Drug Czar's Office Admits that Drug Enforcement Can't Be Proven to Work

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In a superb column at AlterNet on our nation's world-leading drug use rates, MPP's Bruce Mirken calls attention to this shocking concession from the Drug Czar's office:

Trying to find a link between drug use and drug enforcement doesn't make sense, said Tom Riley, spokesman for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington. "The U.S. has high crime rates but we spend a lot on law enforcement and prison,'' Riley said yesterday in a telephone interview. "Should we spend less? We're just a different kind of country. We have higher drug use rates, a higher crime rate, many things that go with a highly free and mobile society."

It is just an incredibly strange argument to emerge from the very people who've tirelessly defended the efficacy of law-enforcement as an essential component of our drug policy. I mean seriously, what on earth is he trying to say? Moreover, who are they to boast about our "highly free and mobile society" presiding as they do over our nation's largest campaign to reduce American freedom? There's no freedom or mobility for the 500,000 Americans they've banished behind bars for drug crimes. We wouldn't even have the "higher crime rate" he speaks of if we didn’t make crimes of things that shouldn’t be.

When I first learned of the new World Health Organization data showing that Americans use marijuana and cocaine at dramatically higher rates than the Netherlands, I asked myself how the Drug Czar's office could even begin to respond. It's a point they've been dodging for decades, thrust suddenly upon them in the form of a credible study that focuses directly upon that which they've sought so desperately to disregard. Nonetheless, I am honestly surprised that, in their infinite slipperiness, they couldn't come up with something better than this.
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A Different Kind of Country

We're just a different kind of country. We have higher drug use rates, a higher crime rate, many things that go with a highly free and mobile society.

So ONDCP spokesman Tom Riley thinks this is ‘just a different kind of country’?  And he thinks a free and mobile society is conducive to crime?

Free speech and guns are the freedom highlights for the U.S.  Other than that, there are a dozen or so countries I can think of that give their citizens more freedom than the United States gives to its own.  None of the freer countries’ crime rates even approach those of the U.S.  High crime rates and arrest statistics are proof of a law enforcement failure, not efficiency, or even necessity.

There are better alternatives to running a country.  The French philosopher Baron d’Holbach (1723-1789) argued that morals would be a pointless issue if they didn’t somehow convince people that their well being lies in being moral.  He also recommended that all societies work toward achieving a ‘healthier public opinion which an intelligent individual would hesitate to offend’.

Current U.S. drug policy offends its people with its lies about drugs, who in turn are driven to offend society by rebelling against the drug laws and whatever else the drug laws symbolize to these various individuals.  The United States drug war contributes to making it the least healthy industrialized society on the planet.

At the moment, this is a country of government for the government.  Americans have been duped by the drug warriors.  An appropriate response would be to remember the words of the late, great Abbie Hoffmann who said, ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.’  One thing it can do is end the drug war.

Giordano

Along for the ride

[email protected],Vancouver,B.C.Canada I just received a letter from the Canadian justice minister informing me that the government was going full speed ahead with an all out effort to purge our country from the scourge of drugs.I hope we have an election soon so we can purge our country of this dogma driven neocon disaster of a government.

Denial is not solution

("Drug Czar's Office Admits that Drug Enforcement Can't Be Proven to Work" but it can be absolutely proven to have failed. All manner of crime from a majority of street crime to global terrorism and the continued spread of deadly communicable diseases can all be traced to the enforcement imposed prohibition economy created and supported by the war on drugs.)

There is an absolute and direct "link between drug use and drug enforcement", it is the black market economic paradigm created by the drug war and this connection causes the proliferation of both addictive drugs and the crime that is common to any black market economy.

As long as the morals and ethics of drug sales is left, by the prohibition policy, in the hands of addicted dealers and predator gangsters the sales of addictive drugs to new potential young customers will be driven by the values of self-serving addicts and criminally predatory gangsters. And it is in the best interest of addict dealers and their predator distributors to grow the market as much and as fast as they can just in case they become one of that rare 5% or so that get busted for dealing.

When police succeed at interdicting a large supply of an addictive drug in a community there are specific economic effects that ripple out from the bust because the demand still exist in the community. The addict customers do not go away. Take away their best and cheapest dealers and the addicts adapt. They will be forced to find a new supply that can cost more and be less pure. The addicts need more pocket money to get the same high so they commit more street crime. They pass the government imposed price increase on to their innocent crime victims.

Addicts who sell drugs to friends and neighbors to sustain themselves do two things when their primary source is busted. Once they inevitably find a new source they 1. pass along any price increase to the robber/mugger/street thief customers who in turn pass the price increase along to their innocent crime victims in the form of increased street crime. 2. The addict dealers, like any business challenged by cost increases and supply problems, look to broaden their customer base by finding and enticing more young people into using their drugs.

Another aspect of this is that when police bust one supplier usually two or three others move in to take over the market. This often results in move gang violence. My local police came right out and admitted that out record homicide rate in 2006 was a direct result of their "success" at breaking up a couple of gangs which sparked a deadly turf war.

