and marijuana laws is too extensively documented to detail here but it should also be remembered that the .357 Magnum round was developed by Smith and Wesson as a response to, again, the fears of Southern law enforcement of drug using darkies rampaging through crowds of white women and pure American teens.

Southern Police Chiefs and Sherriffs had complained that their .38s might not stop such "pepped up" Jazz musicians so they requested a new and more powerful handgun be devised.

The .357 Magnum has been touted for its ability to penetrate an engine block but was really used because it blows sewer pipe sized holes in people.

I advocate for the severest penalties for providing drugs to minors but esentially complete decriminalisation and legalisation for adults.

The War On Drugs is a national madness which must cease.

Thanks.

Marion.

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75x55 8 years ago

Or, we could actually HAVE a war on drugs - whack the mules, splash the lowflying no-lights planes, sink the freighters sitting offshore waiting for their mules to show up after dark, stop all non-regulated border traffic (with side-benefit of stopping illegal immigration). Daisy-cut the labs, BUFF-raid the growing fields, send the dealers to break rocks in the south pacific with a one-way ticket.

Nah, we'd rather let our family members kill themselves instead.

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linux_chick 8 years ago

jonas: considering legalization doesn't mean giving up on helping people.

Wow, you're cold today ;)

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jonas 8 years ago

Seems like everyone brought up most of the point that I could think of. The only thing I can add would be that the termination of the war on drugs would, as a further benefit, create a fantastic Darwinistic study as the weak ones with no willpower succumbed to their vices and died.
/cranky tonight, sorry

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linux_chick 8 years ago

In short, I think this: Maybe for once, we should get off our moral high horse (and I'm including myself in this "we") about drugs and actually try to help people.

...since, afterall proper ethics was was not the cause of anti-drug legislation in the first place.

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linux_chick 8 years ago

daman: far and away, there is an abundance of evidence that drug use is just as frequent with the social elite as the impoverished. Poor minorities, however, are the prosecuted offenders.

Ex: Cocaine is a more expensive form of crack and has almost never prosecuted in spite of being the cause of almost twice as many trips to the emergency room (vs. crack). As was the case in '99 at least. --taken from Sidewalk (M. Duneier)

It's no secret that the origins of de-legalizing certain substances had nothing to do with public health and more to do with ridding communities of nucances like ... Irish immigrants (prohibition), Hispanics (marijuana) and African-Americans (crack).

So, what do we do with the knowledge that we're still employing policies with racist origins on the books? Is it our job to lock away non-violent offenders choosing to harm their own bodies?

If it is... we should probably do a better job of selecting which drugs are "harmful enough" to be made illegal... drugs like morphine and a few ingredients included in diet pills (that actually cause heart failure), etc.

Blech. I don't want to go down this road. I think if our goal is to save lives, we should legalize and educate.

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daman 8 years ago

The war has failed because we have failed to adequately punish the offenders. Some of you want to argue it's a war on the impoverished. Think again, the reason they are impoverished is because they are high on drugs and can't keep a job. In order to deal with their miserable existence, they go and get high, cycle continues. Legalize drugs and all of a sudden these addicts will come up with the cash to buy them "legally"? It doesn't matter if a rock of crack costs $5 or $25, they don't have $1, so they rob, steal, etc... to get the money to buy their drugs. Oh, when they're high, they comit violent offenses (not pot-heads, they just sit there and stare and giggle at each other, real productive group there). Want to stop the war, lock up the dealers and send users through INPATIENT treatment (give them two cracks at it), if they fail, they can join the dealers in the pokie. Legalize drugs and you will open a can of whatnot that you wish you hadn't.

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my_manly_essence 8 years ago

S_S,

I'm so glad to hear that you and the hubby are clean-living types!! Good for you!!

Now for your sake (and his)........here's hoping that the government never passes legislation to prohibit the sale and/or use of...........

"big, wooden sturdy tables"

;)

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sunflower_sue 8 years ago

Cea, "just thinkin' about tomorrow, clears away the cobwebs and the sorrows..." Seriously, you're working? Ha Ha!

Ms C, I'm curious as heck...what is "Wild Orchid" and have you seen it? ;o) Hope the work goes well in sunny Cali.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that the hubby and I are the "square pegs" that never so much as tried an illegal drug. Cigs never suited either of us, either. But we very much enjoy having a couple drinks with friends on a Saturday night. I think educating our youth should be the priority. I once did a paper on hallucinogens when I was a youngin and that was all the education I needed on illegal drugs. (Fried brains and such.) Scared me! So much easier to give something up when there's nothing to give up.

