The War on Drugs Is Worse Than NSA Spying

We've simply become accustomed to older, more ingrained abuses.

As Americans obsess over NSA spying, abuse by the IRS and other assaults on our freedom, I can't get my mind off the thousand other ways politicians abuse us.

In their arrogance, they assume that only they solve social problems. They will solve them by banning this and that, subsidizing groups they deem worthy and setting up massive bureaucracies with a mandate to cure, treat and rescue wayward souls.

Their programs fail, and so they pass new laws to address the failures. It's one reason that 22 million people now work for government.

Some of the things they do seem like bigger assaults on our freedom than NSA spying, although we've become accustomed to the older abuses.

Take the drug war.

It's true that some Americans destroy their lives and their families' lives by using drugs. Others struggle with addiction. But if illegal drugs are as horrible and addictive as we've been told, how come the government's own statistics say millions try those drugs but only a small percentage continue using?

Ninety-five percent of those who have tried what we think of as "hard drugs" report not using the substances in the past month.

Columbia University psychology professor Dr. Carl Hart, author of "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery," says "hard" drugs are not as dangerous as the media make them out to be. For 15 years, he's studied the effects of marijuana, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and more on users.

"The data simply shows that the vast majority of people who use these drugs don't go on to become addicted," he said on my show. "In fact, some of these people go on to become president."

He means Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. "All those guys used illegal drugs at some point."

Society has grown more accepting of marijuana, but many people believe crack and meth are far more dangerous and addictive, and that they quickly lead to violent criminal behavior.

"The same thing was said about marijuana in the 1930s," Hart cautions. "People said you use this drug, you go on to commit murder, you go on to use heroin." New drugs always frighten the authorities.

When the panic over meth passes, we may look back on it with amusement, much the way people now look back on the anti-marijuana propaganda film "Reefer Madness."

"That was allowed to happen because few people actually used marijuana," says Hart. The unknown is scarier than the familiar -- like beer.

To learn what drugs really do, Hart advertises for drug users on Craigslist, and then, with government approval, he gives users drugs at his lab at Columbia. He's discovered that drug users' brains react in similar ways to the brains of alcohol consumers.

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  • The Original Jason||

    How do we know that the NSA spying isn't part of the drug war in some way?

  • ||

    I'm sure they've got their grimy little fingers in that too.

  • entropy||

    It's probably funding them.

  • John Galt||

    Parts of the Patriot Act exist only as tools in the drug war. It would be really surprising if the NSA spying was not part of the drug war.

  • Loki||

    If they aren't already I'm sure it's just a matter of time until the program expands from trying to go after teh terrists to going after teh drugz. Mission creep and all that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's all bad. In a very real sense, all the WoD and WoT serve as are excuses to expand government power. Just like the WoP did.

  • cavalier973||

    The "War on Drugs" is a ploy to get conservative-types to embrace a police state.

  • John Galt||

    If that's the case it's working very well with both Democrats and Republicans.

  • Rich||

    It's wars all the way down. 8-(

  • entropy||

    That's WoPs, plural. There was a lot more than just 1 greasy Italian immigrant trying to italicize the place up with his dego crime.

  • Pro Libertate||

    P is for poverty, unless you mean Episiarch. Then WoP is right.

  • ||

    That's a-spicy meat-a-ball!

  • Pro Libertate||

    And, as with all of these "wars," the declared enemy is doing just fine. I mean, how hard is it to drone-strike Episiarch? Another Obama campaign promise that was a big lie.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Are you kidding me, ProL?

    Do you know what would happen if Epi was droned? Warty would happen, that's what. Warty would go full rage and rea-rocket directly to DC and SMASH the puny whitehouse with his mighty phallus.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, yes, Warty's celebration might be violent and over the top, but we run that risk every sports season. Technically, a team from Cleveland could win it all.

  • ||

    You can't drone strike me, you fool. If you drone strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What, dead? What are you going to do, bleed on us?

  • NeonCat||

    Liver damage from drinking at the wake?

  • gaoxiaen||

    That's Dago, you stupid Pollock.

  • Brett L||

    WoP is War on People, right?

  • cavalier973||

    Take the drug war. Please.