The proliferation of cheap and easy to get hand guns on America's streets is a direct result of the war on drugs policy. The volume of guns available is a result of the demand for guns by the drug gangsters who need them to self-regulate and empower their business. The demand by the gangsters is so high that it throws off excess supply into the community in the form of cheap and easy to get hand guns for all sorts of street criminals. The outcome of this drug black market driven gun demand is more and more violent street crime in America and around the world.

I have seen this play out in my community and across America countless times.

And then there is terrorism. The ultimate political crime and most of it is funded by the black market economy CREATED BY THE WAR ON DRUGS. See my essay of yesterday: Traitors:Bush, Walters, McCain & Obama

"Our drug policy grants huge subsidies to our enemies"

If we didn't have freedom we would not have all of this drug use and crime? So if the drug warriors could only get rid of all of this freedom, with more incarceration and enforcement, it would reduce crime?

The drug war is imposing the only actual freedom, the unregulated anarchic free market of the drug black market created by the war on drugs. The black market is absolute unregulated, unlicensed and untaxed freedom to proliferate and grow. And do so in whatever predatory ways are necessary to circumvent any and all enforcement efforts.

Barnett R. Rubin, Council on Foreign Relation and NYU Afghan policy expert to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
September 2006

SEE: Traitors:Bush, Walters, McCain & Obama
"The international drug control regime, which criminalizes narcotics, does not reduce drug use, but it does produce huge profits for criminals and the armed groups and corrupt officials who protect them. Our drug policy grants huge subsidies to our enemies."

Conservative economists tell us that regulation, licensing and taxation stifle the growth of profitable markets and products. The black market for drugs proves this. The black market for drugs is totally lawless free market anarchy and it is growing exponentially. Its sales force has no democratically regulated constraints that prevent other markets from preying on consumers.

It is appropriate that the drug warriors now resort to disparaging freedom as the cause rather than admitting that their failed drug war policy itself undermines freedom not only by spreading crime and addiction but also by funding international terrorism that is the ultimate crime against humanity.

The drug war is anti-democratic lawless authoritarianism because it is used instead of democratic institutions of regulation, licensing and taxation.

Seems even Joe 6pak...

is now aware, that the drugwar is a fraud. Yet it still goes on? What will finally put this drugwar down? Lack of $$$$$ and an excess of blood.. Same as it ever was, and predictable.Sorry state of affairs,really.Prohibition can never stand the light of day.

Drugs: the scourge of society

drugs cause psychological problems in families (not just in drug users), and that leads to countless other social problems. since it is probable that drug use will increase after legalization (although that in itself is arguable), this is a seemingly reasonable argument against drug legalization, the psychological problems caused by drugs. many sincere thinkers doubt the righteousness of legalization because of this. there is a point you can make to them that should put their doubts to rest, though.

in determining what policies are best for society and for its psychological well being, there is a very useful bottom line: VIOLENCE. The level of violence determines how well off a country is, period. what is the psychological effect of there being a murder in your neighboorhood? even if you didn't know the murderer or the victim; if a few blocks from your house someone was murdered, where would that put you psychologically? would you be calm enough to sit down with a book and get yourself and education?

if we could just end black market violence already, everything else would become healthier and society would flourish in many unpredictable ways.

Instead of doing this, the government keeps oppressing the people and justifying it by saying "we're just a different kind of country".

an instance of drug use that causes harm

-an overdose is an instance that causes harm. it can even happen to a first time user.
-there are also some drugs that can lead to brain damage (although it is very debatable whether or not a single instance of drug use could lead to brain damage).
-apart from that, though, i agree that abuse is the main problem, not use. a single instance of drug use probably does no harm to the great majority of people who try it.

Malkavian's picture

Increases in consumption not that likely

quote: "drugs cause psychological problems in families (not just in drug users), and that leads to countless other social problems. since it is probable that drug use will increase after legalization (although that in itself is arguable), this is a seemingly reasonable argument against drug legalization"

We hear that a lot from the Prohibitionists, but they never seem to be able to explain why there has not been an explosion is use of cannabis in Holland. It has pretty much been proven that prohibition - and the strength with which it is enforced - does NOT in any way correlate with how widespread the use of a drug is.

The experience from Holland, and all those other more lenient countries, tell us one thing: that the alternative to prohibition, which is regulation, harm reduction and education, is at least as effective at curbing drug use as the drug war. One might even argue that perhaps the USA has so bad numbers because of prohibition (but that causality is yet to be proven).

Even if drug use were to increase somewhat it is clear that the harms from the drugs would be smaller now that potency and quality is almost 100% predictable.

The dangers of drugs mean nothing in and of themselves. Even if a drug is horribly dangerous there is no rule saying that the police and their SWAT teams are the best solutions to the problem. Regulation could easily be more effective and cost-effective too.

harm from drug use...

I killed a pan of warm brownies and a quart of cold milk after smoking pot...

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