I don't consider my 2 to 4 drinks a month a problem. (Now, my mouth gets to be a problem after a couple drinks, so maybe...)

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Multidisciplinary 8 years ago

The heavier drugs, my most recent input is from some younger friends. They try to straighten out, but their lives seem (& are) so hard from past choices that they are paying for, that drinking just doesn't to it for them. It is so sad. They stay drunk as much as they can, & then after a couple of years of not doing anything more than alcohol, they got back into pot, & now lots more & even meth sometimes. I just cry. Let's just say, there is very good reason to be very watchful of others drivers in this town. Especially at night. But even during the day. The night shift workers have to drink sometime.

I think it's great when they track down rings, & meth labs, etc. KBI works constantly to investigate, & their lives are in danger all the time. I applaud them.

When a person can't get pain relief from medical means...where are they to turn?

Our society has lost it's sense of family, it's sense of neighborhood & there is little emotional support, true daily kindness. They looked into the third world countries where the people had to go amidst the tribal group each day for daily necessities. They found many of the problems that we have, are not present in their lives. Depression is almost non existent. They talk to each other, discuss their problems, if they need help with something, it's there, everyday, with everything. Most tasks are joint activities.

I think those people that bash people for being online so much should take this into consideration. Human communication is one of the best healing powers "a drug" out there. Get off of their backs for being here. Not everyone is mobile & can get out of the house.

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Napoleon_Dynomite 8 years ago

Well, we lost about eight years of progress when Clinton was trying to be president.

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Multidisciplinary 8 years ago

Pain is 1 of the main reasons people use drugs.

Pain,I define as pain from new injuries,old injuries that cause constant pain, emotional suffering,& stress. Stress from daily life,& the stress of living with all of the above pain. Pain from taking care of others dealing with pain. It's called life.

Drugs:I define drugs as everything from caffeine that we need to keep us alert all day, alcohol to calm us, knock us out nightly,& a swig to try to kill any other pain, whether it fixes it or not, the only thing legally available without a prescription. At respectable restaurants, share it with friends, sneak it at work, in our briefcases, desk drawers, purses, & all we want at home. Have a few at lunch, so we can make it through the rest of the work day, that meeting was hell!

And then there's the weekend, go out Fri. and Sat., perfectly fine to close the bar with other couples & friends, all pretending to not notice how many drinks each other has had, or who is now rushing to the bathroom about once a month they've gotten so bad, they are our friends, right? And they are all driving home. Two nights a week, every week. And they all know the officers that come into the bars to check out the place, they know many of us by name, they all know we are ALL over the limit by 10pm, all 130 of us in the place. Downtown is a very friendly community. Places are always packed. But mostly, we can walk straight, dress nice, & behave ourselves. Good Lawrence folks, so unless someone hits another car, no problem.

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linux_chick 8 years ago

badger: for the most part, I agree (on all the points I think are important, anyway).

On a big positive note, I do think legalization would go leaps and bounds to help clean up inner-city conditions. It's not the only thing that's needed... but if we have a chance at helping schools in drug-saturated areas (and I believe we should be trying), it's going to start with cutting off the source of income from the (illegal) drug trade and diverting to taxable wages.

Legalization. Education.

Most people do drugs of some sort. Drug-use is never going away. I think we'd be well-served to help each other become informed of consequences and quit, while having the (legal) resources available to use as safely as possible --should they choose not to quit.

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ms_canada 8 years ago

Oh, forgot to say greetings from southern California where life in the fast lane s alive and ........... well???

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ms_canada 8 years ago

Not only is the war a failure but it is totally unwinable. Why? because the root cause of drug use will not be attacked. I believe the root cause of so many ills in this day and age is the unholy quest for more and more thrills and excitement. Television has a great deal to do with that. Everything is portrayed in such a glamorous style. And the poor slob watching feels left out and deprived and has to get some sort of satisfaction in his pathetic lfe and he turns to either alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, porn or minor crime to give a boost to the thrill he craves in his life. And don't brush off my words too easily. Think about the little things that you do in your nice lives to make them just a little more exciting. You go to the video store and pick up a very soft porn movie, like "Wild Orchid " for example. All very acceptable, you say, but why do you do it? Multiply your need for that by several hundred and you have a porno freak. Or the couple of beers or glasses of vino. Why? It boosts your feeling of well being.........does it? Thats why I say the war will never be won because we have all become so used to life in the fast or faster lane. Do you know why the great Roman Empire fell? No? Well, I just told you why. Greed and the desire for moooooooooooooooore.

