Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tony Smith's Demockracy blog

No, that's not a typo in the title. LEAP speaker Tony Smith has his own blog over at demockracy.com. He writes about a variety of topics, but I would like to draw your attention to part one and part two of his essay, "A Police Officer’s View on Drugs."

5 comments:

  1. I was a heroin addict for many years and I think my input could be useful here. Frankly the fact that the drug addiction rate has remained at the same percentage as it was before the War on Drugs is a huge success story. If you think about it, back in the 1920s there was no or little drug culture. Drugs were not nearly as popularized in the culture then as they are today. Today, we hear about drugs everywhere: it pervades our movies, our music, and to some extent television. Yet we've been able to keep drug use at the same rate - amazing really if you consider it.
    It's silly to cite the fact that drug use still exists as evidence that the War on Drugs is a failure. Nobody thinks you could ever make drug use a zero percentage thing. That simply isn't the point. The point is to keep it low, and that's so far exactly what we've seen.
    People say cigarettes are as addictive as heroin. I was addicted to both, so let me make this very clear. The withdrawal from cigarettes is indeed as bad as heroin withdrawal, but the *psychological/emotional* addiction to heroin makes cigarette addiction look like a walk in the park. Cigarettes, after all, don't really get you that high. As far as heroin goes, well, that's another story...
    People often say: well look at the annual deaths from alcohol and cigarettes - they add up to more than all the illegal drug deaths combined! Well yes...if you ask me that's yet another success story from the War on Drugs.
    Finally, these polls that are taken where people are asked "if drugs were legalized, would you use them??" do not tell you a darn thing about how many people would *actually* use drugs if they were made legal. Of course, nobody thinks "Oh yeah, if heroin were legal I'd definitely jump on that boat!" *Of course* that's not how addiction works. From someone who was a heroin addict, I can assure you of one single thing: no matter what a poll tells you, when people all of a sudden have legal access to heroin (and yes that WOULD be much easier to get than in today's drug market - you have to acquire all the right connections to score heroin today...nobody needs connections to buy something from a legal market, and they would feel much safer about doing it), so many people would decide "well maybe i'll give it a try." And once you feel that high, that's all it takes to be addicted for the rest of your life. Near every heroin addict you talk to will agree: It would be near impossible to stop taking heroin if it were available in a legal market system.

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  2. T-Walker - thanks for your lengthy and detailed comments.

    Maybe more people would take more heroin if it was legal. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that legal and regulated heroin would reduce the crime, addiction, disease and death that is more properly associated to the prohibition of heroin than heroin itself.

    As it happens, a couple of days ago Alex Wodak published a fantastic op-ed piece that addresses many of your concerns.

    Also, I'm curious - do you think society should prohibit (with criminal penalties) the possession and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes?

    Thanks again for your comments - open debate is always a good thing.

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  3. Dear T Walker, I am still not convinced by your logic, and especially that the War on Drugs is a "success!" Yes you should carry your cross, but forcing others to carry your cross…

    The War on Drugs is the biggest failure in history! It's the epicenter of nearly every evil that plagues us! So many lives lost fighting it, on all sides, and innocent by-standers! Society-crushing debts due to fighting it, constitution-crushing "laws" since the self-righteous overlords think everyone is guilty but them, locking up and wasting the lives of people who should not be in prison, keeping plants from people who use them in worshipping God, and on and on, but all of this is prophesied — to a "T."

    Drugs have been part of societies as long as they've been around. If you want to blame something, blame the greedy marketers! But it certainly should come as no surprise that as soon as the pompous self-righteous vilify something, those who hate the pompous gravitate to it! Just to spite them! This is simple A-B-C logic. And why Jesus spent 99% of his time telling us what to do vs. what not to do, and told us to ignore the blind guides, not spend all our time refuting them.

