Tag Archives | War On Drugs

Federal Drug Sentencing Laws Bring High Cost, Low Return

The War on Some Drugs is a waste of money. We all knew it, but now the Pew Charitable Trusts has produced a research report verifying this obvious truth:

More than 95,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug-related offenses—up from fewer than 5,000 in 1980.1 Changes in drug crime patterns and law enforcement practices played a role in this growth, but federal sentencing laws enacted during the 1980s and 1990s also have required more drug offenders to go to prison— and stay there much longer—than three decades ago.2 (See Figure 1.) These policies have contributed to ballooning costs: The federal prison system now consumes more than $6.7 billion a year, or roughly 1 in 4 dollars spent by the U.S. Justice Department.3

Despite substantial expenditures on longer prison terms for drug offenders, taxpayers have not realized a strong public safety return. The self-reported use of illegal drugs has increased over the long term as drug prices have fallen and purity has risen.4 Federal sentencing laws that were designed with serious traffickers in mind have resulted in lengthy imprisonment of offenders who played relatively minor roles.5 These laws also have failed to reduce recidivism.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Taking (Recreational) Drugs Is A Human Right

It seems an impossibly progressive stance for a group of politicians to take, but in the UK some very high profile people are pushing for the use of drugs to be recognized as a human right. From the Independent:

Taking drugs is a human right, according to a cross-party group of MPs and peers who want to legalise the possession, purchase and growing of drugs.

Addiction, Gluttony - Day 149 of Project 365

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform want to use human rights legislation to decriminalise drug use, claiming the “blanket prohibition” drug policy approach has failed.

In a new report it suggests that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlines rights to “private and family life”, could be used by defendants caught with illegal drugs.

It says drug laws needed to “reflect the supremacy of human rights conventions” and suggests that as long as drug taking does not harm others, it should not be a criminal offence.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong

Johann Hari is the author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.

Transcript:

One of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not being able to. And I was just a little kid, so I didn’t really understand why, but as I got older, I realized we had drug addiction in my family, including later cocaine addiction.

I’d been thinking about it a lot lately, partly because it’s now exactly 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States and Britain, and we then imposed that on the rest of the world. It’s a century since we made this really fateful decision to take addicts and punish them and make them suffer, because we believed that would deter them; it would give them an incentive to stop.

And a few years ago, I was looking at some of the addicts in my life who I love, and trying to figure out if there was some way to help them.Read the rest

Continue Reading

If We Fought Cancer Like The War on Drugs

The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure since it’s half-witted inception.

It is based on many faulty assumptions, not least of which is the ridiculous idea that treating normal people who happen to use drugs like criminals will somehow help them stop using drugs. When we apply this same logic to fighting a ‘War on Cancer’, we see how utterly senseless and vile it really is.

This video is a much needed comedic ‘wake-up call’ to everyone who doesn’t get that attacking drug users (or cancer victims) is a bad way of doing anything.

If you enjoyed that video, please take the time to listen to the full length podcasts SRSLY WRONG 48 – DRUG WARS EPISODE IV: THERE’S NO HOPE and SRSLY WRONG 49 – DRUG WARS V: WHITE SUPREMACY STRIKES BACK.

So, when you’re going out into the world today, we want you to remember just a few things:
– The drug war has been a massive, 40 year failure.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Our purity is above 99%': the Chinese labs churning out legal highs for the west

5548568082_1d2577641e_b

Raquel Baranow (CC BY 2.0)

As Western governments play a futile game of whack-a-mole with legal drugs, chemists in China are consistently synthesizing new, legal compounds to sell.

Nicola Davison via The Guardian:

The mass production of legal highs began only in 2008, when UN drugs officials destroyed 33 tonnes of safrole oil, a precursor of MDMA, in Cambodia.

As MDMA stocks in Europe dwindled, suppliers shopped around for an alternative – and found mephedrone, a substance that was chemically similar to MDMA but not controlled in the UK. For the two years before it was banned, users could not get enough of this cheap, cocaine-meets-ecstasy high.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer originally developed synthetic cannabinoids – drugs designed to mimic the effect of cannabis – as research tools to investigate the mechanisms of the brain’s endocannabinoid system for clinical therapy.