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badger 8 years ago

For one, a lot of it will come down to a massive price decrease, Ceallach. There is no reason, given its ease of growth and general availability, that pot should be more expensive than cheap whiskey, for example. I don't see why pot should be that much more expensive to grow than corn or soybeans.

The illegitimate nature of the trade drives up the cost. For example, in college I was once offered an amount of money into four figures and a return plane ticket just to pick up a car in one city and drive it to another city less than three hundred miles away and leave it in an airport parking lot without looking in the trunk. Knowing the reputation of the individual who was asking me, I declined graciously. Now, if the substance in question were legal, you'd pay a truck driver a fraction of what he offered me, to transport a truckload of it.

Across the board, the cost of doing legitimate business is going to be lower, and it's going to be taxed. 0% tax on the current price of pot is nothing. 7% tax (it would likely be higher, but that's just sales tax) of whatever they charge is more than that. Combine that incoming tax revenue with freeing up the cops and agents currently spending all their time trying to infiltrate the drug culture, and there's a social benefit right there.

The increased medical cost has been brought up. I don't necessarily agree that there will be a drastic long-term increase in drug use. If anything, it will get safer. Currently, there's no way to tell if what you're buying is adulterated. Talk to someone who's either gotten bad acid or been there when someone else did, or gotten pot that had been treated with pesticide or other chemicals. Some form of potency and purity controls would decrease the health risks and the risk of overdose.

Finally, the last reason that crime would go down, I think, has to do with a conscious decision and predisposition to break the law. If you decide to sell illegal drugs, you're deciding that you're going to break the law and associate with others who do so. Being involved in any way in the drug culture requires that you be breaking the law, so not only does it encourage further lawbreaking to protect your business interests, it draws people already inclined towards lawbreaking. Were it a legitimate business, with licensing and bookkeeping and regulations, then it wouldn't by nature necessarily be the business of criminals.

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Ceallach 8 years ago

Just a thought: since many of us have difficulty affording the legal prescription medications we need (sometimes to live!), legalization may not lessen the crime necessary for some to afford their recreational drugs. So how does society benefit from legalization?

(please excuse me if this has already been asked and answered - they are actually requiring me to work really, really, really, hard today and I have only been able to skim previous posts while on HOLD or waiting for something to print :)

I knew this was going to be an extensive posts day when I saw the word "drug."

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linux_chick 8 years ago

I couldn't agree more, neopolss. Well said.

I'm a results-oriented kind of girl. It doesn't really matter what a given piece of legislature was "intended" to do, in my humble opinion. What's the result on the street?

While I'm holding into question the alleged ethics of our "war-of-drugs," from any point of view, our efforts have failed.

People like drugs: from tylenol to pot to alcohol to cocaine. Let's look to coming up with policies to keep people as safe and educated as possible.

Well put, neopolss. Jail isn't working.

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neopolss 8 years ago

You would think, that seeing the crime syndicate that prohibition created, that one would deduct illegalizing a particular "evil" substance would not solve the problem. Unfortunately they did not come to that conclusion, and did so anyway. The end result is a different type of crime syndicate. Not the stylish mafia of the 1920s and 30s, but the inner city gang, the dealers, and the smugglers. A grittier, far more dangerous underground than before. Where the mafia and its allies still played to the government's ear, the current crime world pays no heed. It would makle perfect sense that in order to kill the beast is to cut it at the root - finances. Legalization with regulation is one of the only methods left that will eliminate the criminal empire associated with hard drugs. The prohibition of alcohal created the single largest criminal element in the history of mankind - a proud achievement for the 'ol US of A.

The mentality has to change. The hard-nosers have to realize that it hasn't worked, and will not work. New methods need to be created, implemented. The hard-liners stubborness is simply wasting money for all of us, with no results to show.

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sgtwolverine 8 years ago

Badger, I appreciate your post. Well said.

That said, I may be a bit cynical, but I get the feeling gangs will always have some source of power. It would have to change, but I doubt gangs would really diminish, because poverty is not predicated on the drug supply. Detroit would certainly be a different city without an active gang-run drug market, but even with a legal, regulated drug market, Detroit would still be poor. I think gangs are probably appealing to some because the "actual jobs" they can get in their circumstances aren't very appealing, or are (in their minds) too low-paying.