    I'll teach my kids to stay away from narcotics, without help from an intrusive government, thank you.

  • Brandon||

    I'll teach my kids to use narcotics responsibly and safely.

  • John||

    Sure it is. But two things to remember. First, the WOD has been around for 40+ years and has totally manestisized into the body politic. So we are getting pretty much the full harm from the WOD. The NSA program is new. It hasn't had time to reach its full potential for abuse. Give it another 30 years and then come talk to me about which is worse.

    Second, the NSA program is easier to kill that the WOD. So the payoff for going after it is higher.

  • cavalier973||

    I agree.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Secret snooping is not easier to kill, because it's secret; how do you know they aren't still doing it?

    Whereas the drug war throws people in jail and is very public. You could tell if it's gone.

    Snooping is easier to scream about and make enough noise the the politicians put on a show of having stopped it. But all they have to do is hide it a bit better, rename it, anything to make the noise stop, and people think it's dead.

  • Drake||

    In the Infantry, when you want to destroy the enemy, you pin them down with fire and attack from several directions simultaneously. Calling one worse than the other is meaningless - they are both assaults on our freedom by our federal government.

  • LynchPin1477||

    It seems to me that pretty much any drug can be used without risk to anyone but the user. Are there any drugs that make you so batshit crazy and violent that this isn't likely to be the case? I seem to remember PCP having this reputation from my drug ed classes back in school but I don't put a whole lot of stock in those anymore...

  • sarcasmic||

    Remember Mutual of Omaha, and how they'd shoot a rhino or some other African fauna with a tranquilizer dart from a helicopter?
    Know what drug was in that dart?
    PCP.
    The fact that it is a large animal tranquilizer leads me to question the government stories about it turning people into dangerous wild-men.

  • fried wylie||

    Remember Mutual of Omaha, and how they'd shoot a rhino or some other African fauna with a tranquilizer dart from a helicopter?

    1st taste is free, fucking Pushers.

  • SugarFree||

    They replaced PCP with ketamine, which is also called a dangerous party drug. So dangerous is dread ketamine, they give to women when they are in labor.

  • sarcasmic||

    Does it give them superhuman strength so they can just squirt that puppy out?

  • SugarFree||

    No, since 1974 they are given it case they need super-strength to defend themselves.

  • Brett L||

    I highly suggest watching Apocalypse Now on ketamine. It almost makes sense.

  • SugarFree||

    I had a friend that came over with some other people while he was tripping on LSD. He was quiet and no one was paying attention to him. Apocalypse Now came on the TV, and when the napalm boils boiling across the screen in that opening monologue, he screamed, bolted out the back door and ran into a wooden fence in the backyard at full speed.He bounced off it like a cartoon. He wasn't even all that hurt.

  • shamalam||

    That's a funny story!

  • sarcasmic||

    IIRC, the PATRIOT Act took powers and tactics that were already being employed in the war on drug users and expended it to the war on brown Muslims. So all the abuses that "began" as a result of that Act were already being employed against traffickers of politically incorrect chemicals.

    It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the NSA tactics people are complaining about were also already being employed in the war on the pursuit of happiness.

  • Hugh Akston||

    John Stossel on Why Getting Your Skull Bashed in is Worse Than Getting Shot

  • kinnath||

    http://www.salon.com/2013/06/1.....n_america/

    Dear Cary,

    I write to you about the idea of identity, particularly my identity as an American in the wake of the NSA warrantless wiretapping and PRISM program. Growing up, perhaps naively, I have carried this ideal of America, freedom, liberty and the right to privacy as absolutes. . . .

    . . . . Feelings about the virtue of a state can border on the religious. The Founding Fathers wrote some brilliant and at times poetic documents. But those documents are not sacred. They are secular. They are concerned with governance.

    Governance is concerned with the world as it is. In the world as it is, governments lie, cheat, murder, spy and steal. Those documents written by our Founding Fathers were concerned with limiting that. They were concerned with limiting that because that is what governments do.

    Closer, getting closer . . . .

  • Brett L||

    For once, his previous life as a junkie has given Cary Tennis some insight. Also, if they lose the Salon and the Slashdot crowd, the statists are fucked. Which won't happen, but I did enjoy something that felt like hope while typing it for a brief instant.