Vendors began trawling obscure scientific journals for compounds, consumers described their highs on online drug forums, and the nascent market took shape.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The New U.S. Drug Czar Is In Recovery Himself

Michael Botticelli.jpg

Michael Boticelli

In a remarkably progressive move by the White House, Michael Botticelli, an alcoholic in recovery, has been appointed as the US Drug Czar, or more formally as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), per the New York Times:

BALTIMORE — Six recovering substance abusers sat in an inner-city treatment center, sharing their stories. When Michael’s turn came around, he spoke of his former drug of choice, alcohol, and mentioned the night years ago when he drove drunk on the Massachusetts Turnpike, caused an accident and was arrested before passing out.

Michael then pulled out a picture of a friend’s brother who recently died from mixing prescription painkillers with alcohol. He described his grief and visceral connection with the struggles of substance abusers in recovery.

“You are my people,” he said, wiping one eye.

Catharsis is common in treatment centers, but Michael is not the typical former substance abuser: He is Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, informally known as the drug czar.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades

Phone pole3.jpg

Did you think it was just the NSA that was tracking your phone calls? Turns out that the US Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have been doing it for decades in furtherance of the so-called war on drugs, reports USA Today:

The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed.

For more than two decades, the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking, current and former officials involved with the operation said. The targeted countries changed over time but included Canada, Mexico and most of Central and South America.

Federal investigators used the call records to track drug cartels’ distribution networks in the USA, allowing agents to detect previously unknown trafficking rings and money handlers.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hear Dr. Carl Hart Eviscerate Drug Propaganda

HartPhotoVia Midwest Real

Dr. Carl Hart is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of High Price

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

Before we were engulfed in a tsunami of boundless digital knowledge containing more truth (and garbage) than we could ever digest in thousands of lifetimes, we lived in an incredibly different world. If you were a child of the 90’s like myself, you were constantly inundated with overly-simplistic catchphrase propaganda– “This is your brain on drugs,” “just say no,” the list goes on. I specifically remember being taught in school that marijuana was supremely dangerous because it was a “gateway drug.” The connotation being that if you so much as tried it, you’d probably wind up a strung-out, do-nothing idiot with a Kentucky-fried brain who’d never amount to anything.

This tireless barrage of indoctrination has forged us into a population that looks to traditional sources of authority with an immense amount of skepticism.Read the rest

Continue Reading

Freeway Rick Ross: Crack In The System

Remember Freeway Rick Ross? Well just in case your memory of that sordid tale of the CIA, crack cocaine, allegedly murdered investigative reporter Gary Webb and legendary Los Angeles drug dealer "Freeway" Rick Ross is hazy, there's a tremendous new film on Al-Jazeera America called Freeway: Crack In The System. It's well worth checking out even if you think you know all about Freeway Rick. Here's the synopsis:
The true story behind the crack scourge, featuring exclusive interviews with characters who lived it. Their stories reveal a crack in the system that  implicates the centers of power in our government, their mass incarceration policies and  militarization of police, the spread of gangs and guns, and the loss of entire generations to the war on drugs...
Continue Reading

The Movement To Completely Change The Way You Get High

“Cannabis is joining the coca leaf in the ranks of drugs improved by technology,” claims Cece Lederer at Kernel:

“I’ve got something special for us,” A.J. said as I cued up my recording device. “Have you ever done dabs?”

A.J. is about as close to weed royalty as you can get. If you’ve heard of Sour Diesel, you’ve heard of him. He’s cultivated some of the most potent strains of marijuana and has large-scale grow facilities clamoring for his advice.

Butane honey oil after being whipped 2

Butane honey oil with cannabis sativa exterior trimmings, by Vjiced (CC)

Careful to keep it horizontal, he unzipped a rolling suitcase and took out a blowtorch. Then came the “rig.” At first it looked like a regular water pipe, but instead of a slide, there was a ceramic “nail” that resembled a bird bath for a dollhouse.

Then came the jars. “The flavor is in the liquid,” he said as he put a jar of brown oil on my coffee table.

Read the rest
Continue Reading