Former DEA Agent: We'll Win If We Just Arrest Every Drug User

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Most people who notice that the drug war has failed eventually come to understand that we must stop wasting billions of dollars harming people who've used drugs.

But a select few propose escalation, and their ideas range from crazy to…well, crazier.

Expert: War on drugs should shift focus from the Press & Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, NY gives a voice to former DEA agent Michael Levine, who I don't think will be joining LEAP anytime soon. He's written a book called Fight Back that doesn't sound very good.

According to Levine, the reason the drug war is failing is because we've been wasting our time chasing the dealers when we should be trying to arrest all the users. He's serious:

It is the druggie who is victimizing us. It is he -- not the drug dealer, the smuggler, the Medellin Cartel, or all the Manuel Noriegas of this world -- who is responsible for the spread of drug abuse.

He thinks we should turn to China and Japan for guidance:

They succeeded in getting the situation under control because they targeted the users, forcing them into rehabilitation. They realized "that they did not have a drug epidemic; they had an epidemic of druggies."

For starters, we must begin teaching children the truth about drugs:

Levine says druggies should be depicted "convulsing and vomiting on themselves in detoxification wards; or staring vacant eyed on the benches of intake centers and emergency wards. That is what being a druggie is really all about, and that is what we should want our kids to see and understand."

Of course, no such rant would be complete without this:

Give me one community -- the worse the better -- where the citizens, the media and the police are willing to work together in following the step-by-step plan of Fight Back and I guarantee the end of the drug problem within one year."

I think the first step towards solving our drug problem is to be more selective in our use of the term "expert."

Location: 
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, and his sick post

To Mr. Levine,

so you think that the drug addicts and not the drug connections are the ones to be aressted?? You sir are a sorry excuse for a human being..My cousin was murdered by the Felix Arreando Cartel..My guess would be that you think that is funny..Let the Xartel do whatever they want to do, as long as the drug addict is arrested and humiliated..I hope that no one in your family has the diease of addiction, I wouldnt wish addiction on my worst enemy.Would you have your son, dauther, or even your wife be publically humiliated because they may hav the diease of addiction?? Probably so, as you seem to have no regaurd for human life..I for one am thankful that you are a former DEA agent, as tens of thousands of people would fall victem to your sick ideas...People like you dont belong in Law enforment, IMHO you deserve to be put in a nut house

Anonouynos

Michael Levine's comments

Mr. Levine,
I find your article offensive and mean. As a recovering addi ct, I can tell you I am no criminal. I am a hard working woman with a horrible, incurable disease. Thank God I have a 12 step program to help me. If we spent more money on treatment centers and less money sending addicts to jail, there wouldn't be a demand for drugs.
You've got it all wrong! It is apparent to me that you've lived your life sitting on a pedestal looking down at the rest of us. I think you might need a career change!

Maybe you could use a 12 step program to soften your heart.

---hole Levine

Mr. Levine should be put on a plane to Jakarta with a pound of heroin in his pocket.

what about alcohol, Levine?

Bet this sadist doesn't even consider alcohol a drug.

MICHAEL LEVINE

BEING A RESIDENT OF BINGHAMTON NY .. I DID SOME RESEARCH REGARDING THIS MATTER ..IT APPEARS THAT MR. LEVINE IS THE DIRECTOR OF A LOCAL RE-HAB CENTER ( IF NOT PART OWNER )..HE ALSO WROTE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THIS PAPER .. HE ALSO LEAVES A NUMBER TO CALL IN THE EVENT THE PUBLIC KNOWS ANY DRUG USERS ..WELL I CALLED THAT NUMBER AND REACHED HIS RE-HAB CENTER..IF THIS ISN'T A CRACK HEAD MOVE ON HIS PART ..WHAT A WAY TO GET & DO BUSSINESS .. WHAT'S MR LEVINE SMOKING ????

Micheal Levine has dropped his marbles

Well if this doesn't beat all. If we all remember, Mike LEvine was instrumental in exposing the USA as behind the massive production of Heroin in Afghanistan, swapping it under CIA protection in Pakistan for weapons to fight Russia. All that smakck was travelling into USa at the same time Regan declared a refreshed "war on Drugs" incarcerating literatlly millions of Ameican youth for what the USA itslef was providing.

M. Levine's brother if I recall properly was jailed for possesion at the time he was appointed to Afghaniastan, where he was killed , a pointless jail yard murder.

This put M Levine into the mode to expose the hypocrasy of the War on Drugs. He appeared on shows supporting law reform, complaining the American gov was behind much of the power that enables addiction.

Now, he's gone and done this.

M Levine was once the most decorated DEA agent in USA I believe, who was frustrated to passionate disgust whenhe was "used" by his governmnet in Afghanistan to protect the drug industry there.

I thik Mike has simply had too much pressure in his life. Had too much personal tragedy such as his brother dieing, and too much abuse such as his own government doing a number on him...and he's simply let the cheese slide off his cracker..poor Mike.

Maybe he got in strife for exposing what he told regarding trhe Eastern Opium production a la USA involvment? This current comment from him is way off track from what he was promoting 15-20 years ago.

Michael Levine

I enjoyed Mr. Levine's books very much and would like to personally thank him for all his years of service and hard dangerous work as a DEA agent. I hear what most folks spoke about the dease of drugs and I strongly believe that what Mr. Levine speaks of as to arresting the drug abusers that we would solve the issue of putting the drug dealers out of business and forces the lost souls into a much needed drug treatment program. As if they have no prior convictions/arrests they will find themselves better off rather then getting deeper and deeper into the world of drugs.