  • Loki||

    I did enjoy something that felt like hope...

    I wonder what that feels like. I gave up on hope a long time ago.

  • sloopyinca||

    While equally immoral, the WoD at least has the air of legality about it, as distasteful as it is for me to say it. The NSA spying scandal is an attack on the founding principles of our nation.

    That said, if there was no such thing as a FDA, DEA or a CDC or any other federal agency illegally (IMO) overseeing the drug war, then the states would be free to keep legal or illegal whatever they chose...the way the founders intended it.

  • sarcasmic||

    The NSA spying scandal is an attack on the founding principles of our nation.

    I guess "pursuit of happiness" didn't include getting high.

  • sloopyinca||

    I guess "pursuit of happiness" didn't include getting high.

    Serious answer: not nearly as much as the Fourth Amendment spells out the process by which a warrant is to be obtained and how evidence can be collected.

  • sarcasmic||

    Serious response: nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government police powers. That was left to the states.

  • sloopyinca||

    Good point. I hadn't really thought of that since the fedgov having police powers has been around so long I just assumed it had been ruled Constitutional.

  • sarcasmic||

    Lots of things are ruled Constitutional that by any reading of the plain text are not. For example I don't see the word "reasonable" in the text of the 2A, but the Nazgul Supremes claim it to be there.

  • WTF||

    The WoD is a blatant violation of the Constitution, so I'm not seeing the air of legality. At least when the feds wanted to prohibit booze, they had the decency to pass an Amendment giving themselves the authority to do so.

    They prohibit drugs because "fuck you, that's why".

  • sloopyinca||

    The federal WoD is. The states doing the same is perfectly legal.

    I will accept your and sarcasmic's corrections to my first point and admit that I was wrong.

  • gaoxiaen||

    More like the air of the outhouse.

  • cavalier973||

    I'm not even sure tobacco/nicotine is as addictive as is claimed.

  • entropy||

    Nicotine is probably the most physically addictive drug ever.

    No really.

    All the same - it's not to say people can't quit, even without smoke cessation aids.

    But yeah - if you can go cold turkey on nicotine you can quit anything.

  • sarcasmic||

    I quit with Chantix. Took the Chantix for two weeks. After the first week I quit smoking. After the second week I got sick of the side effects of the Chantix (strange dreams and excessive flatulence) so I stopped.

    That was three years ago. Now I steal one of my wife's smokes most weekends. Have yet to get re-hooked.

  • sloopyinca||

    I light up from time to time when I'm drinking heavily, and I have an urge to do so. And when I do, I often smoke a pack in 6 hours or so.

    Funny that the next day, I do not even think of having a smoke...or any other time unless I'm hammering down the booze.

  • Brett L||

    I light up from time to time when I'm drinking heavily, and I have an urge to do so. And when I do, I often smoke a pack in 6 hours or so.

    Quit (again) when I found out I was gonna be a babydaddy. I restarted because I went from drinking in bars once a month to once a day. Going from being a full-time student with a full-time job to just a full-time worker was awesome. I'm hoping that after the baby gets here the gf will cheat when she drinks and I'll have an excuse.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm hoping that after the baby gets here the gf will cheat when she drinks and I'll have an excuse.

    That sentence could be misconstrued so many different ways...especially in this den of immorality.

  • Brett L||

    Only on the smoking... really!

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, that's a bummer because Banjos and I are getting ready to send out the post-partum key party invitations. I guess I'll tell her to leave you two off the list.

  • Brett L||

    That's gonna be one hell of a NYE. We'll make an exception.

  • sarcasmic||

    key party

    To each their own.

  • sarcasmic||

    I restarted because I went from drinking in bars once a month to once a day.

    I think back to those days and wonder how I was able to afford it.

  • Brett L||

    $2500/semester in tuition and $500/semester in books was $25/night in found money.

  • Whahappan?||

    Same here, I smoke when I'm hanging out (and of course drinking) with friends that smoke, then don't have another cigarette until I'm with them again. I used to smoke regularly in my teenage years, then gave it up with half a pack left. Just up and decided to quit. My friends back then all smoked, and eventually I started smoking again when drinking together. That was over years ago.

