The Drug Debate

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Drug Truth 07/03/08 + John Stossel on Next COL

The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: ABC's John Stossel joins us on next weeks Century of Lies !!! (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) Cultural Baggage for 07/02/08 Professor Arnold Trebach, author of Fatal Distraction + LEAP report from Terry Nelson, Glenn Greenway with Poppygate report, OP-ED from Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project & Amsterdam prohibits tobacco not pot. MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1952/FDBCB_070208.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 07/01/08 Cliff Thornton of Efficacy discusses the political implications of the drug war + Russ Bellville of NORML's audio stash opinion piece & Loretta Nall discusses Alabama's justice system. MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1951/COL_070108.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Ryan King of Sentencing Project - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: John Stossel of ABC Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Now Australia!!! Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 55 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

4:20 Drug War Update 06/30/08

Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US and Canada & on the web at www.kpft.org. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/30/08 to 07/06/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients Out of Time + Eugene Fields, reporter for Orange County Register Sat - Richard Watkins, former Texas Warden, member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Fri - 4th of July PSA Special Thu - Drug War Facts with Doug McVay + "Bush of La Mancha" Wed - Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway Tue - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Mon - CBS NEWS on Afghan situation Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): PLEASE, Check Out the Transcript with Dr. Donald Tasking of National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=node/1842#comments - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Prof. Arnold Trebach - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Cliff Thornton Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

Marijuana: Puerto Rico Ex-Officials Say Legalize It

A former health secretary and an ex-university president are calling for the legalization of marijuana in Puerto Rico in a bid to reduce the prison population and prevent young people from being exposed to criminality. According to a report by the Associated Press late last week, their plan to tax marijuana sales, with proceeds going to drug treatment programs, is also supported by other former public officials and a medical doctor.

"The fight against drugs, using punishment, has not worked," said José Manuel Saldaña, former president of the University of Puerto Rico. "This is a social reality." People should not go to jail for smoking pot, he added.

According to the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections, 24% of the island territory's 13,500 inmates are doing time for drug offenses. The department estimates that 80% of crimes are "drug-related." More than 21,000 minors under age 18 were arrested in "drug-related" incidents between 1990 and 2005, according to police statistics.

The proposal for marijuana legalization comes as part of a broader package that includes tougher penalties for drug traffickers. It comes as the island is getting ready to begin drug treatment programs aimed primarily at the abuse of heroin and crack cocaine.

Saldaña was joined by former Health Secretary Enrique Vázquez Quintana in pushing for legalization. They have been discussing the proposal with prison officials and legislators, he said.

But lawmakers have said they only want to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes -- if that. Corrections Secretary Miguel Pereira told the AP he favors drug treatment programs legalizing marijuana, but only for medicinal, not recreational, use. "It's a proposal that we should be open to discussing," he said.

Editorial: How Long Does an Experiment Need to Continue Before It's Declared a Failure? (e.g. Drug Prohibition)

David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
How long does an experiment need to continue before it's declared a failure?

For alcohol prohibition, our US version, it was about 13 years. Between mafia crime, poisonings from adulterated beverages, and the dropping age at which people were becoming alcoholics, Americans decided that the "Noble Experiment" -- whether it should actually be regarded as noble or not -- was a bad idea. And they ended it. New York State did its part 75 years ago today, ratifying the 21st amendment to repeal the 18th amendment, bringing the Constitution one state closer to being restored. It took another half a year, until December 5th, to get the 36 states on the board that were needed at the time to get the job done. But Americans of the '30s recognized the failure of the prohibition experiment, and they took action by enacting legalization of alcohol.

Industrialist John D. Rockefeller described the evolution of his thinking that led to the recognition of prohibition's failure, in a famous 1932 letter:

"When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before."

In the context of today's leading prohibition -- the drug war -- it's important to realize that those other drugs were made illegal even before alcohol was. It was December 17th, 1914, when the Harrison Narcotics Act passed the US Congress -- ostensibly a regulatory law to synchronize America's system with a new one being adopted by countries around the world. But law enforcement interpreted it as prohibiting drugs -- coca and opium, and derivatives of them such as heroin and cocaine, were the ones in question then -- and law enforcement got its way.

Which means that drugs have been illegal for almost a century. And yet despite a century of prohibition -- a century of fighting opium -- the Taliban could somehow make a hundred million off of it last year, that's how much of it is still being used. Our addiction rate in the US is higher today than it is believed to have been at the turn of the 20th century, and while other things that have certainly changed that could affect drug use, if you're fighting a "drug war" to end drug use, if addiction goes in completely the opposite direction, then you have a problem. A recent example of things going in the completely opposite direction as intended is cocaine prices on the streets of our cities, which according to DEA data is about a fifth of what it was in 1980 when adjusting for inflation and purity. The goal of the eradication-interdiction-arrest-incarceration strategy is to raise prices, in order to discourage use. Oh, and the drugs have gotten worse too -- who had ever heard of crack cocaine before 1986 -- 72 years after passage of the Harrison Act?

