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Editorial: Should Philadelphia Be Excited About Its Big Drug Bust?

David Borden, Executive Director
David Borden
Should we be excited? Police agencies in Philadelphia have announced a record drug bust for the city. According to the press conference, held Wednesday by the Philadelphia Police Department, the US Attorney's Office and the FBI, the stash they nabbed consisted of 274 kilos of cocaine worth about 28 million dollars.

An FBI spokesperson told the press, "This significant seizure prevented these drugs from entering our community." But doesn't that depend on how one defines the term "these drugs"? If the term is meant to refer to that particular shipment, then yes, that specific pile of cocaine will (probably) not enter the Philadelphia community.

If, however, the term is meant to refer to cocaine itself, the type of drug, it's doubtful -- no, impossible -- that the seizure could reduce the amount of it in Philadelphia, at least not for very long. The problem is that drug traffickers are clever and industrious people, and they expect that some of the stuff that they ship to any given region is going to get intercepted. On any given day, they probably don't expect a record to get set, on that particular day. But that doesn't mean they aren't prepared if it does. Doubtless one or more batches are now moving up I-95 or some other artery, or are headed to Philly through some other means of transport, if they're not already there.

The truth is that there probably won't be a shortage of cocaine in Philadelphia for even a week, if there is any shortage of it even now. By the end of two weeks, there will be little evidence left at all that a record-sized drug bust ever occurred, other than the police records and the past media reports. Of course the authorities won't be particularly eager to inform the press that their record-sized drug bust has been completely undone by the force of the market. Ironically, media would probably not consider the lack of long-term impact from the bust to be newsworthy, because that's literally what has happened on every previous occasion.

Ultimately, the bust itself is the best proof that the bust won't make any difference. Arrests and seizures and prosecutions for drugs are the norm for the United States, in Philadelphia and everywhere else. Yet for all that effort, sustained and conducted aggressively for decades, the demand for cocaine is still so strong that the quantities in which it is found continue to set records. And that is a record of failure by any reasonable definition of the word.

So while I'm sure the press conference was exciting for the people involved in it, I'm not excited, and I don't see why I should be. When people decide that it's time to try something different, because they realize how much they've been throwing away in money and manpower and lives, that will be much more exciting than a pile of powder and a group of law enforcement brass behind a podium ever could be.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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War On Drugs

Incredible and my husband is in Federal Prison doing 17 years for 52 grams of sudofedran, 3 drunk driving from his past as a kid, and driving with no consent. They call him a career criminal. He is considered to be a victim of the war on drugs. What do we call this?

War ON Drugs

We call this big business. The cops no where the drugs are because they gave it to them. The DEA needs to set people up to confirm why they exist. Drugs wouldn't be a problem if they were not cheap. Plus all the legal drugs are more deadly than the drugs they make illegal. War on Drugs the Last White Hope watch that we need to stop sitting around and confront the people with all they power they don't have our backs so why should we have theirs.


It was only a few months ago when the DEA and Philly SWAT team raided the wrong house and shot a couple of persons and nearly gave an elderly woman on limited income a heart attack only to learn that they targeted the wrong house. DEA and SWAT have to apologize to the residents of this house let alone repair the damages to the doors yet. I may have lived here long enough, but I get more and more scared. I don't touch or use drugs; suppose the same thing happens to me? I cannot say I trust DEA or SWAT that much.

Prohibition II

Prohibition, the first, for which congress was required to pass an Amendment (and get it ratified) to initiate and again, to repeal, after they wised up.

So, the second prohibition, which is still ongoing, and which never had an Amendment passed and ratified to allow it, is obviously unconstitutional.

Why do we allow the federal government to continue to prosecute an unconstitutional law?


sound right?

wht up

wht can drugs do to u email me at [email protected]


drugs rule

Im 16 years old and last

Im 16 years old and last month i got arrested for possesion of under 20 grams of cannibus now i hav 2 do probation community service my drivers liscence got suspended 4 6 months and i hav 2 do a 6-8 week drug program not 2 mention the 3 days i had 2 spend in detox i mean is the laws and shit dum or wat ... all that for a blunt and a half fuck every law enforcement agency (dea,cia,fbi,swat,customs,coast guard ,the da, the judges ,all the police officers,) fuck all of u i hate the judicial system with every cell in my body


the problem with this country is that why dont they legalize all the drugs it would drop crime levels. the government would make more off taxing all the different drugs, compared to what they make doing all the busts. just think maybe this country would not be in debt then. i do not do drugs for the most part lol, so dont think that im a drug lover because im not. its just common sense just think about it. this is a free country, but what is so free about it. its all about the money thats all it is. so think how much money they could actually make. crime would go down 50 percent in the first month. 85 percent of crime in this country is one way or another related to drugs. if they were all legal then everybody in this country would benifit from it in this country one way or another. the drug companys sell them now but if we sell them its illegal now what is wrong with this picture. its just another way for this country to take our money that we work so hard for. 200 years ago we were free, now we are inprisioned in our own country. well belive what you want to belive but you and i both know that there is alot of truth to all of this, but all you rich dummys dont see it because you are to busy doing your mountain climbing up your mountain of cash watching down down on lower income level people like me just laughing away. well rich boy if you only knew what it was like then you might have a new perspective on things, but chances are your mountain will keep on getting bigger because you are taking what people like us do have. so keep taking ok because you know what it doesnt take money to make me happy there is more important things in life just like our founding fathers said. well lol everybody that agrees with my point of view have a nice day everybody else you really need to wake up and quit being the usa governments robots. lol bye bye

war on drugs should read war on americans

i did ten years in the feds for marijuana distribution..
i'll keep it short and sweet.
fuck the feds!
i do not believe my feelings are alone in this country
big p...

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