Monday, August 18, 2003


Some days nothing really happens to me. Yesterday was one of those days. I guess that's a good thing, I needed the rest and it gave me a chance to catch up on some long neglected correspondence and reading. Along the way, I discovered another blog speaking out against this inhumane War on Some Drugs.

Pete Guither is posting Drug War Rant as part of larger website. Check it out and while you're there be sure to take a look at his galleries of fine photographs. Pete and I appear to be kindred souls. Although we were unaware of each other's existence until yesterday we have both been focusing on the same articles among the all too many choices on drug war news.

Pete offers this insight on Will Glaspy's remark that the DEA knows "it can't arrest it's way out of the problem".

It appears this phrase is part of the standard DEA phrasebook whenever they feel they need to look balanced. In fact, that exact phrase has an interesting history:
- Barry McCaffrey first said it in 1996 and used it a number of times.
- Donnie Marshall (then DEA head) used the quote in 2000.
- Asa Hutchinson used it in an interview with the NY Times in 2001 when he was a nominee.
- Police Sylvester Johnson of Philadelphia used it as a slogan for his massive Operation Safe Streets.
- And it's on the DEA website.

Pete goes on to quote from the DEA's publication, "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization":

Successful drug policy cannot take an "Either-Or" approach to harmful drugs. Just as we know we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem, we also know we can't simply turn our backs on the problem and throw up our hands in defeat. Rather, we must take a balanced approach that combines prevention, enforcement, and treatment.

Hah! I suppose that's why we have 2.1 million inmates in our prison system while treatment programs are being decimated across the country. It's time for the DEA to start walking their talk.


To underscore that point, this email alert arrived in the in-box today from CADCA a national anti-drug coalition. This is how much the DEA cares about their treatment programs:

DEA's Demand Reduction Program Threatened with Elimination

August 18, 2003

Last month, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary passed its appropriations bill with report language that would redirect all funding for the DEA's Demand Reduction program to strictly law enforcement activities....

Quoting the Harm Reduction professionals employed by this program:

...The DEA Demand Reduction Coordinators have unique expertise and credibility regarding enforcing our national drug laws and are the main law enforcement agents who bring this vital information to communities around the nation. While their efforts make up less than 1% of the DEA’s budget, they provide an essential link between Federal law enforcement and local communities...

... is imperative that as a field we actively advocate on behalf of the DEA's demand reduction program....

Now this is a legislative action but I see no word of the DEA leaping to the defense of the program. One percent of their budget is not pocket change, but don't you think they could spare that much to pretend they care about harm reduction? My guess is the professionals even in this program, much as the rest of the medical community, are beginning to understand that legalization is the only way to reduce harm.



At the same time, the prison statistics being released this week just keep getting worse. An AP story released yesterday, 5.6M Have 'Prison Experience' recounts a recent government report that about one in every 37 U.S. adults was either imprisoned at the end of 2001 or had been incarcerated at one time. That's about 2.7 percent of the adult population of 210 million as of Dec. 31, 2001, with "prison experience". And that doesn't count the people who were temporarily held, a time frame that can span several months or more while waiting for trial. Think about it friends, more people in jail than Russia or China. And we call those countries oppressors.



This administration just loves the crusader theme. They're determined to reform the heathens whether they like it not. Guess they figure it will be easier to evangelize if their audience is stuck in a jail cell. Faith-based drug wars published by Working For Change, reported that although more than 30 months have passed since President Bush announced the centerpiece of his domestic agenda -- his faith-based initiative -- and no significant broader efforts to fund his initiative has emerged from Congress, the administration continues to move ahead on a number of fronts.

Bush's latest faith-based proposal involves enlisting religious youth groups in the war on drugs. Towards that end the adminstration published 75,000 guidebooks called "Pathways to Prevention: Guiding Youth to Wise Decisions." Krissy Oechslin, of Marijuana Policy Project, remarked about the faith-based effort. "We do not oppose efforts to teach kids the truth about drugs. But the one thing that will likely be conspicuously missing from this faith-based initiative is any discussion about the effects of our drug laws."

When the president announced his National Drug Control Strategy, "compassionate coercion" was the term used to describe their strategy. Under the heading "Healing America's Drug Users" a White House fact sheet said: "Getting people into treatment -- including programs that call upon the power of faith -- will require us to create a new climate of ‘compassionate coercion,’ which begins with family, friends, employers, and the community. Compassionate coercion also uses the criminal justice system to get people into treatment."

Oh right there's those treatment programs again. You see a lot of teenagers sent to these quasi-boot camps in order to avoid a criminal record. That's how they manufactured the statistics about more teenagers admitting to being addicted to marijuana. It was say that or go to jail. What would you pick as a 17 year old who got caught with a joint?

This war against us is draining our treasury of 40 billion dollars a year and making a criminal out of one out of every 37 citizens. We are not criminals. It is this war that's a criminal waste of our all too finite communal resources.

Last word and quote of the day on this issue goes to Bruce Mirken, the Marijuana Policy Project's director of communications:

Bush's whole drug policy is in reality one gigantic faith-based initiative. It's sure not based on science or data, particularly in regard to marijuana. The government's own figures show that marijuana use by kids under 21 has gone up over 2000% since marijuana was banned, and a National Research Council study commissioned by the Drug Czar's office reported in 2001 that the evidence shows little or no relationship between the severity of criminal sanctions and rates or frequency of drug use.

If the government announced a program to reduce unemployment, and unemployment subsequently rose 2000%, that policy would be toast faster than you can say 'Bill Bennett loves to gamble, but the administration believes, with deep religious conviction that drugs are bad and must be banned. It's truly a faith based drug policy, and it ruins lives every day.

AMEN Bruce.



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