So yes, I do agree that some issues would be helped (but not solved) by legalization, but I think the improvements would be pretty limited to the problems originally created by the drugs. That would be a step, but ultimately it's the people who have to change. The demand isn't there simply because the drugs are illegal.

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Ceallach 8 years ago

Sorry about curioso!!! I'm feeling like we are rats in an experimental maze. Let's throw this curve and see how they react, eeeyyyaaahaaahaaaahaaahaahaa! Although, reincarnation is a possibility here :):)

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acg 8 years ago

down with censorship!!

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my_manly_essence 8 years ago

P.S.

Hey, dude, don't kid yourself about cigarettes "being the biggest black market item in human history".

Ah, that would be alcohol, my friend!

They outlawed it once in our country....and it failed. (The black market was too great.)

And if there ever was to be some world-wide prohibition on booze.......same result. The demand for illegal booze would be enormous. Much, much more so than any world-wide demand for black market cigarettes!!

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curiosos_husband 8 years ago

Hello kind posters, nice to meet you.

I come home for lunch to find things amiss. I don't read on here I use the hard copy, but she's irritated by the ink, so she started using the online. That doesn't mean I don't hear about all of you.chuckles

Yes bankboy, and others I'd tread carefully here today.

My wife told me of her joke this morning, inferring how common drugs are in regular homes, brought in my outside influences, (the sitter forgetting needles, the parents also using, counting on the sitter forgetting needles but the mom having to go to the store to buy some.), which then clearly said that she was joking.

So they not only pulled her comment, they pulled her completely off the board!

Does the LJW not know that this happens all the time in Lawrence and surrounding communities? Oprah just reran a show discussing the increasing use of crystal meth use by regular everyday citizens, soccer moms, business women, housewives, mothers, men with families. All who's lives were ruined in very short times by drug use.

I found her joke to be representative of that same show, by your own articles about the sale of the little glass rose tubes, etc. If Oprah can talk about housewives needing a fix, I don't see how my wife making a joke should get her bumped. However, I can make the same judgment. DSL has service too. So does dish. And I can read any paper. I'll be making some calls. I found your response offensive, I can "click" too.

I assume most of you know what a tissue recovery specialist really is, but for those who might be wondering. Human skin recovery, for grafting, from both live and deceased donors.

Thanks for reading...oh, by the way, neither my wife or I use illegal drugs. Usually caffeine free. We live west of Wakarusa. In town

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my_manly_essence 8 years ago

Dude,

Cigarettes are sold behind the counter only (by law) so as as to keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors. Years ago, cigarettes were to be sold to those 16 and up...but that was rarely (if ever) enforced. There were plenty of cigarette dispensing machines around. And with those cigarette machines tt was impossible to keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors...so store owners sold cigarettes to kids they knew to be younger than 16, just to make the sale, and those store owners simply looked the other way! Additionally, fines for selling cigarettes to minors weren't what they are now.

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Azure_Attitude 8 years ago

If nicotine isn't the gateway drug, alcohol sure enough is!

Many moons ago I got an OUI (if I had gotten it 3 weeks earlier when the limit was .1 rather than .08, I would not have be legally drunk) and I was forced to go to meetings as part of my diversion agreement. I thought the AA crowd was kind of whiney so I went to NA. I thought then, as I do now, that weed is harmless and should be legalized (I don't know who you've been talking to, mom o'3, but weed does not give you deliusions. Even if you attempted to smoke a whole bag you'd fall asleep before seeing one pink elephant). They'd all spout off about how, "a drug is a drug is a drug . . . ," while having the coffee guy fill their cup for the third or fourth time and smoking cigarettes like they're going out of style. Hypocrites!! The coffee guy tried to pour that crap in to my cup of water. I scowled and said, "I don't use caffiene, man!"

The war on drugs is an abyssmal failure. Legalize, tax and regulate weed as we do alcohol. Find better ways to keep attacking the hard stuff.

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Ceallach 8 years ago

Who was deleted yesterday?

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El_Duderino 8 years ago

mom_of_three wrote: Caffiene and nicotine are a habit, but I would hardly put them in the same class with illegal drugs. I haven't seen an article yet about someone with a caffiene or tobacco fit who mugged someone to pay for their habit.

My comment:

GREAT point, but consider what would happen if they were made illegal. Nicotine FOR SURE would be the biggest black market in human history, and would create those kind of crimes to pay for nicotine addicts habits. Why do you think they keep all tobacco products behind counters now? And that is without the price escalation that would come to tobacco prohibition.