  • DWC||

    I've taken all sorts of drugs - mostly legal - and far and away the worse drug to come off of is the SDRI Effexor. Truly frightening.

  • Fate||

    I quit smoking 29 days ago. I'd smoked for 22 years. No cessation aids.

    Honestly, not anywhere near as difficult as I expected.

  • Gene||

    I wish you success, I've managed to quit twice for about two years each time. I've managed to quit cigarettes for good however cigars aren't proving so easy.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I quit seven times, once for a whole year. Long-term is a bitch. Gaining twenty pounds didn't make me too happy. Now I just cut down by smoking low tar and nicotine and sometimes a little dip.

  • cavalier973||

    Ninety-five percent of those who have tried what we think of as "hard drugs" report not using the substances in the past month.

    Oh, yeah; right. Like I'm going to trust the word of a drug addict.

  • Tim||

    Wars on Drugs, Terror, all pushing The Bill of Rights into a death spiral of exceptions and emergency clauses.

  • Raven Nation||

    "He's discovered that drug users' brains react in similar ways to the brains of alcohol consumers."

    Which to statists, of course, is an argument for controlling and restricting alcohol not de-restricting drugs.

  • Hopfiend||

    War is a racket, no matter what the war is on. Smedley Butler's work can be applied to so many things in our society.

  • John Galt||

    Whether you're a drug warrior, a drug user, a drug dealer, or employed in any one of a wide assortment of "professions" from lawyer to prison warden there are few rackets in the world in which so much money is passed through so many hands. The drug war won't be ending anytime soon.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Society has grown more accepting of marijuana, but many people believe crack and meth are far more dangerous and addictive,

    Crack and meth aren't more dangerous than marijuana? Is this a new talking point or a Stosselism?

  • John||

    Yeah. I am all for legalization. But I am not going to pretend some drugs are not actually dangerous. More power to you if you want to take the risk. But it is a risk.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    You can OD on crack or meth and the longterm health effects are worse. However, a lot of the short term danger of those drugs is that they are almost always cut with whatever the dealer has lying around. Street dealers don't exactly have a QC department to make sure their customers are happy with the product. While they may have a slight interest in not killing off their customers, there are always more people to sell to.

    Meth also varies greatly in quality just from a production standpoint. A junkie mixing up chemicals in a jug on the side of the road is going to get shitty, potentially dangerous meth. Someone with a nice chemistry set, measuring exactly, using pure ingredients is going to get very pure, generally safe meth.

    This, for me, is the biggest reason to legalize ALL drugs, not just pot. If actual companies, with business rep and a public face, were making the drugs the users could be pretty certain of the purity and content of the drugs.

    Alcohol during prohibition was terrible. They had to make it any way they could, so they weren't always big on quality. But people drank it gladly because it was available.

  • entropy||

    That's the thing. If we're to actually be rational about it, the 'risk' of a line of coke at party is essentially nil.

    Compared to something like pot, they are extremely more risky and harmful if used in excess. It's more addictive and if you're addicted and doing it daily, you'll die.

    But if you use them recreationally, or medicinally to alleviate specific symptoms, there really isn't any risk. They can be used safely. Both cocaine and methamphetamines in the past have been used in OTC type medications (original Coca-Cola, weight loss pills, all sorts of shit).

  • SugarFree||

    In the 50s and 60s, methamphetamines were the standard treatment for agoraphobia and other social anxiety disorders.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Or presently, for fatigue if you happen to be flying a combat mission. It depends on whose side you're on. I've know cops that liked to do desoxin before they go on duty. Gives them the "edge" over the bad guys.

  • gaoxiaen||

    *known

  • Drake||

    Yes - All drugs are a risk. All mentally competent adults should be allowed to make those judgements for themselves.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, I never thought about this before, but wouldn't consuming a bottle of bleach be more dangerous than any psychotropic drug? Yet most households have bleach. Why is bleach legal?

  • kinnath||

    Can you get high on bleach?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Is the stated opposition to psychotropic drugs just that you can get high?

  • SugarFree||

    What else could it be? There a hundreds of chemicals I can go buy right now that I could kill myself with, but are legal because you can't get high.

    I think a single gallon of anti-freeze would be enough to kill everyone in this building.