Marijuana prohibition, enacted in 1937, is an even less successful experiment than opiate and cocaine prohibition. For the harder drugs one might say at least that some young people have trouble getting them, although that's really just the kids who aren't into drugs. But marijuana can be purchased by virtually any high school student in the country, at virtually any high school in the country, and generally from other students. When kids are dealing drugs to other kids, and that is happening EVERYWHERE, what is the result of the experiment? What is its conclusion? Is further research really necessary at that point?

No, it's not. The findings are on the drug prohibition experiment are conclusive -- it's a failure. And while many of the people waging the drug war believe it's noble, that belief is misguided -- with half a million people incarcerated in US jails and prisons for drug offenses, the prohibition experiment is anything but noble.

The day we legalize drugs is the day we can begin to clean up the mess that the drug prohibition experiment has created.

Drug Truth Update 06/26/08

The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) Cultural Baggage for 06/25/08 Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients Out of Time discusses medical cannabis + Terry Nelson for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Drug War Facts with Doug McVay & Glenn Greenway with the Poppygate report. MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1942/FDBCB_062508.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 06/24/08 Richard Watkins a former Texas warden and current member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition + Eugene Fields, reporter with Orange County Register. MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1943/COL_062408.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Now Australia!!! Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 55 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

4:20 Drug War News Update 06/23/08

Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US and Canada & on the web at www.kpft.org. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/23/08 to 06/29/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Sun - Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project regarding Hinchey-Rohrbacher bill in US Congress Sat - Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance & Doug McVay with Drug War Facts Fri - "The Real News" reports on Afghanistan's opium war Thu - Paul Armentano of NORML reports on "potent" pot Wed - Glenn Greenways' Poppygate Report & 2 "PSA's" Tue - Terry Nelson Reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Mon - Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project discusses "potent" pot Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): PLEASE, Check Out the Transcript with Dr. Donald Tasking of National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=node/1842#comments - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Former Texas Warden Richard Watkins Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

Feature: Amsterdam, Connecticut? Drug Reformer With Bold Vision Seeks State Office, Radical Change

Like the rest of inner city America, Bridgeport, Connecticut's 130th District has for decades been ground zero in the war on drugs. Mostly black and Latino, like other majority minority neighborhoods across the land, it has suffered the twin ravages of drug abuse and drug prohibition. Now, a former drug-fighting Navy officer turned drug reformer is seeking to change all that with a bold vision and an upstart bid for the state House of Representatives.

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Sylvester Salcedo (2nd from right)
In late May, Bridgeport attorney Sylvester Salcedo announced he was seeking the Democratic Party nomination for November's House race in the 130th. Salcedo is best known in drug reform circles for being the first and only former military officer to protest the drug war by sending back his Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal to then President Bill Clinton.

"Narcotics use and abuse is our problem here at home," he wrote at the time in a letter sent to Clinton. "The solutions should be applied here and not in Colombia or elsewhere. To spend this additional amount of money overseas is wasteful and counterproductive."

Fast forward eight years and little has changed. The war on drugs continues apace, drug arrests and drug war prisoners reach new highs every year. The violence associated with drug prohibition continues to plague cities like Bridgeport. And Salcedo has had enough.

"The war on drugs is one of our nation's longest wars, at home and abroad," he said as he announced his candidacy May 29. "It is senseless, wasteful and counterproductive. It is highly discriminatory on a racial and economic basis. I said so on the steps of the US Congress in Washington, DC flanked and supported by Minnesota Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad and California Republican Congressman Tom Campbell in the summer of 2000," he said.

"Eight years later, the conditions are the same, if not worse, especially for the isolated and abandoned residents of ethnic minority enclaves and neighborhoods like the 130th District," Salcedo continued. "I want to win this State Representative seat to be a leader of change. I want to lead the way to peace, understanding and cooperation, not through the politics of fear, and racial and ethnic discord and conflict. This senseless war on the poor and the voiceless must end."

Salcedo is not one for half-measures. He is proposing turning the 130th District into a sort of mini-Amsterdam, a zone of drug tolerance replete with safe injection sites, opiate maintenance facilities, and taxed and regulated marijuana sales. "I'm floating around this idea of the Covenant of the 130th District, which is to declare the district as a zone of tolerance," he said.

"I want to borrow from models like Amsterdam or Frankfort," he elaborated. "I'm not pushing legalization legislation, but acknowledging the fact that the 130th is a high drug trafficking and consumption area, from marijuana to heroin to cocaine. I want to try those approaches here. If you live in the district and are a heroin addict, we would work with you, whether it's a treatment and rehabilitation regime or a maintenance regime. If you select maintenance, you get the level of pharmaceutical grade heroin you need. In either case, you get medical, psychological, and social services, an intake exam, a social worker and a drug counselor to work with you. But this won't be a coercive or punitive program; instead it will be designed to develop the relationship with the addict."

Citing Bridgeport's chronically under-funded schools, libraries, and other services, Salcedo also called for regulated marijuana sales as a revenue raiser. "I want to open up a number of marijuana coffee shops in this district," he said. "They could be city sponsored, or they could be a joint private-public project. If people want to come here and imbibe, we will welcome them, let them pay the market price, and tax their purchases. The profits can go to the city general fund, or, if it's a joint venture, a share to the entrepreneurs," he said. "We will follow the experience of Amsterdam, with the police working collaboratively, so they're not arresting people coming from the coffee shops."