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acg 8 years ago

I think the sentencing guidelines are based on how dangerous and addictive the drug is to the human body. Which is also why I think crack sentencing guidelines are more strict than plain coke. Sure coke is a purer drug, but the crack version of it is more addictive and physically more destructive. It's also why in some states LSD is sentenced with the same guidelines as involuntary manslaughter charges (my idiot cousin, state of Oregon, 10 hits of acid, 10 counts of inv. manslaughter--the family is so proud). It certainly seems racist when you see what the race ratio of drug offenders is in prisons but I think it's also economics. Crack is cheaper than coke, coke is cheaper than smack and so on. Crack, being the cheapest, is found in the inner cities where it's cheap to make and cheap to buy. The inner cities are filled with minorities. Also, people can function on coke for years, still have their jobs and maintain some sort of life before it may start to destroy them. I've known normal people that did crack once or twice and before you knew it, within 6 months were homeless, destitute, strung out and well on their way to having no teeth. It's a much more dangerous drug.

Now alcohol, there's some danger! A seemingly innocent mom can go out with friends on a Saturday night, have 10 or 12 grape jello shots and not get over it for two days. Damn the makers of Everclear for making their product mix so well with flavored gellatin and damn the jello shot girl for always being so readily available. Grrrr.

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badger 8 years ago

Problems associated with the drug culture that legalization would not help:

Self-medication Poverty Racism Driving under the influence Irresponsible use Overdose

Problems associated with the drug culture that legalization would help, though not necessarily solve:

The existence of a significantly violent black market Injury, illness and death from impure or adulterated drugs Prison overcrowding Understaffed and underfunded law enforcement agencies Millions of dollars a year of untaxed revenues Difficulty getting addicts to treatment because they are reluctant to admit they've committed crimes

Now, some will argue that legalization would help end poverty, but I disagree. Poverty is a symptom of the same conditions the drug culture is a symptom of, the breakdown of community. If we end the black market drug culture, then we may have more money to address poverty's root causes, but we won't solve it.

I agree, sgtwolverine, that it won't solve all the problems, but there are a lot of existing ones it would help. You live near Detroit, you said. One effect of legalization would be to remove a major source of revenue from the inner-city gangs, cutting their power. How many kids go into the gangs because it's the only way to keep families fed? If that source of revenue is lost, how long will it be before an actual job becomes a better prospect than dealing? Imagine Detroit with the financial rug pulled out from under that black market.

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Purell 8 years ago

I think a tissue recovery specialist is someone who works for Hannibal

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sgtwolverine 8 years ago

The war on drugs is a mess. That much is obvious. However, I'm a little wary of the idea that decriminalization will actually solve problems. It will remove the sky-high costs of enforcement, but I feel like arguing beyond that is stretching it slightly. Not a lot, but slightly.

To be clear: I'm not necessarily against ending the "war on drugs," but I'm a little unsure about that extension of the argument for doing so.

Also, if you want a "war on the impoverished," wouldn't an equally good candidate be the lottery?

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mom_of_three 8 years ago

And I just read the article in the star about a truck ramming into a convenience store, with 18 cartons of cigarettes stolen.
So maybe cigarettes are a bad example, except you don't have delusions while smoking cigarettes - just a pissy poor mood if you DON"T have them.

And what if certain drugs were made legal - then you could see people busting into stores to steal those because they don't have the money to pay for those, just like not having money or wanting to pay for cigarettes.

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Ceallach 8 years ago

sue: The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow. . . there'll be sun :)

OTS QOTD: Compared to what? Was there ever a successful USA war on drugs?

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mom_of_three 8 years ago

I didn't say people don't get killed over cigarettes.

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bankboy119 8 years ago

Thank you badger, that makes sense now. I was unaware of how the sentencing has been handled for the different drugs. You would think that the cocaine would be more stiff of a penalty anyways with it being the pure drug. Guess that's just too easy though.

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prospector 8 years ago

Cait48,

Your post is on the Drug War Dropout article.

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Gootsie 8 years ago

Cait, I don't see it, but it is Monday. Was it maybe on another thread?

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prospector 8 years ago

A friend of mine when pulling into Walmart in Wichita observed a van run over a Walmart employee and drive away. He and another that saw this, followed the van that went to a house, they confronted him and restrained him for fifteen minutes before police showed up. He received a citation from the police for his part in apprehending the guy. The Walmart employee was killed and the crime was stealing a case of cigs.

Mom of three, you are wrong that people don't get killed over cigs.

