Attn, DC Reasonoids: Sullum vs. Meese, March 9

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This isn't really a fair fight, but that should make it all the more enjoyable:

An Analytic Assessment of U.S. Drug Policy

Start: Thursday, March 9, 2006 11:00 AM

End: Thursday, March 9, 2006 12:30 PM

Location: Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036

In its efforts to control the use of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other illegal drugs, the United States spends about $35 billion per year in public funds. Almost half a million dealers and users are incarcerated. In An Analytic Assessment of U.S. Drug Policy (AEI Press, 2005), policy analysts David Boyum and Peter Reuter provide an assessment of how poorly this massive investment of tax dollars and government authority is working.

Boyum and Reuter assert that tough enforcement–the centerpiece of American drug policy in terms of rhetoric, budget, and substance–has little to show by way of success. They also argue that the eradication of drug crops should not necessarily be a routine aspect of international interdiction programs, especially when it conflicts with other foreign policy objectives.

By contrast, more effective or promising drug control policies remain underfunded. Most significantly, drug treatment services are in short supply, even though research indicates that treatment expenditures easily pay for themselves in terms of reduced crime and improved productivity.

The panel, including Edwin Meese, Rand Beers, and Jacob Sullum, will discuss the authors' conclusions.

More info and RSVP here.

Reason interview with Peter Reuter about his previous book, Drug War Heresies, here.

Sullum on the new book here.

NEXT: England Goes the Way of Ireland

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  1. How old is Ed Meese these days? He wasn’t exactly a spring chicken back during the Reagan administration.

  2. I don’t know if I wanna hug or slug him:

    On a school trip to DC recently, one of my teenage Republicans kissed (on the cheek) and hugged ED MEESE, after he engaged in a private conversation at the Heritage Foundation. Just thought you would be interested. Meese turned beet red. It was hilarious. He was very gracious

    http://www.wonkette.com/index.php?page=2

  3. Good lord.

    You must provide a transcript or one of those “podcasts” I keep hearing so much about.

  4. “By contrast, more effective or promising drug control policies remain underfunded. Most significantly, drug treatment services are in short supply, even though research indicates that treatment expenditures easily pay for themselves in terms of reduced crime and improved productivity.”

    Interesting, because this suggests public funding of drug rehab programs. If the above statement is true, is this something that Mr. Sullum will support as an allowable exception to libertarian principles? Or am I grossly misrepresenting libertarianism, or being unfair to Mr. Sullum by assuming that he never deviates from the libertarian party line?

    I guess if crime prevention is one of the effects of drug treatment programs, a libertarian could justify it on the grounds that this is a basic function of government.

  5. I guess if crime prevention is one of the effects of drug treatment programs, a libertarian could justify it on the grounds that this is a basic function of government.

    Or perhaps crime mitigation. If drug use were no longer criminalized, the crime that occurs as a result of drug laws (e.g., a junkie stealing to support his habit) would not occur, or occur less frequently.

    There is also the incrementalist view that any lessening of the government’s heavy hand (and wallet) in anti-drug law enforcement would be an improvement.

  6. Yeah, but I wasn’t talking about the anti-prohibition angle, I was talking about public funding of something like drug treatment clinics.

    Although I also see your point, if drugs were legal addicts would probably not have to turn to crime to support their habits.

  7. drugs were legal addicts would probably not have to turn to crime to support their habits. hahahahha So if women will get on their four when we yell at them then there won’t be any more rapes, right? Drug addicts will comit crimes because drug, legal or not cost money and drug addicts can’t hold a job more than two days. Still, I support legalising drugs before illegalising tobacco.

  8. Drug addicts will commit crimes because drug, legal or not cost money and drug addicts can’t hold a job more than two days.

    If drug use was that obvious we wouldn’t be peeing in cups every month or so.

    Think how much money has to be spent on illegal drugs to keep the dealers, their country-running suppliers, and their bribees in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

    That money isn’t coming from the dead-end homeless junky in the hood. There aren’t that many dollars available in poor neighborhoods. Most drug sales have to be made to middle and upper class adults, the vast majority of which are gainfully employed, because there simply isn’t anywhere else for so much cash to come from.

    But no one wants to turn over that rock.

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