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Tainted Cocaine is a Consequence of Drug Prohibition

I don’t particularly mind the drug czar pointing out that cocaine can kill you. While far from the deadliest thing on earth, the stuff ain’t good for you, especially given the way some folks get carried away with it. I agree that a sensible drug policy includes telling people that cocaine pretty much sucks.But here we have the drug czar highlighting reports of tainted cocaine in Canada and proposing drug treatment as the solution to that. Isn’t it ironic that, after tirelessly advocating policies which drive drug distribution underground, the drug czar then cites a poisoned drug supply as an argument for abstinence?

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Random Drug Testing Won’t Save the Children From Heroin

Here’s drug czar John Walters shamelessly using a young woman’s death as an opportunity to plug student drug testing:Heroin killed 19-year-old Alicia Lannes, and her parents say she got the drug from a boyfriend.  Experts say that's how most young kids get introduced to drugs: by friends or relatives.…While teen drug use is declining, Walters says a Fairfax County heroin ring busted in connection with Lannes' death proves it's still a problem.  He supports a federal program used in more than 4,000 schools to randomly drug test students. "There's no question in my mind had this young woman been in a school, middle school or high school with random testing," said Walters, "She would not be dead today." [FOX DC]Walters sounds supremely confident, as usual, yet the reality is that random drug testing is often impotent when it comes to discovering heroin use. Student drug testing programs typically rely on urine tests, which can only detect heroin for 3-4 days after use. Only marijuana -- which stays in your system for up to a month – can be effectively detected this way. Thus, random testing actually incentivizes students to experiment with more dangerous drugs like heroin that increase your chances of passing a drug test.And thanks to the complete failure of the drug war, heroin is stronger today than ever before:The drug enforcement agency says the purity of heroin found in Virginia is typically higher than usual—making it more deadly. "They tend not to know how to gauge the strength and they usually take more than they need to," said Patrick McConnel, who oversees Treatment for Youth Services Administration Alcohol and Drug Services. There are no easy answers here, to be sure, and I don’t claim any monopoly on the solutions to youth drug abuse. But I guarantee you that the problem isn’t our failure to collect more urine from young people. As long as the most dangerous substances continue to be manufactured, distributed, and controlled by criminals, the face of our drug problem will remain the same.

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Swiss Voters Approve Heroin Prescriptions, But Reject Marijuana Decriminalization

I don’t know quite what to make of this news from Switzerland:GENEVA (AP) — The world’s most comprehensive legalized heroin program became permanent on Sunday with overwhelming approval from Swiss voters, who separately rejected the legalization of marijuana.The heroin program, started in 1994, is offered in 23 centers across Switzerland. It has helped eliminate scenes of large groups of drug users shooting up openly in parks and is credited with reducing crime and improving the health and daily lives of addicts. …Of the 2.26 million Swiss who voted in the national referendum, 68 percent approved making the heroin program permanent. But 63 percent voted against the marijuana proposal, which was based on a separate citizens’ initiative to decriminalize consuming marijuana and growing the plant for personal use. [NY Times]Pete Guither has some good analysis explaining how concerns about Amsterdam-type drug tourism helped to torpedo the proposal. It’s a harsh reality that any nation that considers tolerating recreational marijuana sales must inevitably come to terms with a potential influx of pot smoking tourists. They’re easy enough to deal with, but the idea just makes some people uncomfortable.A policy that prohibits sales to foreigners might mitigate these concerns, but I can’t get over the absurdity of restricting marijuana sales while permitting tourists to get drunk off their asses anywhere they please. The problem in Amsterdam isn’t that marijuana laws are too loose, it’s the fact that marijuana laws everywhere else are completely unreasonable. So-called "marijuana tourism" is just another symptom of marijuana prohibition in the U.S. and beyond. Can you even imagine what Amsterdam would be like if it were the only place you could legally purchase alcohol?