  • Raven Nation||

    Well, that comment should bring the NSA knocking with a drone.

  • entropy||

    There are hundreds of chemicals that you can get high with, but still are legal.

    BUT, it is illegal to get high with them.

  • SugarFree||

    That's true. But they are generally chemicals that will fuck you up.

    Bela Lugosi was a morphine addict for almost 50 years. He was finally forced into rehab and died a few months later.

  • entropy||

    Well... most things that fuck you up fuck you up. That's why people say "I'm so fucked up!" when they get fucked up.

    Meaning probably the majority of things that get you high, you feel all high because you have shortcircuited or otherwise futzed with your normal wiring. With most poison, it's a matter of degrees that separates 'I feel great!' from 'you're dead'. Alcohol is a good example.

    They don't ban stuff because it fucks up your health. They ban stuff because it gets you high.

    In fact, stuff that gets you high and kills you is generally unlikely to get banned, and all over the place.

    Stuff that gets you high safely is the MOST likely to get banned.

    I don't know about any "stated" opposition, but yes - blatantly so - the opposition is to getting high. Not getting hurt. They don't give a shit if you get hurt or not. They just don't want you to enjoy it.

    Common tactic is to add poisons that will kill you to poisons that will make you high safely, so that people will die if they try to get high on them. That's totally OK, totally legal. Selling the same stuff without the extra poison would be illegal though. Illegal, specifically because it won't kill you getting high on it.

  • sarcasmic||

    They just don't want you to enjoy it.

    Puritans are alive and well. They just wear different costumes.

  • Almanian!||

    Cosplay with Puritans is no fun. No fun at all.

  • Inigo M.||

    This is a very interesting thought! In effect, they are trying to stamp out what's been called the Dionysian principle, which is the built-in human drive to party and just feel good some of the time.

    It's a wonder they haven't banned sex, or at least had the government tightly regulate its use. Maybe that's coming next. :(

  • Loki||

    It's a wonder they haven't banned sex, or at least had the government tightly regulate its use. Maybe that's coming next.

    You really should stop giving them ideas.

  • John Galt||

    When I was a kid a neighbor girl tried to commit suicide by drinking bleach. The thought of asking her if drinking bleach made her high never crossed my mind.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Laundry dude, the whites.

  • Rich||

    Why does anyone *need* white laundry?

  • entropy||

    Institutional racism makes them believe that white is superior.

  • Inigo M.||

    Well, I have to admit I'm somewhat prejudiced against underwear of color, except for the colors that were on it when it first came out of the package. Colors imparted by wearing are usually not desirable - but I guess that's my bigotry talking.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Embarrasing skid marks.

  • SugarFree||

    I think the point he is making is that while marijuana is being recognized as having few ill effects like the ones always described by drug warriors, the same period of time has seen the claims about the publically ascribed dangers of crack and meth become more hysteric and outlandish.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm waiting for a reason why it's not a federal crime for me to ingest bleach, which is far more dangerous than a single dose of any drug.

  • Rich||

    Stop giving them ideas!

  • SugarFree||

    Finding pleasure in anything the government disapproves of is the ultimate sin. They'd ban heterosex if they didn't need the next generation of taxpayers and useful idiots.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I'm waiting for recognition of my brilliant repurposing of a Walter Sobchak quote.

  • ||

    It is a federal crime to do so. Take a look at your bottle of bleach or Tilex or whatever when you get home. It's a federal crime to use it in any way other than that described on the label.

  • SugarFree||

    Sounds like I picked the wrong week to stop huffing Freon.

  • ||

    Is there ever a right week for such things?

  • SugarFree||

    [the sad sound of a thousand bongs being spilled at once]

  • Brett L||

    I had a friend decide that the one ice storm Austin had in 5 years was the perfect time to start huffing again. Broke his back and he was always a little slower after that. You could see the words were going through his mind faster than his mouth could sort them out sometimes. I think he stuck to alcohol, marijuana and cocaine after that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The laws I am unaware of could fill thousands of large tomes. And I'm a trained professional.

  • sarcasmic||

    Crack and meth aren't more dangerous than marijuana?

