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Free Minds & Free Markets

Jeff Sessions' Terrible Truth About Drugs Is a Lie

The attorney general stages a revival of the "Just Say No" show.

"Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life," Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared last week. The main problem with that message: It isn't true.

Yes, using drugs, both legal and illegal ones, can destroy your life, but typically it doesn't. By arguing that drug education should proceed from a false premise, Sessions reminds us what was wrong with the Just Say No propaganda he would like to revive.

Sessions, a former senator who was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in the 1980s, looks back proudly at his efforts, alongside Nancy Reagan, to "create a hostility to drug use." For Sessions as for Reagan, tolerance is a dirty word.

"We must create an atmosphere of intolerance for drug use in this country," the first lady wrote in a 1986 Washington Post op-ed piece. "Each of us has a responsibility to be intolerant of drug use anywhere, anytime, by anybody."

Sessions likewise emphasizes the importance of "preventing people from ever taking drugs in the first place," even if "this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use." The "prevention" Sessions favors is not simply unfashionable; it is fundamentally dishonest.

Among other things, Sessions said at a Senate hearing last April, prevention aims to teach teenagers that "good people don't smoke marijuana." According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, something like 118 million Americans have used marijuana, 36 million of them in the last year. Does Sessions honestly think all those people are bad, or that anyone would believe they are?

"Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction will result in better choices," Sessions says. But his terrible truth sounds a lot like a lie.

Sessions claims marijuana is "only slightly less awful" than heroin, and in 2014 he strenuously objected after President Obama conceded that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. "I'm heartbroken," Sessions said. "It's stunning to me. I find it beyond comprehension."

Judging from his response, Sessions literally did not comprehend Obama's point. Sessions tried to rebut Obama's statement about the relative hazards of marijuana and alcohol by declaring that "Lady Gaga says she's addicted to [marijuana] and it is not harmless."

Let's put aside the merits of treating Lady Gaga as an expert on the effects of marijuana, or of extrapolating from this sample of one to the experiences of cannabis consumers generally. The most disturbing aspect of Sessions' argument was his failure to grasp that one substance can be less dangerous than another without being harmless.

Saying marijuana is less hazardous than alcohol by several important measures—including impairment of driving ability, the risk of a fatal overdose, and the long-term damage caused by heavy use—is not the same as saying marijuana is 100 percent safe. Sessions not only has no patience for such nuance; he considers it a menace to the youth of America.

Sessions is especially offended by the suggestion that marijuana legalization could reduce opioid-related harm by providing a safer alternative. "Give me a break," he said in a recent speech to the National Association of Attorneys General. "It's just almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits."

Uncharacteristically, Sessions conceded that "maybe science will prove I'm wrong." If he bothered to research the subject, he would discover that several studies have found an association between medical marijuana laws and reductions in opioid prescriptions, opioid-related deaths, and fatally injured drivers testing positive for opioids.

Sessions plainly is not interested in what the evidence shows. Although he says law enforcement officials have a duty to "speak truth as best we can," he seems to view truth as the enemy in the war on drugs. Nancy Reagan, who said drug use "isn't fun" and insisted "you cannot separate drug use that 'doesn't hurt anybody' from drug use that kills," would have been proud.

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  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Jesus is a hell of a drug.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    Government is a drug from Hell.

  • american socialist||

    If he just does this so it can be a check the box and do something and not actually go after states this would be preferable

  • Conchfritters||

    Was Nancy Reagan a bitch or what?

  • jmg09||

    I thought John Ashcroft covering up the boobies on a statue was embarrassing enough. Why do Republicans insist on having embarrassing people as Attorney General. (Not that Eric Holder wasn't embarrassing, it was just a different kind of embarrassing.)

  • Wizard with a Woodchipper||

    I'd say that the left gives us lawless AGs.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah, Holder was the villain from a '90s buddy-cop action movie. Ashcroft and Sessions are the villains from an '80s teen sex comedy.

  • jmg09||

    That's it!

  • Al Ex||

    you win the thread Citizen X

  • Rhywun||

    Meh, as long as "Say No to Drugs" still plays with a big enough chunk of America, they'll keep dishing it out.

  • Schizoidman_21||

    it doesn't

  • Wizard with a Woodchipper||

    Girl Scout Somoas are ruining my waste line. I cannot say no.

  • Al Ex||

    your waste line or your waist line? I suppose it could be both.

  • IamDonWYo||

    Perhaps everything on the other side of that line is wasted, in WwaW's opinion. Which direction and why I will not opine upon.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sessions is giving McCain a run for his money in the senile-old-dingbat-with-a-stick-up-his-ass category.

  • Conchfritters||

    Let me apply McCain logic to Sessions' position on drugz:

    "The [Secretary Of State] is now working for [Sinaloa Cartel]"

    "The only conclusion you can draw...is he has no argument to be made. He has no justification for his objection to [allowing States that legalized marijuana]. So, I repeat again: The [Secretary Of State] is now working for [La Familia Michoacana Cartel]."

    The Secretary Of State literally supports the Gulf Cartel, Los Antrax, La Barredora, Los Mexicles, Los Pelones, Knights Templar Cartel, Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Los Rastrojos, the Juarez Cartel, La Linea, Barrio Azteca, Oaxaxa Cartel, Melineo Cartel, Beltran-Leyva Cartel, Los Zetas, and the Independent Cartel of Acapulco. They all see eye to eye and stand in solidarity with one another in keeping drugs illegal in the US. Let me repeat that again - Jeff Sessions, based on his positions on this issue, is working hand in hand, and is in bed with the drug cartels.