    I have heard from good authorities, and not just from the highly educated who have done research, but from a close friend who I trust implicitly, that not all heroin users have addiction problems like you had. I have a very good friend who was in Vietnam (yet another dumb not-winnable war pushed down on society from bullies above) who told me of his use of heroin. They used to push the tobacco out of a cigarette, then mix heroin into the pile of tobacco, and work it back in the empty cigarette paper, then smoke it.

    Since "addicted" is a subjective term, I guess people could have called him an "addict" since they did it often. But when faced with the statement "stop using heroin and be allowed to go home or keep on using heroin and stay here in Vietnam," he like many others, just up and stopped using it! Clearly, like alcohol, like sex, like fast cars, like iPods, like acting tough and bossing other around, like fatty foods, like sugary foods, some people have trouble stopping and some people don't. I have read other people's accounts of using heroin and it was not, as you describe "once you feel that high, that's all it takes to be addicted for the rest of your life," they tried the stuff and hated it, never to use it again, and some even gave it more than one chance! Was it that way with you, I guess, I'll take your word for it. But I also realize that you can not speak for all humanity, especially when I've heard so many statements to the contrary. So this is your cross to carry, but not everyones.

    Mr. T Walker, those who have had a hard time should not be allowed to force others to carry their crosses. I've known people who have had to stop drinking alcohol because they couldn't enjoy 1, 2 or 3 drinks, they had to down a 12-pack, or even a whole case! What is better for society? We out and out ban alcohol (again) because some people have trouble with it? or We help those who have problems?

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  4. The war on drugs has done nothing but bust our budget, call people criminals who should not be, and exacerbated every problem the prohibitionists decry! The more you continue to vilify "doing drugs" like y'all do now, the more it's going to be glorified in the "subcultures" you despise so much. Yes, it has been the very prohibitionists who have lead people into temptation, created terror and every other ill associated with drug use, the black market, huge profits to criminal enterprises, etc… you all made your own boogieman and fed it!

    What we've seen is that prohibition has caused children to deal drugs. Adults don't want to get caught due to the crazy penalties so therefore: use kids. Plus, here's another feather in the cap of prohibitionists, this also makes it easier to hook kids. Who is a kid more likely to try drugs from? An adult stranger offering it to them? or a "cool" upperclassman with all sorts of enviable bling? Duh! Yes, thanks to the prohibitionists! Prohibition opened the door of temptation wide for them!

    Pointing at deaths as a measure of success, sounds like something only the grim reaper could do, how about pointing out the fact that as long as there's prohibition, drugs are going to be watered down with adulterants? If prohibition was not in place, drugs would be regulated and impurities nonexistent. How about zero deaths? Let's see, seems to me there are countries where this is the case…

    Finally, not all drugs are the same, these polls that are taken where people are asked "if drugs were legalized, would you use them??" do not tell you a darn thing about how many people would *actually* use drugs if they were made legal.
    Since when do you have any God-given right telling me what I can or can't eat? How would you like it if you were forced to eat like me? Or forced to eat what I dictate to you? The best T Carrier did no such thing.

    Near every heroin addict you talk to will agree: It would be near impossible to stop taking heroin if it were available in a legal market system.
    But (assuming you're right)
    1) At least they wouldn't have to hold up banks or steal from others to pay for it since we could actually charge them the non-prohibition-inflation prices
    2) the black market would diminish or dry up and blow away due to being able to undercut their prices a few thousand percent
    3) those users would be able to dose themselves with a known quantity of the highest purity since it would be regulated and not cut due to money grubbing black market dealers'
    4) if they wished they could probably wean themselves from it with smaller and smaller doses
    5) if they wished for external help, they could find others willing to help them vs. billy clubs, batons, guns, steel and concrete cages
    6) if they wished for external help they could find it when they were ready instead of being forced in to it prematurely and rebelling against it.
    7) since the black market can't afford to compete with the real costs to produce the stuff, there would no longer be any kids being used by adults to deal the stuff, and pushers would loose incentive to hook new users.

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