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East Asia: Reefer Madness Snares Taiwan Celebrities

Seven Taiwanese entertainers have been questioned by police about whether they smoked marijuana, and while they all initially denied using the weed, at least two came forth this week to tearfully admit they had indeed puffed. They face two months in drug treatment if their urine tests come back positive.

Tuo Chung-kang and Chu Chung-heng, the hosts of a popular TV program, made the ritual confession and self-flagellation at a Sunday press conference where they apologized to the public for earlier trying to hide their misdeeds. "I was abroad and so I thought I could relax and have some fun," Tuo said, adding that he had only smoked when he was in Thailand and the Philippines earlier this year. "I was too naive and I feel bad about it."

Chu, an actor and variety show host, told a separate news conference that he had lied because he was afraid of the ramifications . "I feared that I might lose all that I've strived for if I confessed," Chu tearfully told reporters. Chu said he decided to tell the truth "so that I could face my daughter and family... and not live under the shadow for the rest of my life."

At least five other singers and TV personalities have been questioned by police in a case that began when they discovered marijuana growing in the yard of a wealthy residence owned by Cheng Po-geng. Police accused Cheng of selling marijuana to the entertainers through a night club owner, Chen Chiu-mu, whom police said sold marijuana "to over 10 entertainers."

Although marijuana is an illegal drug in Taiwan, the National Bureau of Controlled Drugs reported last week that some 60,000 Taiwanese smoke pot. Bureau Director-General Chien Chun-sheng is concerned. He said abusing marijuana causes distorted perceptions, difficulties in thinking, and makes the user "a lazybones."

Mexican troops target drugs

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Boston Globe
URL: 
http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2006/12/13/mexican_troops_target_drugs/

U.S. Drug Czar Advises Canadian Officials On How To Destroy Canada

On the heels of reports that the U.S. is breaking its own incarceration records, The Vancouver Sun announces that Canadian officials are consulting with U.S. drug warriors in the hopes of revamping Canada's drug policy.

Canada's new Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who apparently doesn't read U.S. newspapers, seems to think we've got all the answers:

The strategy will focus on "a few key priority areas that the current government could focus and build on," such as "clandestine labs, marihuana grow operations, synthetic drugs," the document states. "Another key element of the proposed national strategy is the national awareness campaign for youth."

Yeah nothing scares kids away from drugs like government-sponsored propaganda. Possible ONDCP recommendations for a youth awareness campaign:

1. Switch it up periodically. Spend a few years telling kids that pot will make you shoot your friends, run over toddlers and get pregnant at parties. Then nail 'em with a "couch" ad claiming marijuana is "the safest thing in the world."

2. Don't answer the phone. It could be other branches of government calling for an update on your performance measures. Never let anyone measure your performance except you.

3. Make desperate appeals to pop culture. Start a blog, podcasts, online magazines and youtube videos. Find the Canadian Al Roker and get him to talk to the kids. Encourage people to use these resources by claiming they are popular.

4. Say awesome stuff. If government reports show that the program isn't working, try to confuse everyone by saying this: "It’s very difficult to tell whether Britney Spears bopping around on some Coca-Cola ad actually sold a single bottle of Coca-Cola. The groups that promote marijuana wouldn’t be criticizing it so much if they didn’t think it was effective."


To clarify, I'm in favor of discouraging young people from using drugs. But if I were implementing such a program, John Walters is the very last person on Earth whose input I would solicit. He voluntarily limited his ability to prevent real-world harms by focusing on the least harmful drug. And he demonstrated a lack of interest when results showed that the ads were counterproductive.

But it gets worse:

Harper also called for mandatory minimum sentences and large fines for serious drug offenders, including marijuana growing operators and "producers and dealers of crystal meth and crack."

Mandatory minimums
!? Even Drug Czar speech-writer Kevin Sabet is coming around on that. Mandatory minimums have nearly destroyed our criminal justice system. They take away judicial discretion, making grave injustices commonplace. They bloat our prisons with non-violent offenders and burden tax-payers with the costs. They empower bullying prosecutors and encourage innocent people to accept plea-bargains. And you just don't need mandatory minimums to send scumbags to jail.

Stephen Harper needs to slow down and familiarize himself with the problems we're having here before asking for drug policy advice from some of the most callous and willfully ignorant people to ever contemplate the subject. The problem with a terrible drug policy is that it's really hard to turn back the clock. Ever susceptible to drug hysteria, American politicians have repeatedly succumbed to the temptation of quick-fix lock-em-up solutions. Once implemented, destructive policies are sustained by the knowledge that a "soft on crime" label may await any legislator brave enough to question the status quo. Meanwhile, the world's wealthiest nation functions at a shrinking fraction of its potential.

And where will the Canadian people turn if the nightmare of American drug war barbarism is unleashed in their communities? They already live in Canada.

Location: 
United States

Mexico launches drugs crackdown

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
BBC News
URL: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6174469.stm

US Anti-Drug Chief: Afghan Poppies To Be Sprayed With Herbicide

Location: 
Kabul
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/12/09/asia/AS_GEN_Afghan_Drugs.php

Poppy Business Booms in Western Burma

Location: 
CH
Myanmar
Publication/Source: 
Mizzima News
URL: 
http://www.mizzima.com/MizzimaNews/News/2006/Dec/08-Dec-2006-16.html

Medical Use of Marijuana Divides Italy

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Inter Press Service News Agency (Italy)
URL: 
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35769

Pentagon Resists Pleas for Help in Afghan Opium Fight

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
Los Angles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghandrugs5dec05,0,6275736.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Police Caught in Cross Hairs of Tijuana Violence

Location: 
Tijuana, BCN
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
San Diego Union-Tribune
URL: 
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/tijuana/20061204-9999-1n4afo.html

Queen's guards 'fail drugs test'

Location: 
London
United Kingdom
Publication/Source: 
BBC News
URL: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6197938.stm

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