Finally, A Local Newspaper Drug Bust Story That Asks the Right Question

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My job requires me to look at countless drug-related newspaper articles every day in search of drug policy news. Most of those articles are not about drug policy, but about the more mundane daily drug busts. And the vast majority of articles about drug busts follow a simple template: Report the bust, report the cops' self-congratulatory remarks about making a difference. It is extremely rare for these run-of-the-mill drug bust stories to carry any context or raise the larger questions about the (f)utility of our current drug policies. That's why it's so heartwarming to come across a story like the one that was published in the Easton (Pennsylvania) Times-Express on Sunday. The headline said it all: "No Telling If Drug Bust Had Any Impact." In the body of the story, the Express-Times' Russ Flanagan did what local crime beat reporters across the country should be doing: He asked if making even a major drug bust made any difference. The answers aren't surprising to anyone who follows this stuff. From the article:
Close to three years ago, state and local authorities shut down one of the largest ecstasy rings on the East Coast, but gauging the bust's impact on the local drug trade since then has proven difficult. Coming across ecstasy during a drug bust is routine for police, but it is found far less frequently than street drugs cocaine and heroin. So law enforcement officials cannot say for sure whether the biggest ecstasy bust in the history of Northampton County has put a dent in the dealing of the sometimes-deadly designer drug. "I don't think you could say one way or the other," Warren County Prosecutor Thomas S. Ferguson said. "I think it's out there and it's on the radar screen. I don't think we've seen it increase or decrease. I don't think there's any statistical difference since that time."
When you get the people responsible for prosecuting the drug war admitting that their efforts don’t seem to make a difference, that is important. Here's another drug warrior admitting the same thing:
Chief Detective Joseph Stauffer of the Lehigh County Drug Task Force said law enforcement has no way of knowing whether the bust dealt a serious blow to the availability of ecstasy in the region. "I would hope that it impacted on it, but ecstasy is still, unfortunately, available in the community," Stauffer said. "I haven't noticed an increase (in ecstasy arrests), but I haven't noticed a significant decrease either. We wouldn't know how much ecstasy would be available had those arrests not taken place."
If more local newspaper reporters asked the questions Russ Flanagan asked, their readers would be better served and have a better understanding of just what all those drug busts are achieving. If you just let law enforcement issue its standard self-justifying press releases, you get one picture of reality. But all you have to do is ask law enforcement the right questions, and a different picture emerges. Local reporters, do your jobs!
Easton, PA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Prison and the Availability of Narcotics?

From a Former Correctional Officer's view.

In prison, I know first hand that a convicted offender can gain access to narcotics. This of course all depends on how bad your habit is?

The drug trade inside prison is controlled by the ever present gang's that run the prison. I say the gang's run the prison system, because, the inmate's knowingly out-number correctional officer's, sometimes 50 to 1 and most of the time even more.

Some of these people (inmates) are highly educated and could run any free-world business. However, let's face it America? Crime pays. Especially since the War on Drug's affect's the price and profitability;"For the more savy individual".

And if an imate is not afraid of having contact with the gang's and selling his or her soul or hole, then drug's are not a problem.

And once a convicted offender signs in with a gang. His or Her entire network is set-up and ready to roll once they are released back into the free-world.

You wonder how they pay for the narcotic's? Word to the wise. You pay by either selling your ass or by doing a "Hit" on another inmate or a prison official. My personal favorite is the trading of Federal U.S. Mail Postage Stamp's. Thank's Uncle Sam.

So does the War on Drug's have an affect in America?
I say Yes. The War on Drug's affect's the price of narcotic's, but not the availability. Let's face it America. We can only curb the problem. In my opinion. Let's do something more creative with the cash. I.e. Feed the homeless Children of America. Give the Children a proper education, instead of grief. Man would that not be great?

In my opinion the only way that we can have a serious affect on drug's. Is to legalize all narcotic's. If an individual want's to "Nod- Around" and mumble, I say let them.

For the record I am pro-ganja, anti-meth. The other chemicals have legitimate use's. Of course, we all know what the number one abused drugs in America are? "Prescription Drug's. You know, like the kind they use on the "Hill". Perhaps the representatives of these Billion Dollar companies should be arrrested for not controlling their product better.The gang's have a way for dealing with no-control over your product?

Legalization would drive down the cost of narcotic's and would give people a choice.

A choice, just like the law-maker's on the "Hill". They choose to drink alchohol, chase little boy's over the internet, take Vicodin for their aches and pains, and then Vote on Laws that affect the American people.

The War on Drug's in my opinion is the true gateway to crime. Because once a person convicted of a minor drug offence arrives in prison. They have entered another world of crime and drug availability. The difference is that eventually an inmate exit's prison and return's to the Free-World, and share's with society, all the thing's they learned on the inside.

By the way, it is also my opinion that if we did allow the smoking of Ganja inside prison. We as Correctional Officer's would probably have an easier time handling the inmate's. I mean they would more than likely become non-violent. And unless a person has been on the inside of prison. They could never understand the level of horrific violence that take's place over a $60.00 Tablespoon of regular Indica marijauna. Bloody, Bloody, Bloody? Ever seen a man get stabbed with a Mop-Handle? Until you do, think twice about locking someone up for years. Like a caged animal, they become violent. And all over a small stash.

Is it worth it, America.? I say not! And further more. Private Prisons Operate for a Profit. Soon Americans will be incarcerated at the drop of a hat, in order to keep up the head count and increase the bottom line for the company. And I would be willing to bet that most of these lawmakers have their hand in that pie also. I.e. Stock's, Bond's, etc.

Wake-Up! America. Because when little Johnny gets stripped searched while at school and he is found with a dime bag of weed. Little Johnny is quite possibly on his way to prison, because he violated the school's Drug Free Zone and is now a Felon. Poor Little Johnny? "Bottom's Up America".


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