Peter L. Peterson
Formally of West Nyack, NY
Now in Austin, TX

The Drug War is Irresponsible: Morally, and Economically

Firstly, "Mr." Levine is off his rocker.
It's absolutely impossible to arrest all drug abusers.
Anyway, the DEA believes all unauthorized use of
drugs is abuse. It's completely unfeasible to even
consider something like that: the DEA already
spends more than $10 BILLION a year on their
pathetic attempts against the HARMLESS drug
that is cannabis (even caffeine is more dangerous)
trying win the war they continue aimlessly. Nearly
all cannabis users are nonviolent, and many are
medical users.

But does the DEA care? No. All they care is
about themselves. About the fact that it's illegal.
Well, LEGALITY IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH MORALITY. They are doing nothing wrong. On the other hand, the DEA
is making money, but depriving the government and people:

"In 2005, the DEA seized a reported $1.4 billion in drug trade related assets and $477 million worth of drugs. However, according to the White House's Office of Drug Control Policy, the total value of all of the drugs sold in the U.S. is as much as $64 billion a year, making the DEA's efforts to intercept the flow of drugs into and within the U.S. LESS THAN 1% EFFECTIVE."

It's clearly a waste of time. The US already arrests more people than any other country in the world. There are NOT
that many criminals. As well, they end up making the price of
drugs rise, making addicts turn to crime to support their habit.
In Sweden, they have opened clinics where doctors supply
and inject addicts their drugs daily for a nominal fee,
seperating them from drug dealers.

Addicts are NOT evil people. They regret their positions.
The centres allow them a chance to continue on with
daily life as a productive member of society, and
eventually freedom from addiction.

Also, time should not be wasted on cannabis.
It should be at least decriminalized, rendering
less profits to mexican dealers and gang members.
Drug violence has only been escalating:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/04/15/obama-heads-to-mexico-am...

This cannot continue.
No matter how many drug users we put away,
there will always be more users, because people
are always curious and the drugs are brought in
and created outside of the country.

Who are you to say it's wrong

I completely agree with you, Mike Levine. People should not be allowed to do things that are bad for their health. If God wanted people to get high, he would have made plants that became psychoactive when eaten or smoked. In fact, we should make more unhealthy things illegal. I think we should start arresting people who eat fast food, but not those who sell it. McDonald's should still be allowed to run, but just put a couple of police cars right outside of Micky D's and arrest every sorry bastard who eats their food. And then, we should make it illegal to eat any meat, for the cholestrol in meat is clearly unhealthy, and after that, we should make any fattening foods, such as dairy, cakes and cookies, and other types of meat illegal. And then we should knock off fruits and veggies, because they can get infected with ecoli, clearly unhealthy. And we should make any grains illegal, due to the excessive amount of carbs. And to top it off, we should throw the remaining citizens in jail for starving themselves.

Mike Levine (DEA-retired) was and is right

This is something written 5 years ago and last commented upon 3 years ago but I'd like to correct some erroneous points and offer my own opinion.

First off, MIke Levine did serve 25 years as a Federal agent, primarily the DEA, before retiring in late 1989. He had earlier served in the U.S Air Force before getting discharged and attending college.

He had an older brother who was an addict who died of an overdose, not in prison, although the brother may have been incarcerated at some point in his life.

Levine worked in an undercover capacity both throughout the U.S. and all over the world. He spoke Spanish like a native speaker, albeit with a Puerto Rican accent, as a result of growing up in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in the South Bronx.

His son  served as a sergeant with the NYPD before being killed in the line of duty ... by a drug addict fleeing the scene of a purse snatching. He also had a daughter who had a drug problem herself but managed to kick it after treatment.

Levine was on the outs with the DEA management for much of his career due to voicing opinions that were shaded by his street experience as an undercover and in part due to his somewhat abrasive personality.

He was involved with multiple international investigations in which the drug smugglers or one of their associates had some tie to a CIA asset. Levine's reports and subsequent public disclosures of his allegations caused friction between DEA and the CIA/ State Dept.

He retired and wrote several books, including one work of "fiction", all of which cast a critical light on the relationship between the CIA and various drug organizations. He has also hosted a radio show on some way left-of-center station in NYC for close to 20 years.

After retirement he also wrote a book called "Fight Back" that received very little attention in the U.S. Some Scandinavian organization praised it, however, as the best plan they had seen to actually eradicate drug use in the modern world. Levine advocated achieving demand reduction by locking up only the users of illegal drugs but not for the purpose of incarcerating them. The purpose of the arrest is to confront the user in court and encourage / force them to enter a treatment program. Levine advocated a policy of isolating them from their family  (BAD-Banish All Druggies) until they had detoxed and completed treatment.

Levine was not the owner of a detox center (as alleged in an earlier post) nor was he advocating filling the prisons with addicts. He also was not calling for the non-prosecution of drug dealers and traffickers; he stated that they should be dealt with by the DEA, FBI, State Police, etc. while the BAD program was being implemented. In time, he argued, less users would result in a reduction in demand and the problem of drug trafficking would be severely diminished.

I don't know Levine personally but have followed his career and appreciate his insights into the problems caused by illegal drug abuse. I don't know his view on marijuana but doubt that he is sympathetic with the anti-medical marijuana stance of the DEA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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