    They're quite a bit more dangerous. Because of the higher criminal penalties involved, the people who deal the stuff tend to have a greater propensity for violence than mere marijuana dealers. Pissing them off can be hazardous to your health.
    Oh, you mean the drugs themselves? Tried all three. Didn't like meth or crack. Wasn't instantly addicted or anything like that. Meth kept me up all night without much of a high, and crack was a super high followed by a super low, again while being unable to sleep. Didn't like either. Didn't like them at all. Still like a puff or two of the good herb here and there.

  • M.Talley||

    Yea this was the one part of the article I found really erroneous. While I don't think the government can tell you what you can and cannot put into your body, I don't think you can act like crack and meth are even remotely close to marijuana.

  • Tony||

    The War on Drugs is indeed one of the great scandals of our time. How does John Stossel feel about the private prison industry, I wonder.

  • Calidissident||

    How do you feel about the police and prison guard unions? (This isn't even a defense of private prisons, it's just ridiculous how liberals pretend that they're the only reason we have insane drug laws)

  • entropy||

    How does Tony feel about the public prison employee unions, I wonder.

  • Rasilio||

    My guess is he would be mostly ambivalent about it as it is just a symptom of the drug war and hyperactive regulatory state.

    Eliminate those 2 problems and you wouldn't have a large enough prison population in the US to support a private prison industry.

  • sarcasmic||

    I doubt Tony understands the distinction between a symptom and a cause.

  • ||

    "How does John Stossel feel about the private prison industry, I wonder."

    Well, we can't just eliminate them. The economy might contract.

    If we want to legalize drugs, we'll probably have to pay the prison unions off, and possibly give them empty cells to guard after legalization. Otherwise, they won't let it happen.

    Still, while that avoids firing anyone, it doesn't allow the prison unions to keep growing, and that will be enough to upset their leaders.

    Social change through government. How efficient. I'm just glad no one can get high.

  • Sevo||

    "Miley Cyrus: ‘Alcohol is more dangerous than weed’"
    "Former child star Miley Cyrus has defended her decision to smoke weed, insisting it is far less dangerous than alcohol."
    http://blog.sfgate.com/dailydi.....than-weed/
    When you've lost Miley Cyrus, well.....

  • Almanian!||

    Towelie is happy that Miley is down with the struggle.

    Of course, Towelie hss no idea what's goin' on....

  • ||

    Well, at least the cops need a warrent to search your home for drugs.

    The real danger of the NSA domestic espionage program is the way that it blurs the lines between foreign intelligence and domestic policing, and the lack of individual warrents.

    Is it inconeivable to think that one day these surveillance programs might be extended to other law enforcement activities?

    If we're already spying on US persons in communication with foreign terrorists inside the US, one day people will say we should spy on domestic terrorists, and then organized crime, and then gangs and drug dealers, and so on. You make people accustomed to having their communications monitored and it igve government that many more tools with which to pursue policies like the War on Drugs, to that much more terrifying effect.

  • sloopyinca||

    Well, at least the cops need a warrent to search your home for drugs.

    Hahahahahahahahaha. That's a fucking joke, right? All they need is a claim that they thought a crime was in progress or that you were trying to dispose of evidence and they're free to enter into your property at their convenience based on reasonable suspicion without a warrant. And they don't have to prove that that reasonable suspicion existed until much later after being coached by the DA on what to say.

  • Almanian!||

    You know, for a suspicion called "Reasonable"....

  • Inigo M.||

    That was my first thought all along. It's not much of a jump from keeping people safe from terror to keeping the community drug-free, or even "preventing" the next school shooting by identifying and locking up that one weird kid who's a little too much into wizards and World of Warcraft, or whatever.

    I could see them using data obtained from surveillance (ex.: user has "liked" various pro-marijuana Facebook posts) to show probably cause for an in-home search warrant, which might then find someone's stash (or just plant some during the raid) and seize the family's home under zero-tolerance statutes, which I think still exist in some jurisdictions. The government-seized property can then be given to "deserving" poor families who voted the right way or maybe just re-sold for a tidy profit to line a few bureaucrats' pockets.

  • Inigo M.||

    Sorry, probable cause, not probably. Typos galore, as usual.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Just look out for the kids that play Stairway to Heaven backwards.

