Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mad about meth

This one has been making the rounds but in case you missed it, the NYT has a story on the latest media extravaganza in the war on some drugs. In response to growing criticism that they're ignoring the "meth epidemic," White House drug warriors, John Walters, AG Al Gonzales and HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt showed up at a Nashville conference to assure the masses that they take the drug seriously.

I'll skip the lame quotes, (they're always the same), and summarize. The White House guys say they are doing something about it and they've already done a lot, but white trash meth heads don't own enough property to seize to make it worth their while to arrest them and it costs too much to clean up the busted labs, so they have to go after marijuana users who are easier to catch and are generally successful citizens who own good stuff to forfeit. Okay, I made that last part up, but that's effectively how it works.

Everyone agrees that it's a problem and the HHS will grant a token $16.2 million for treatment options. A spit in the bucket compared to the billions they spend on apprehension and incarceration. Meanwhile, ONDCP will be pitching in by spending your tax dollars on a new ad campaign to "fight" meth use. Which will no doubt be as effective as the anti-marijuana ads - which is to say - not at all.

The big meme is to make cold medicine and whatever other common legal items that contain pseudoephedrine, really hard to get. Great way to incovenience the public, but unlikely to eliminate meth use as the "cooks" are way ahead of them already and have simply moved their operations to Mexico.

This strategy, already employed in many places, may have indeed reduced the proliferation of home labs, a good thing to be sure, but meanwhile meth use is up sharply and shows no sign of abating. So what you're left with is a whole bunch of addicts who can no longer make their own drug and will now probably be committing property crimes to be able to afford their fix. The violence the addicts are prone to while in paranoid psychosis from overuse, is just a little bonus.

They also want to increase the penalities for meth. As if anyone has ever been "cured" of addiction in jail. I guess they didn't notice that incarcerating well over 2 million Americans already, hasn't done a bloody thing to reduce consumption of any drug.

But without a punative approach, all that drug war funding would disappear and the one thing all the parties agree on is that they want and need more money to continue their failed tactics. What the hell, it's a living.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home