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jrlii 8 years ago

Amen badger! The illegality premium is the main cause of drug related violence.

License, tax and regulate drugs. Make the taxes on the drugs high enough to pay for the rehabilitation programs which are needed even today and will continue to be needed until such a time as we achieve a utopia where no one feels the need to self-medicate.

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Cait McKnelly 8 years ago

I would like to know why my post was removed.

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badger 8 years ago

Know what I used to see, though, mom_of_three? I'd see guys standing on the corner next to my gas station begging, and as soon as they had a couple of bucks they'd come in and buy smokes. Not food, not water (in August) or hot coffee (in February), not even rotgut vodka, but cigs. Two or three packs a day, they'd buy.

This was for a pack of Camels. Now, what if a pack of Camels was forty bucks instead of the two bucks it was then, and they couldn't beg enough to cover it? You can bet your bippy they'd be mugging people and robbing people for it.

One of the biggest arguments for legalization is that the price would come down, and if your fix suddenly costs three bucks instead of thirty, then the drug-related crime rate goes down.

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mom_of_three 8 years ago

Caffiene and nicotine are a habit, but I would hardly put them in the same class with illegal drugs.
I haven't seen an article yet about someone with a caffiene or tobacco fit who mugged someone to pay for their habit.

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badger 8 years ago

On the racism of drug laws, bankboy, it's more about imbalance in sentencing. A possession charge for crack, habitually used by minorities more often than whites, carries a much harsher penalty than a possession charge for an equivalent quantity of cocaine, habitually used by whites more than by minorities. There are a lot of rationalizations thrown around for why the sentencing is different, but none of them really stick, leading to a racially unfair outcome to a process that may not have been legislated initially with racism as an intent.

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The_Original_Bob 8 years ago

Damn! Bankboy is asking for citations.


What was the Hicksonian logic... something akin to there's a War on Drugs and the ones on drugs are winning! He said that 15 years ago. I don't see that anything has changed.

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bankboy119 8 years ago

"Drug laws are blatantly racist."

"Most of the people in jail for drugs are young minority men, even though the majority of drugs users in the country are white."

??? Would you care to back up that claim?

Are you saying that white people run the gangs in the inner cities and traffic the drugs in the country?

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Marion Lynn 8 years ago

The "War On Drugs" is not a war on drugs, it is a war on the American People.

I learned this over thirty years ago from personal experience.

I have since that time advocated for the decriminalisation of some drugs and the total legalisation of others and will continue to do so.

Our drug policy furthers only the interests of politicians who like to appear to be doing something and helps line the pockets of the manufacturers and the cartels while agressively attacking the American People.

This is a madness which should stop.

Thanks.

Marion.

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jfgibson 8 years ago

I agree that the war on drugs has been unsuccessful. I agree that there needs to be more programs that are available to person's with addiction. most of the programs that are in existence now are not publicized and many do not know of their existence. They are also very expensive. I don't know how many crack addicts and alcholics have $500/mo to spend on treatment, but my guess is not many. My father did not recover from his alcoholism for many years until he happened to come across a wonderful program in Wichita. The state however decided that this center shouldn't get any money because they take in people regardless of their ability to pay for treatment. Because of this program me and my family were able to have a wonderful year with him before his passing in December. I wonder how many other people this recovery center would save if they had state funding to make their program known to substance abusers.

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my_manly_essence 8 years ago

I don't know.....was Prohibition a failure?

I mean, weed is as ubiquitous today in this country as booze has always been.

And we all know what happened when the goverment had its "war on booze" (1919-1933).

So please, just legalize weed (for adults, like booze).....and be done with it, already! For crying out loud!

And no, I myself do not smoke weed (well, not any more). Tried it several times when I was younger (and inhaled it too, unlike Bubba). But that was during a phase in my life...but now I have absolutely no interest in it at all. I'm just speaking as tax-paying citizen who is sick and tired of hearing about "big weed busts" by law enforcement authorities somewhere in America...and when I hear about that on the news I have to laugh because for every tractor-trailer in America that gets pulled over and nailed for carrying a full load of weed....God only knows how many more trucks full of weed drive right by them State Troopers as they are slapping the cuffs on that truck driver!!

This whole thing is a joke!

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badger 8 years ago

Total failure.

I'm all for helping people kick addiction, enochville. Criminalization of the substances means it's just that much harder to get through to people who have problems, though.

And people like luny who want to walk down the street with a little pair of scissors, snipping off bits of people's hair and slapping cuffs on them for road crew duty if the Insta-Test revealed any evidence of drug exposure.