  • Almanian!||

    The War On Drugs™ is WORSE THAN HITLER! WORSE. THAN. HITLER!

    Yeah, I said it

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yes, but, don't forget, Hitler is worse than the war on drugs! Therefor, we need your tax money to fight ALL of the above, each at a highter priority than the rest! Ad infinitum...

  • Kevin47||

    I agree with the content of this article, but it doesn't really make the case that the drug war is worse than NSA spying.

  • DgcDeuce||

    Please hear me. As much as I agree with 99% of your article, I have to take a contrary stance regarding methamphetamine. Not from a scientific or from a philosophical standpoint, but from my personal experience being around methamphetamine users. Maybe it just stems from the lack of sleep, but methamphetamine users in my experience are multiple kinds of dangerous. From simple carelessness to paranoia to violence to incoherent rage, methamphetamine seems to bring out all of the worst in a person. Sure, so do other drugs sometimes. Alcohol and cocaine use are not the happiest of habits. And yes, heroin has its downsides too, believe it or not. I'm not saying that the federal war on drugs is the right response. What I am saying is that methamphetamine use is a serious issue that deserves our serious response, and now that I'm thinking of it, the crack wars probably justified a federal intervention here or there. If now is the time that we can call off the czars, then lets try to make the transition slowly and thoughtfully, erring on the side of caution. This is not a frivolous matter.

  • Fate||

    And we respond, "Fuck off, slaver."

  • gaoxiaen||

    All we really need to do is keep the CIA out of the coke and heroin wholesale business.

  • DgcDeuce||

    Please hear me. As much as I agree with 99% of your article, I have to take a contrary stance regarding methamphetamine. Not from a scientific or from a philosophical standpoint, but from my personal experience being around methamphetamine users. Maybe it just stems from the lack of sleep, but methamphetamine users in my experience are multiple kinds of dangerous. From simple carelessness to paranoia to violence to incoherent rage, methamphetamine seems to bring out all of the worst in a person. Sure, so do other drugs sometimes. Alcohol and cocaine use are not the happiest of habits. And yes, heroin has its downsides too, believe it or not. I'm not saying that the federal war on drugs is the right response. What I am saying is that methamphetamine use is a serious issue that deserves our serious response, and now that I'm thinking of it, the crack wars probably justified a federal intervention here or there. If now is the time that we can call off the czars, then lets try to make the transition slowly and thoughtfully, erring on the side of caution. This is not a frivolous matter.

  • Libertarianism Sucks||

    "To learn what drugs really do, Hart advertises for drug users on Craigslist, and then, with government approval, he gives users drugs at his lab at Columbia. He's discovered that drug users' brains react in similar ways to the brains of alcohol consumers."

    Isn't that a powerful source of selection bias?

  • Gordilocks||

    Irrelevant.

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • ||

    The war on drugs needs to stop. Prohibition did not work for alcohol and it will not work for marijuana or anything else for that matter. All the government is doing is keeping the jails and prison systems going . They are making money by taken away our freedoms. LEAVE US ALONE !!!!

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    I listened to a speech from a police chief today. It was disgusting. He and everyone in the room assumed it was fact that the only way to prevent degradation of society is to imprison and users of drugs, and that the most effective methods of deterring crime is more police presence and surveillance and harassment of the general public.

  • RagingAlbino||

    John Stossel, I honestly can't like you. Why is it necessary to have priorities in our worries? Isn't it possible to be worried about the NSA spying as well as the War on Drugs, because I do a good job worrying about both.
    I can't take you seriously, John.

  • RagingAlbino||

    And I don't even care if your voice is as soothing as Bob Ross's.

  • RagingAlbino||

    If drugs were legal, drugs like crack and math would not be as dangerous, since there would be companies competing for the best and safest product. The reasoning for much of the danger in drugs like meth is due to the fact that they're made using household chemicals and dangerous techniques to make it. Watch Breaking Bad; they end up making a 99% pure meth. Imagine if all meth was like that due to ccompetition. It would be much safer.

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  • Beezard||

    What's with the false choice anyway? Why is the drug war being worse a reason to not be pissed about the NSA? Is libertarian ire a finite thing that must budgetted carefully? Or did Stossel just miss the cue and feel the need to backpedal himself to safety?