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It's finally over

I have finally been accepted into the St.Paul's pain clinic and have been sitting at the computer for hours without any pain.This is such a relief but it makes me all the more aware of how I have been

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Prohibition still fueling the terrorists

Remember how prohibition was funding the Taliban and Al Qaeda back in 05?

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How many more?

Since my experience with the so called super virus and my following medical problems, I have received a number of e mails from people who find themselves in similar circumstances.I refer to the troubl

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Police Use Newspaper Ads to Recruit Snitches

Apparently, there aren’t enough unsolved crimes to keep Albuquerque police busy:ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Albuquerque Police Department has turned to the want ads for snitches.An ad this week in the alternative newspaper The Alibi asks "people who hang out with crooks" to do part-time work for the police.It reads in part: "Make some extra cash! Drug use and criminal record OK." [MSNBC]Does this sound at all like something that’s going to make Albuquerque a better place? It’s absurd on its face, a completely sick feeding frenzy mentality that goes a long way towards explaining how we’ve become the world’s leading jailer. The very fact that police are actively seeking sketchy people to rat out other sketchy people shows you exactly how useless and cyclical much of our criminal law-enforcement activity has become.Worse yet, this is exactly how you incentivize bad people to create bad situations. This is how innocent people’s addresses end up on drug warrants, only to have their doors smashed in, their dogs shot, and their peaceful lives forever tarnished by the long, infinitely clumsy arm of the law. This is how police become detached from morality, collaborating with criminals to create crime. If there is such a thing as "sending the wrong message" in the war on drugs, it isn’t marijuana reform, it’s police offering people money to take drugs and commit crimes.

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Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

I sent this to Barach Obama at change.gov, since he claims to be looking for good suggestions. If anyone else has sent anything, you know this is just a way to harvest email addresses on their part.

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Don’t Complain About Police Corruption if You Support the Drug War

Time provides a vivid description of the extent of police corruption in the Mexican drug war:Few rituals are more futile than the "housecleaning" of Mexico's police forces. So deep, broad and brazen is cop corruption south of the border that removing it makes eradicating rats from landfills look easy. Mexico stages quasi-annual purges of officers high and low — last year it was 284 federal police commanders — and yet every year it seems to find itself with an even more criminal constabulary. This year's scandals, however, are especially appalling…Time then proceeds to recommend giving Mexico lots of money and technical assistance, while getting Americans to stop snorting so much damn cocaine all the time. It’s really just amazing that any thinking, breathing individual can even look at this and still prescribe 'trying harder' as the solution to this spiraling fiasco. Stop doing that. Just stop. You’re not helping.Everyone knows pushing a few dollars around won’t do anything. We all know that, so shut up. Just admit you don’t know what to do…or call one of the many reformers who can provide a new perspective. But stop saying the same stupid crap over and over. It’s boring. And it’s wrong.

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Hey Barack Obama, Drug Eradication Doesn’t Work

Here’s an excellent column in The Washington Post calling on Obama to cut funding for our failed drug eradication programs in South America. I haven’t heard anything positive from Obama regarding international drug policy, so I’m glad to see these ideas in The Post, where he might see them.

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Bringing all the people together

My name is Cody Allen Burns. I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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Bringing all the people together

My name is Cody Allen Burns. I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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Police Steal Xbox From Innocent Marijuana Suspect

This is exactly the sort of daily injustice that comes to mind when drug war proponents insist that no one goes to jail for marijuana. It’s false, but also completely beside the point. You don’t even have to have any marijuana to get screwed over in the war on drugs:Embedded video from CNN Video

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Drug Czar Suddenly Starts Telling the Truth

With drug czar John Walters’ term coming to an end shortly, we’re beginning to see some really strange stuff coming from his office. Pete Guither and Bruce Mirken both have good examples. Are they getting careless over there?

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Things are Bad All Over (including the Republic of Georgia)

Things are bad in the drug war here in the US, but they're bad all over. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union has released another in its series of films on international drug policy, this one detailing mass forced drug testing among other abuses in the Republic of Georgia:

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SSDP Conference

Pete Guither is live-blogging the conference right now. Check it out. He's already got several good posts up and more to come. This looks like the biggest turnout yet of the 5 SSDP national conferences I've attended. That's exciting to see.