Luny, if they ever were to institute a system as stupid and invasive as the one you suggest, I would hope someone dopes your Corn Flakes and you get yourself busted.

But, hey, who needs a Fourth Amendment? "Ma'am, I stopped you because you have a taillight out. Let me pull out a bit of your hair, now, so we can be sure that you're not an addict...What does that have to do with your taillight? Only an addict would ask that question. Normal people would understand. You'll have to come with me."

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geekin_topekan 8 years ago

Larryville the site or larryville the towners? If you're speaking of the towners then I would like to be the first to welcome you to my hometown and please,pass the bums a buck or two.

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sunflower_sue 8 years ago

TOB, they clean out port-a-potties.

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trueninetiesgirl 8 years ago

whats up with larryville? how long does it take for them to welcome you? i have been waiting a month.

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Gootsie 8 years ago

TOB, they work in wastewater treatment facilities and are responsible for removal of tissues with some shelf life left. They are most useful in the northern regions where people have runny noses.

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sgtwolverine 8 years ago

tob, maybe she works for Kleenex.

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Richard Heckler 8 years ago

It is an absolute failure. There is so much money involved that border security is easily swayed. Even the CIA uses LSD and heroin as torture tools.

Let's open up and legalize reefer so american farmers have a real cash opportunity growing industrial hemp for paper,wood,clothing and alternative fuel products. My best guess is that people would not smoke industrial hemp more than once cuz it's probaly a lot like smoking grape vines...oh so harsh

http://www.gurney.co.uk/drinksense/factsheets/effects.htm

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The_Original_Bob 8 years ago

Yes. Complete failure. Has been for years or since the last time this question was asked.


What is a tissue recovery specialist?

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guardBack 8 years ago

Drug laws are blatantly racist. The "war on drugs" is one of the dumbest things we've done.

As long as there is demand, there will be supply. This is intro economics, a High School student could figure it out. And meth is not the only problem drug on the market. What about crack, karachi (a form of heroin used largely by inner-city populations), cigarettes, alcohol, and caffeine (already been mentioned).

The prohibition of drugs has allowed the gangs to take over large cities, and this is not a new development. Prohibition in the 1920s/30s only served to drive drinking underground, resulting in poisonous beverages being sold on the black market without regulation by the government, not mention the strengthening of organized crime syndicates that took over the sale of alcohol after it was made illegal.

And honestly, with cigarettes and alcohol being legal, widely abused, and openly addictive and damaging, does the government really have a right to make moral decisions for us about what we put in our bodies?

The first national drug laws in this country made opium and cocaine illegal for the purpose of keeping Asians out of the country and keeping blacks down in the south. (1880s) and they failed miserably. The next drug to be outlawed was cannabis (1937), which was widely used by Hispanic Americans and blacks. The laws were passed due to the "dangerous effect on degenerate races".

Most of the people in jail for drugs are young minority men, even though the majority of drugs users in the country are white.

Failure is too weak a word. The "War on Drugs" is a government sponsored war on minorities and poor people. It is an unmitigated disaster. We waste millions, if not billions of dollars a year bombing poppy and coca fields in Central American coutries where the illegal trafficking of drugs into the States is their principal source of income and the drug czars don't answer to the authorities with anything but bursts of automatic weapons fire. We send first offenders to decades in jail because of mandatory mininums that get politicians points for being "tough on drugs."

You really want to end drug abuse in this country? Then actually educate people on drugs, set up free rehab clinics with the money we use to send spy planes and bombers over Columbia and house first offenders. This may not sound like enough, but in 1975, Nixion used this plan on a limited basis in D.C., emphasizing rehab and education rather than jail. Within 8 months, drug abuse had significantly dropped (I think the official report cited a 35% reduction in drug abuse rates among rehab attendees, with a single-digit rate of relapse, but it's been awhile.) This plan has never even been attempted on a larger scale, for a variety of reasons, few of them very persuasive. I honestly think it's just easier and more career helpful for politicians and law enforcement to keep throwing minorities in jail.

Just my 4 and a half cents.

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curioso 8 years ago

Can't talk now, have to run to the store...usually the sitter forgets some of her needles!!!!!

MUSSTT GGET FIIIXX

(just kidding folks! Good morning everyone!)

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sunflower_sue 8 years ago

holy cow holyjim! Did you actually say that small towns think they're above this problem? You obviously don't live in a small town no matter how you define "small."

Yes, the war on drugs is a complete failure.