  • Gart Valenc||

    COMMENT [1/3]

    We ought to ask ourselves: whom is the War on Drugs good for? Well, it has been a good war for a whole host of parties that feed off and are fed by the industry, the criminal industry, prohibition really is: financial services, military industrial complex, enforcement agencies, security service providers, corrupt politicians, captains of industry...you name it!

    As far as the US is concerned, it has used the War on Drugs to both blackmail and entice drug producing and transit countries to follow US foreign policies, amongst them, its drugs policies. For instance, it has used the War on Drugs as a securitisation tool, i.e. as a decoy to pursue its national security policies in drug producing and transit countries. The Plan Colombia is a perfect case in point.

    Certification is another tool the US has keenly used to force producing and transit countries to follow US policies. In order to ‘certify’ (or ‘decertify’) a given country, the US State Department evaluates on a regular basis the level of cooperation shown by that country with the US anti-drugs policies, and depending on how strong and committed that cooperation has been in its eyes, the US gives or denies its "seal of approval".

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

    Continues next comment

  • Gart Valenc||

    COMMENT [2/3]

    Needles to say, decertification is no children’s play. . On the one hand, it can have, and does have, serious implications insofar as the the credibility of the country concerned among the international community. On the other, it may have, and does have, dire economic and financial repercussions as well, including withdrawal of US “aid”, difficulties to obtain loans from international lending institutions and trade sanctions.

    And then, there is the icing on the cake: the so-called “aid programmes” such as the Mérida Initiative and the Plan Colombia, for instance.

    For starters, to call them "aid" is a misnomer, a seriously misleading one, for it leads people to believe that they are some sort of donation or gift, but they are not. They are, for all intents and purposes, something akin to "lending money to oneself".

    Even though they are expressed as X or Y amount of dollars, they are actually the equivalent in dollars of the goods and services provided by the "donor", in this case the US—usually helicopters, guns, security companies services, advisers, and so on and so forth.

    Estimates vary according to the specific destinations and objectives of any given “assistance program”, but in many cases the percentage remaining in the US could be as high as 90%.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

    Continues next comment

  • Gart Valenc||

    COMMENT [3/3]

    To add insult to injury, the counterpart, in this case Mexico or Colombia, is usually required to match, although not necessarily dollar to dollar, what it has received from the "donor".

    It is estimated, for instance, that Mexico spends 13 US dollars for every dollar the US "gives" to Mexico to enforce the War on Drugs. And guess what, the lion's share of this expenditure is not spent in goods and services provided by Mexican or Colombian companies, but by companies overseas, mainly US suppliers.

    One thing is for sure, US “aid” is not a gift to the countries concerned; rather, it is an economic mechanism to prop up industries and services in the US. As history has shown us again and again, every war has losers...but it has winners, too. And judging by what has happened over the last 50 years, I would say the biggest winners have been those who feed off and are fed by the war on drugs.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

  • gaoxiaen||

    It also depopulates and defoliates vast swaths of the hinterlands, making it much easier for big mining and oil interests to swoop in and make megabucks without messy ethnic cleansing.

  • Kayra E||

    I find this article ludicrous. To even suggest the idea that drugs such as crack or methamphetamine could have little to no negative affect on it's users is misguided and wrong. You are just as bad as the government "hyping up" these drugs, by downgrading the negative affects on them as well. Are you trying to say that so long as someone who uses cocaine weekly, monthly, etc., it won't have any long-standing affects on their psyche or general well being? I've seen the affects crack has on it's user when my mother's boyfriend broke into our home at 4 am when I had work just a few short hours later, than proceeded to put a knife and then a gun to his mother's head for more money to buy crack. This is a good man who got involved in a bad habit. Methamphetamine use has a high association with depression and suicide as well as serious heart disease, amphetamine psychosis, anxiety, and violent behaviors. Some users even experience schizophrenic like behaviors upon taking the drug. It's scientifically proven that methamphetamine has addictive chemicals in the drug. The same goes for alcohol, too. I drink often in social environments but I'm well aware of the affects it will have and probably already has had on my liver. Before trying any drug, despite the publicized "potency" of the drug (and this includes alcohol), you should make yourself aware of these facts.

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