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Compliments of the Drug War

It is clichéd to make the point that we all remember where we were when major world events transpired, but a lot of people do not realise why that is.

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Washington Times Attacks Flex Your Rights

FYR's response to the new random search program on public transportation in DC is continuing to generate media hits, including a negative reaction to our work in The Washington Times. ??The editorial includes factual errors regarding the breadth of the program (amazingly, they didn’t know it includes bus stops) and even accuses Flex Your Rights of endangering public safety. It's revealing that our only opposition got the facts completely wrong. Fortunately, Washington Times published my reply today. Check it out. It’s not everyday that I get accused of endangering everyone in DC, so you can imagine how amused I am by all of this.

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Another Cop Killed in a Drug Raid

This has the makings of another potential paramilitary drug raid legal drama:An FBI agent was killed early yesterday near Pittsburgh during a raid on the home of a suspected cocaine dealer, who was taken into custody along with his wife. Federal officials later reported that the woman was being charged with the shooting.…A lawyer for the couple said Christina Korbe faces homicide charges in connection with Hicks's death, three Pittsburgh television stations reported. Station KDKA quoted lawyer Sumner Parker as saying the Korbes may have believed they were the victims of a home invasion. Federal officials said Christina Korbe was being held by state authorities in connection with the killing.As he was led away in handcuffs from the Allegheny County police headquarters yesterday, Robert Korbe blamed the shooting on other law enforcement officers."They shot their own guy," he told reporters. "I didn't shoot him." [Washington Post]We just don’t have enough facts at this point, but if this turns out to be another case of a confused suspect mistaking police for burglars (or police shooting each other), then it’s something we’ll be discussing in more detail very soon.  Whether it’s a police officer or a suspect, it’s just tragic that so many lives continue to be lost during aggressive drug raids. I agree with Radley Balko who asks why Robert Korbe couldn’t have been arrested outside the home. Busting into people’s houses at 6:00 in the morning is a prescription for disaster. If police can’t find a safer way to do these raids, they need to look harder.

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Will Banning Blunts Reduce Marijuana Use?

No, of course not, but let me introduce you to some people who actually believe it will:Council Bans Sale of Single Cigars in Bid to Curb Youths' Marijuana UseThe Prince George's County Council adopted one of the nation's most sweeping restrictions on the sale of cigars yesterday, an effort to curb a growing trend among urban youths of using hollowed-out cigars to smoke marijuana.The council voted 8 to 1 to ban the sale of single cigars, requiring stores to sell them in packages of at least five. The new law will also make it easier to charge someone possessing a cigar with a drug paraphernalia offense…[Washington Post]How much easier? I’d like to know more. Why would you charge someone with a drug offense for possessing cigars? If they have drugs, you can charge them for that. This is ridiculous. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a stupid idea when you’re trying to save the children:Sylvia Quinton, who works with the Suitland-based Substance Abuse Treatment Education Prevention Network, said use of short fat cigars, often called blunts, to smoke marijuana has "become embedded in youth culture." Blunts make frequent cameos in rap music and movies.She said the new law cannot stamp out the glorification of blunts, but raising the price might discourage some youths.Are you crazy? If they can afford marijuana, they will find a way to smoke it. No one’s gonna give up on smoking a $10 bag because they couldn’t get a blunt for a buck. Not only will this plan fail overall, it will never work even one time on anybody, ever. They will eat their stash raw before surrendering to you.Not to mention the glaring and hysterical fact that you can still buy boxes of blunts and get high five times, while saving some change. This is nothing but a much-needed lesson in economics for people who constantly waste weed by rolling it up in big slimy stinking blunt papers that spill herb into your mouth and make you smell like schwag for a day and a half. The fact that we’re even talking about this is an enormous exhibit in the embarrassing failure of our marijuana laws.

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