Is the sun going to come out today?

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rightthinker 8 years ago

If war on drugs means packing our prisons full of drug offenders, the war is a success.

This question is ridiculous....of course it's a failure. There is more drugs pouring into the US and more people using than ever. Ever heard of meth?

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neopolss 8 years ago

The war on drugs was a failed project from its onset. It took the wrong approach. We focused on illegalization, busts, stings, and going after the drugs themselves. We didn't focus on the factors that contribute to drug use, or educating about its affects. Or maybe its that we (as in government) were not willing to focus on the factors that lead to drug use. Or maybe we just wanted to focus on the "poor" drugs like crack, and have different punishments for coke. Or perhaps we're clinging to a stubborn ideology that doesn't work, and unwilling to admit it. Perhaps, just perhaps, we've become the very parents that we despised growing up.

Luny, we'd all be doinmg road work then. DARE has got you confused on "good" drugs versus "bad" drugs. They are all drugs, and can be good or bad on its usage. Caffeine is a drug, and plenty of us abuse it. In fact, it is probably America's number one drug.

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ljreader 8 years ago

Is Krystal a being from another galaxy?

We live in a society where we are constantly exposed to drug advertisement - There's a drug for everything, most of them having serious adverse side effects- yet they are socially acceptable. Prescription drugs kill more people every year than illegal drugs. Most of these drugs do not cure anything, but merely treat symptoms, and cause 100,000+deaths per year doing it. Most recently, we're hearing about people who take Ambien falling asleep while driving- Maybe we can test THEIR hair. I sure don't want to be on the highway with an Ambien junkie. The only difference between prescription drugs and street drugs is legalization. The only difference between legal and illegal drugs are the drug companies ability to obtain a patent, and dream up a use. I'm tired of hearing about the war on drugs when no attempt is made to patrol borders where much of it is getting in. Even so, alot of it (meth, crack) is manufacturatured in American homes with common ingredients. We had a war on drugs, and the drugs won. I doubt that legalization could make the problem any worse.

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topflight 8 years ago

Isaac, the impoverished also use drugs, and so do people. So yes, it is a war on them. Open your eyes.

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blue73harley 8 years ago

I always liked the "Just Say No" campaign but then I found out it applied to drugs and not marriage.

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enochville 8 years ago

I don't know what the state of drug use would be in America if the war on drugs was never waged, and I doubt anyone who claims to know. One cannot compare us to Europe, or to the USA of the 1940's, both have or had conditions that stabilize society that we do not have.

One thing is for sure, legalizing a drug does not reduce its abuse. Think of how alcohol is abused, over-the-counter diet pills, prescription narcotics, etc. The ingredients for meth are legal, but meth use has become an epidemic. The allure of drugs is not due to its illegality, it is due to their effects on the body and perhaps its status among peers.

I believe our focus should be on: 1) helping people overcome their addictions (as demonstrated by the tv show "Intervention"; so we need more treatment centers), and 2) addressing the issues that drive people to drug use in the first place.

Now, many addicts who go through treatment return to drug use. Anyone who has experience with AA knows that it often takes a few times of quitting before one is able to quit for good.

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holyjim 8 years ago

First! Wow, Krystal must come from somewhere completely off the planet because there isn't an area in the USA that isn't touched by the illegal drug trade. Small towns think they're above this situation, but in reality they're used as traffic/rest/storage areas. Look at Independence, KS or Independence, MO or Rutland, VT or Ponca City, OK and you'll find plenty of people who are thriving in the drug trade. Answer to the question: YES. Prohibition has never worked in any society and it's not working here. People in Saudi Arabia get porn despite it being outlawed by the government. Illegal drugs are easier to get in this country (I don't care where you live, there are illegal drugs in YOUR community) than some prescription meds. Please, give me the "gateway" argument over and over again, it's sooooo antiquated and naive. The real gateway drug is nicotine. Those in power will always deny pleasure to those "beneath" them; try asking for a higher tax on single malt scotch, cigars or country club memberships and see the backlash. Cheers, Jim.

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lunacydetector 8 years ago

no. they should crack down even harder on drug users. it's just like prostitution - go after the johns (drug abusers). there should be mandatory drug testing using hair samples since it will show drug use sometime in the past instead of urine sampling that shows drug use within a very recent time. they should be able to arrest people if drug use shows up in their hair. then, if the culprit's hair sample shows a minor user - give them a sentence of road crew work. that's cheaper labor than an illegal alien. or, let them pick vegetables in a field for a few weeks.

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