Tag Archives | War On Drugs

Animals Just Want To Get High

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Yellow mongoose by Julielangford (CC)

In an excerpt from his new book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs at BoingBoing, Johan Hari explains why animals eat psychoactive plants (hint: to get high):

The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!” U.S. government officials agree, stressing that “there is no such thing as recreational drug use.” So this isn’t a war to stop addiction, like that in my family, or teenage drug use. It is a war to stop drug use among all humans, everywhere. All these prohibited chemicals need to be rounded up and removed from the earth. That is what we are fighting for.

I began to see this goal differently after I learned the story of the drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose. They were all taught to me by a remarkable scientist in Los Angeles named Professor Ronald K.

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Dr. Ingrid Walker: Drugs & Desire

What do you think of when you think of the term, ‘drug user’? Do you think of crusty people on skid row, or perhaps wall street tycoons doing blow off of the butts of their secretaries? Whatever your vision is, it might be very different from the truth. Chances are, you are a drug user. Dr. Ingrid Walker explains further and offers some interesting insights into our biases and misconceptions on drugs.

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Russell Brand’s ‘End the Drugs War’ BBC Documentary

This is Russell Brand’s documentary on the War on Drugs that aired in the UK on BBC Three in December 2014.

The documentary Russell Brand made for BBC Three in 2012 concluded with him giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Drawing on his own experience of drug taking and recovery, he advocated treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem and underlined his own belief that abstinence is the best way to help addicts.

Since then the Committee has reported its findings, concluding that the British drugs laws were failing and that it was a ‘now or never’ moment to reform them. But David Cameron didn’t agree, insisting that the drugs policy is working in Britain and that we should ‘stick at it’.

In this personal journey for BBC Three, Russell Brand sets out to challenge that point of view. He wants to find out how other countries are tackling their problems of drug abuse and to explore how the framework of criminalization implicit in the ‘war on drugs’ produces enormous harm in the treatment of addicts.… Read the rest

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The War on Drugs Is Burning Out

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A domestic US propaganda poster circa 2000.

Could it really be true? An end to the war on (some) drugs? Tim Dickinson says the signs are there, writing at Rolling Stone:

The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation’s capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession. It’s all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs.

November’s election results have teed up pot prohibition as a potent campaign issue for 2016.

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New York City’s Biggest Marijuana Problem Is the Police

Paul Stein (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Paul Stein (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Vice:

A few months ago, I was on a road trip with some friends in upstate New York when we were stopped and searched by state troopers who deployed a drug-sniffing dog. They pulled us all out of the car and tore through our rented minivan, discovering a small plastic baggy with about a gram of weed in it. When they turned up the bag, my homies and I—all young, brown men—instinctively held our hands out to our sides, palms out, as a show of surrender.

The cops started laughing. One of them approached me and said, “I get it. You’re coming from the city, it’s a long drive, you brought a little weed to smoke on the way. Put your hands down. It’ll be fine.” My friends and I exchanged quizzical glances. We’re all used to getting the third degree when it came to drugs and cops.

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Should the Victims of the War on Drugs Receive Reparations?

Neon Tommy (CC by-nd 2.0)

Neon Tommy (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Pacific Standard Magazine:

In November’s gubernatorial election in New York State, Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones are running against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, who won his party’s primary. Hawkins and Jones are seeking to become the next governor and lieutenant governor respectively.

They’re hardly your typical politicians. Hawkins works at UPS in Albany, unloading trucks, and is a member of the Teamster’s union, while Jones is a teacher who taught for nine years in the New York City public school system.

Hawkins and Jones understand that winning is a long shot, to say the least. A recent NBC 4 New York poll showed Hawkins getting just seven percent of the vote. Still, taking a longer view, siphoning away a proportion of the main parties’ voters can be a way to get them to shift their policies in your direction. And the Greens have long argued that building an alternative to the two-party system is crucial because Republicans and Democrats represent the interests of their wealthy corporate donors.

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The Biggest CIA-Drug Money Scandal You Never Read

Nicholas Deak

Nicholas Deak

Mark Ames digs in the crates of CIA scandal and comes up with Nicholas Deak, writing for Pando:

With the release of the new Gary Webb film “Kill The Messenger” and the sudden renewed interest in what goes on in that dark underbelly of the US Empire — drug running, money laundering, death squads, assassinations of lives and of reputations — I’m reminded of the incredible life and death of Nicholas Deak, the CIA’s Cold War banker hailed in Time magazine as “the James Bond of the world of money” until the mid-1980s, when his global finance empire was destroyed by Reagan Administration accusations of large-scale Latin American drug money laundering.

The Reagan Commission on Organized Crime spent much of 1984 attacking Deak’s global foreign exchange firm, Deak-Perera. By the end of the year, Deak was forced to appear before the commission in a testy public interrogation; his financial empire collapsed within days.

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The Web Revolution That’s Changing How the World Gets High

[disinfo ed.’s note: excerpted from DRUGS UNLIMITED: The Web Revolution That’s Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power. Copyright © 2013 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books.]

It is mainly the young who are suffering the consequences of society’s inability to update our drug laws effectively for the modern age. Almost one third of young people are searching for ways of getting legally high, according to the latest survey commissioned by the Angelus Foundation, a campaign group founded in 2009 by Maryon Stewart, whose twenty-one-year-old daughter Hester, a gifted medical student and keen athlete, died after taking GBL in 2009. (Gamma-butyrolactone, a paint stripper and industrial cleaner, can be used as an intoxicant and is poplar on the club scene. It is active at 1 ml, and causes euphoria and disinhibition, but overdoses, where users fall into a coma-like state, are commonplace since it is so potent.… Read the rest

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CIA Admits It Watched Over Destruction Of Journalist Gary Webb

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Gary Webb is posthumously achieving recognition for his “Dark Alliance” investigative report of the CIA’s involvement in the importation of cocaine to finance its illegal involvement in backing the Contras in Nicaragua. There’s a movie coming out portraying Webb and now The Intercept reveals the CIA’s admission that it was closely watching Webb’s activities and eventual death:

Eighteen years after it was published, “Dark Alliance,” the San Jose Mercury News’s bombshell investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California, remains one of the most explosive and controversial exposés in American journalism.

The 20,000-word series enraged black communities, prompted Congressional hearings, and became one of the first major national security stories in history to blow up online. It also sparked an aggressive backlash from the nation’s most powerful media outlets, which devoted considerable resources to discredit author Gary Webb’s reporting. Their efforts succeeded, costing Webb his career. On December 10, 2004, the journalist was found dead in his apartment, having ended his eight-year downfall with two .38-caliber bullets to the head.

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Why We Can’t Wage War on Drugs

“The war on drugs was always a war against an idea. But ideas have a shelf-life, too, and this one has lost its potency,” writes Mike Jay at Aeon:

When the US President Richard Nixon announced his ‘war on drugs’ in 1971, there was no need to define the enemy. He meant, as everybody knew, the type of stuff you couldn’t buy in a drugstore. Drugs were trafficked exclusively on ‘the street’, within a subculture that was immediately identifiable (and never going to vote for Nixon anyway). His declaration of war was for the benefit the majority of voters who saw these drugs, and the people who used them, as a threat to their way of life. If any further clarification was needed, the drugs Nixon had in his sights were the kind that was illegal.

Nixon and Kissinger - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency.jpg
Nixon and Kissinger – Flickr – The Central Intelligence Agency” by The Central Intelligence AgencyNixon and Kissinger.

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