Drug Policy

Gotchyer Drug War Roundup


The latest goings-on in that other war:

• A member of the Kuwaiti royal family has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution delves into the culture of the city's narcotics policing, and finds a system rife with perverse incentives. The paper finds that the raid that led to the shooting death of Kathryn Johnston promised a kilo of cocaine -- a one in 1,000 bust. The paper found that pressure to make arrests and the lure of the professional esteem that comes with a big bust encourage police to take shortcuts and manipulate the facts to secure a search warrant. None of this is new or unique to Atlanta, of course.

• GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has hired Mel Sembler as a top money man for his campaign. Sembler, you may remember, is a fierce drug warrior, and in the 1980s and 90s ran Straight, Inc., the string of "tough love" teen rehab centers frequently accused of child abuse.

Outstanding piece attacking the drug war in the NY Times over the weekend from guest columnist Orlando Patterson.

A new report comes to the striking conclusion that -- surprise! -- Canada's war on drugs is an "utter failure."

NEXT: Hollywood and YouTube: Friends or Foes?

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  1. http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/dekalb/stories/2007/01/15/0116metshoot.html

    I would also reccomend this story which is the lead story in the ALJC today. It describes the complete lack of oversight over Dekalb County (suburban Atlanta) police regarding shootings. It is absolutely disgracful.

  2. A few years ago I had hopes for Canada. It looked like they were getting ready to start the trickle that would erode the damn and eventually lead to legal pot throughout the free world. Then the Conservatives were swept into power and all that came to a screeching halt. I wonder if CA will do a one term and out. Especially with a stronger DNC result. Maybe they'll get hash ball rolling again.

  3. Countries like Kuwait and Malaysia demonstrate how much tougher we could be on drugs. C'mon, rise to the challenge!

    Sometimes I wonder whether all these countries that are so tough on drugs are being so on their own volition or with a little "encouragement" from the US.

  4. Which would be better for America?

    Abandoning the war in Iraq, or abandoning the war on drugs?

  5. Warren

    Then the Conservatives were swept into power and all that came to a screeching halt.

    The Conservatives were hardly "swept into power" in Canada. They are paralyzed with a minority government with Liberals and a gaggle of generally leftwing parties in opposition.

    This is hardly an environment in which a "conservative agenda" is going to flourish.

    No, the fact of the matter is that the same biparisan nanny state coalition supports the WOD in the Great White North as it does here.

    The major difference is in the level of punativeness. But then Canada does not even have the same kind of draconian sentences for murderers, rapists and robbers as we do.

    Harper will call an election this year in a bid for a mandate. Look for the Canadian voters to forget what kind of corrupt scum the Liberals are and return them to power.

  6. Which would be better for America?Abandoning the war in Iraq, or abandoning the war on drugs?

    Drugs, definitely.

    - R

  7. TO give credit where it's due: at least Kuwait, unlike America, makes members of the ruling class suffer the same drug penalties as the peons.

    If we did that here, I suspect the war on drugs would have ended years ago.

  8. Let's not forget the upcoming debate (assuming it is still a go) between Barr and Nadelmann.

  9. In Slate today, Anne Applebaum calls for legalizing the Afghan opium trade.


  10. I am definitely looking forward to the debate. I only wish that actual sitting members of the government were willing to have a debate. They are completely unaccountable on this issue.

  11. Non-violent drug offenders will continue to overload our judicial system and prisons as long as we continue treating drug abuse as a criminal issue and not as a medical issue. I believe that marijuana should be legalized and treated the same as alcohol. Legalizing pot would allow domestic cultivation and significantly reduce the billions of dollars flowing into foreign drug cartels. Placing pot in the category of heroin, meth, and cocaine (powder or rock) shows no understanding of the affects of each drug and makes millions of honest Americans de facto criminals. A study conducted by the Rand Corporation with federal funding refuted the view that pot acts as a gateway to hard drugs. (Morral AR, McCaffrey D and Paddock S. Reassessing the Marijuana Gateway Effect. Addiction. December 2002. p. 1493-1504.). In a study that evaluated the effects of alcohol and pot on driving ability, the University of Toronto found that while both substances did produce impairment, the effects of pot were offset by changes in the subject's behavior. "Both substances impair performance," said adjunct professor Alison Smiley, "the more cautious behavior of subjects who received marijuana decreases the drug's impact on performance. Their behavior is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner." The study was published in Health Effects of Cannabis, a publication of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in March, 1999.

  12. Isaac Bartram, from your lips to god's ears. I hope these cons get swept back to Calgary, the religious backwater they crawled out from. If its between humans that are corrupt and jesus-robots that know in their guts exactly how everyone should live i'll take the humans.

  13. When the cure (death to drug traffickers, incarceration for drug users, the human and monetary costs of the "war on drugs") is worse than the disease (the drug trade) then it is time to accept reality and at least lower the cost of what you can't control.

  14. The drug war is only a little over 100 yeras old. Of course it was ramped up a lot ,first with Nixon,then Reagan(raygun)but people should check out Harry Anslinger whom started the massive misinfo campaign which brought us to this point.
    Anything one knows of drugs is a half truth or lie. How many know that opioids,like heroin,are non-toxic. Addictive yes but they do not kill any cells in the body. They are addictive...but that makes it even crazier to make them hard to obtain,because those who need them WILL get them at any cost.
    Alcohol DOES kill many tissues in the body and it is the only substance which has been shown to cause an individual to become violent.
    The drug war has created corruption,gangs with guns,insane police whom do not protect or serve any decent person and theft and prostitution.
    It has limited the study of these drugs and how the body and brain work:the very research which would find a cyre for the overuse of drugs.
    Passing a law does not stop an activity and the jails just fill up more everyday.

  15. Personally, I am getting tired of being asked for more tax increases to build more jails so that the government can lock up more drug users. That approach is a total failure.

    The United States claims to believe in freedom of choice. If you want to take drugs (or smoke, or drink) it is your right to do so. Locking people up for doing something that they WANT to do is just silly. The only victim is themselves.

  16. Well, Bobby, at least you have some sense around here. If pot were legal the most we would have is people who eat, laugh and sleep! I could use a little more of each of those in this world that is spinning way too fast for my head. I have to take legal drugs from the doctor instead of an occasional joint to keep the nerves at bay.
    To lock up people who are on drugs is a mistake. The ones on bad drugs, like crack, need help, not jail time. I have a friend, a woman, incarcerated for about 8 years because of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. She has missed seeing her children grow. They live with her lying, cheating husband who introduced her to the drug then left her. A child molester, they let him out the next day. The big time drug dealers they are out as soon as the bail is posted. You can bet they have people in high places that I believe want the drug problem to continue in order to keep their jobs.
    This is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
    One more thing, I will never again vote for a republican! Never! The rest of the world can do what they wish but beware, not we, but our children and their children's children will be paying for what the Bush adminstration has done!

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