News Release: Will SDSU Drug Bust Coverage Raise the Critical Questions?

Will SDSU's Drug Bust Reduce Drug Availability on Campus in the Future? Advocates Urge Media to Look Beyond the Surface, Ask Critical Questions About Raid's Long-Term Implications for Drug Trade (or Lack Thereof) In the wake of a major drug bust at San Diego State University, in which 96 people including 75 students were arrested on drug charges as part of "Operation Sudden Fall," advocates are asking media outlets to go beyond the surface to probe whether drug laws and enforcement actually reduce the availability of drugs. "Cocaine was banned in 1914, and marijuana in 1937," said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org, "and yet these drugs are so widely available almost a century later that college students can be hauled away 75 at a time for them. That is the very definition of policy failure." Borden, who is also executive editor of Drug War Chronicle, a major weekly online publication, continued: "Since 1980, when the drug war really started escalating under the Reagan administration, the average street price of cocaine has dropped by a factor of five, when adjusted for purity and inflation. (1) Given that the strategy was to increase drug prices, in order to then reduce the demand, that failure has to be called spectacular." Drug arrests in the US number close to 1.5 million per year, but to little evident effect as such data suggests. Ironically, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis painted a compelling picture of the drug war's failure in her own quote given to the Los Angeles Times: "This operation shows how accessible and pervasive illegal drugs continue to be on our college campuses and how common it is for students to be selling to other students." "While SDSU's future drug sellers will probably avoid sending such explicit text messages as the accused in this case did, it's doubtful that they will avoid the campus for very long," Borden said. "In fact the replacements are undoubtedly already preparing to take up the slack. By September if not sooner, the only remaining evidence that 'Operation Sudden Fall' ever happened will be the court cases and the absence of certain people from the campus." "Instead of throwing away money and law enforcement time on a policy that doesn't work, ruining lives in the process, Congress should repeal drug prohibition and allow states to create sensible regulations to govern drugs' lawful distribution and use. At a minimum, the focus should be taken off enforcement," said Borden. — END — 1. Data from DEA STRIDE drug price collection program, adjusted for inflation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index figures. Further information is available upon request.
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It should also be noted that

It should also be noted that the LA Times reported that about 80 of the arrests were for possession only. And since most of the drugs confiscated were marijuana, I'll bet you're looking at mostly a bunch of kids who got busted for having pot.

Possession

a person can have a five tons of marijuana in their backyard and still only be charged with possession.

And you can be charged with

And you can be charged with sales if you sell one joint. But I would think a 6 month undercover investigation would have resulted in more than possession charges for those who had large quantities.

My point was, this is being sensationalized as a huge network of major dealers of hard drugs, but I suspect most of them weren't dealers. If they were all dealing, why were only 18 arrest warrants served?

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the charges, because I think they are being intentionally misleading about the "massive operation" they busted. It's usually the case that the details paint a much different picture.

Again, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them just had a little pot. Also, a fourth of the arrests were not students, and some were apparently gang members. The press is lumping the whole group together, and I wonder what the truth really is. This is unfair to those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time with a little weed, when they are all being labeled as part of some kind sophisticated network of coke dealers. That's not to say that any of it is fair.

Exaggeration

"Officials differ on number of SDSU students snared in sting"
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080508-1041-bn08arrests.html

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What the DEA doesn't know is that....

....under Prohibition every user is a potential dealer and the profit to made keeps the market going.

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