Salcedo's will undoubtedly be an uphill battle against the entrenched Bridgeport Democratic Party political establishment and to convince skeptical voters that more of the drug war same old same old is not the solution. But he has already passed the first hurdle by getting 290 district residents to sign his nominating petitions. Now he has to raise $5,000 by August to show he is a viable candidate and qualify for another $20,000 in primary funding from the state of Connecticut. At least 150 Bridgeport residents must donate to his campaign for him to qualify. (That doesn't mean people from outside Bridgeport or Connecticut cannot donate -- they can.)

He can do it, Salcedo said. "The primaries are eight weeks away, and nobody expected me to even get the required signatures, but I did. And I met every person who signed my nomination papers. I think I can meet this challenge, too."

He's going to need some help, from the drug reform community at large and from Connecticut activists in particular if he is to have a chance. One prominent Connecticut drug reformer, Efficacy founder and 2006 Green Party gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton is among the first to step up.

"I'll definitely be going down there and doing a few things for Sylvester," said Thornton. "I have to help the reformer."

One thing he will advise Salcedo to do is put his drug reform message in the background. "We'll try to sharpen his message," Thornton said. "He doesn't have to lead with drug policy. He's already known as the drug reformer, and he won't have to talk about it because people are going to ask him about it.

Another thing Salcedo can do is try to tie drug reform into other issues facing the community, Thornton said. "We're spending somewhere between $600 million and $800 million on prisons in Connecticut every year," he said. "If we took that and put it toward health care, we could take care of everyone in the state. That's the kind of connection we need to be drawing."

It would be a good thing if national drug reform organizations provided more than token support, Thornton said, looking back at his 2006 campaign. "When it came to actually supporting that run, everybody disappeared," he said. "The flagship organizations sent a few bucks here and there, but not enough to make a difference. And that's a shame. We are starting to elect good drug reform politicians, like Roger Goodman in Washington state and Chris Murphy here in Connecticut. Their opponents attack them as soft on drug policy, and they go up in the polls. We can elect people, if we support them," Thornton said.

Salcedo could use the help, he said. "Right now this is basically a one-man campaign, and I have a full-time job."

Still, he said, he may be able to pull off a surprise victory. "This is going to be a low turnout election, no other issues on the ballot here, and the only reason people are likely to go to the ballot box is to vote for me for change or because they're tied to one of the establishment candidates," he said. "In this district in this election, maybe 200 or 300 votes can win it. I'll be beating the bushes and talking face to face with people. I'll do everything I can, and then it's up to the voters.

(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Drug Truth Update 06/18/08

The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) - Both shows this week contain "welcomes" to our latest affiliate 102.3 FM in Nimbin, Australia - :) Cultural Baggage for 06/18/08 Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance, Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project, Paul Armentano of NORML, Randy Credico of William Kuntsler Fund, Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts & Glenn Greenway with the Poppygate Report. MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1934/FDBCB_061808.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 06/17/08 Sylvester Salcedo, a former naval intelligence officer is running for State Rep as a Democrat in Connecticutt. He's also a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1932/COL_061708.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Tramscript on Saturday) Chief Clarence Bradford: "We can't possibly hire enough officers to effectively deal with the drug problem in Houston, Harris County...". - Cultural Baggage 050708 PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US, Canada and Now Australia!!! Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 55 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee Hearing -- U.S. Drug Policy: At What Cost?

Senator Jim Webb will be presiding over this hearing dedicated to an examination of the economics of U.S. drug policy. Witnesses include: - Dr. Peter Reuter, Professor, School of Public Policy and Department of Criminology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland - Ms. Anne Swern, First Assistant District Attorney, Kings County, Brooklyn, New York - Ms. Norma Fernandes, Community Coordinator, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Brooklyn, New York - Mr. John Walsh, Senior Associate for Drug Policy, Washington Office on Latin America, Washington, DC Additional Witnesses may be announced. For more information, see http://jec.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Home.Home.
Date: 
Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:00am
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Drug Truth in Australia! 06/16/08

Reaching beyond N. America, DTN radio show Cultural Baggage begins broadcasting in Australia this week! - Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia, 102.3 FM, "Nim FM" Drug Truth Network Update: 4:20 Drug War NEWS from 90.1 FM in Houston and dozens of radio affiliates in the US and Canada & on the web at www.kpft.org. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. 4:20 Drug War NEWS 06/16/08 to 06/22/08 now online (3:00 ea:) Select online at www.drugtruth.net Mon - Drug War Facts with Doug McVay + "Heroin in adult diaper" Tue - Terry Nelson reports for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Wed - Olbermann on Opium + Drugs & Terror, World Wars Forever Thu - Ray Hill, the Patriarch of KPFT Houston discusses war on gays, war on drugs Fri - Ray Hill 2 Sat - Ray Hill 3 Sun - Ray Hill 4 Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed (Now With Transcripts): - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: Sylvester Salcedo running for rep in Connecticutt Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net

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