  • balff||

    "Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life," Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared last week. The main problem with that message: It isn't true.

    Sure it is - get caught with drugs and watch your life go to shit.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    "Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life,"

    Remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.

  • Brandybuck||

    And if the drugs don't destroy your life, the government will!

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    Is it cool to say that pot smokers are dumb fucking retards who should be left alone to be dumb fucking retards?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That's just, like, your opinion, man.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    Ex actly.

  • Zeb||

    "Cool" in what sense?

    In my experience, dumb fucking retards occur among pot smokers at roughly the same rate as they do in the general population.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    General population is not 100% dumb fucking retards. (or is it?)

    Pot smokers are 100%.

  • Zeb||

    Sounds like someone needs a bong hit.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    I'd hate to break my 43.5 year streak.

  • Zeb||

    And I wouldn't really encourage you to.

  • Schizoidman_21||

    that's about as retarded a comment as I've heard. I could say that all forum geeks named Sparky are 100 % retarded, but you're the only one here by that name.

    so looks like I was right after all.

  • Eman||

    Including (maybe especially) Carl Sagan?

  • SIV||

    Not only cool it's totally true.

  • Brandybuck||

    The problem with "Just Say No" is that it didn't stop at just saying no. There were police and courts and jails involved as well.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "Just Say No (or else we will kick through your door in the middle of the night and burn your life to the ground)."

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, it's fine as general advice to young people. The problem is when it becomes "say no, or else..."

  • EscherEnigma||

    "just say no or we'll throw a flashbang into your babies crib"

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That particular incident was more like "Just say no or we'll go to the house you used to live in and throw a flashbang into the crib of your baby cousin who lives there now."

  • Eman||

    For some reason I don't find that terribly threatening.

  • Darth Soros||

    I can't imagine ever becoming stupid enough to become a drug addict; but if I do, Mr. Sessions, remember this: it's my life to destroy.

  • Darth Soros||

    I can't imagine ever becoming stupid enough to become a drug addict; but if I do, Mr. Sessions, remember this: it's my life to destroy.

  • John G Chase||

    Sessions believes if the evidence conflicts with his belief, the evidence is false. Cannabis legalization is so far past the tipping point, and Congress so averse to wasting taxpayers' money, pot is safe. I hope.

  • ||

    Marijuana has been illegal since 1937 because most Americans have disliked the kind of people who enjoy marijuana.

    They were not bothered that marijuana smokers were ruining their health. They were afraid that marijuana smokers were enjoying themselves.

    Fortunately, this seems to be changing.

  • pxfragonard||

    He has an opinion. A difference of opinion is not a lie, even if it's wrong. Saying something he knows for a fact to be untrue would be a lie. Prove he knows it's not true and your headline isn't a bloviating untruth.

  • gaoxiaen||

    law enforcement officials have a duty to "speak truth as best we can".

    The best they can do is to lie.

  • Nominalis||

    Telling naturally rebellious teenagers to "just say no" challenges them to "just say yes" to anything, anytime, anywhere with anyone.

  • Eman||

    Right and then thinking that perhaps you were lied to about heroin as well (you were) is a 1000% rational response. My argument about drugs is that any drug is only half the problem (for people for whom it is a problem). Its the interaction between a drug and your own specific biochemistry that can become problematic, so trying to apply a one size fits all rule over a population is gonna produce some results that don't make sense.

  • Arnieus||

    Jeff Sessions is either ignorant or a liar. And I don't think he is ignorant. We have fraud, theft, treason, sedition, murder and pedofeelya going on on a global scale. Real threats to the continued existence of our Republic. The only thing this old fool has the balls to do is harass half the country that wants to smoke pot legally. BTW, the constitution does not grant the federal government the authority to ban anything. The only thing he could possibly accomplish is to return profits from ridiculously priced illicit drugs to drug cartels, at the expense of states that are benefiting from the taxes. Maybe that is the idea.

    If he really wants to take on drugs all he has to do is go across town to the CIA and DEA and replace all the drug dealers. The war on drugs is and always has been a war on competition and privacy. The CIA under GHW Bush, with the help of Bill Clinton shipped in tons of cocaine into Arkansas. Their favored suppliers were protected. This is all well documented. Sessions and Trump for that matter can not possibly be ignorant of these facts, so everything Sessions is saying is just BS playing to the ignorant.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Um... the Harrison Act passed as a tax, not as a ban--which is how it is enforced with the Suprema Corte evidently unaware of any jurisdiction problem. The Suprema Corte DID rule against Root's constitutional challenge to the 18th Amendment and Volstead Act. That, incidentally, is the Suprema Corte "precedent" Gorsuch is eager to "respect."

    As for OUR politicians and prosecutors--men of integrity like Harding, Nixon, Bushes, Anslinger and Sessions--turning around and reselling confiscated cocaine... meh. That's be dishonest.

  • Hank Phillips||

    People who believe in taking from others by force (asset forfeiture) also think it's OK to lie. Sessions believes in taking from others by force, ergo: ______________________
    That's logic as applied to the ethical concept of honesty.

  • Bob2||

    Sessions must still be watching Reefer Madness and considering it to be a documentary.
    He probably can't accept facts from the interwebs like:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJlqsdezhhk
    The Sinister Reason Weed is Illegal

  • IamDonWYo||

    Trent Reznor was right to shorten this title to "terrible lie;" way catchier.

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