Category Archives: the war on drugs

How To Win a War on Drugs

Decades ago, the United States and Portugal both struggled with illicit drugs and took decisive action — in diametrically opposite directions. The U.S. cracked down vigorously, spending billions of dollars incarcerating drug users. In contrast, Portugal undertook a monumental experiment: It decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, even heroin and cocaine, and unleashed a major public health campaign to tackle addiction. Ever since in Portugal, drug addiction has been treated more as a medical challenge than as a criminal justice issue.

After more than 15 years, it’s clear which approach worked better. The United States drug policy failed spectacularly, with about as many Americans dying last year of overdoses — around 64,000 — as were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars combined.

In contrast, Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it. Today, the Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin, down from 100,000 when the policy began.

The number of Portuguese dying from overdoses plunged more than 85 percent before rising a bit in the aftermath of the European economic crisis of recent years. Even so, Portugal’s drug mortality rate is the lowest in Western Europe — one-tenth the rate of Britain or Denmark — and about one-fiftieth the latest number for the U.S.

For the last 50-someodd years the reactionaries in our government have abandoned common sense, not to mention compassion and empathy for their fellow citizens, when it has come to drug policy, instead preferring to have their ignorance praised and prejudices stroked by the mouth-breathers, deplorables and multinational corporations.

But hot damn if that isn’t changing by sheer attrition: Moronic regressives like Lil’ Jeffy Sessions are slowly dying out. And they’re being replaced by a more knowledgeable electorate, people who know they have been lied to, by whom and for what reasons.

This will eventually spell the doom of prohibition; inch by inch, sloooooowly we will turn..

Even the U.S. government will have to come around: One can deny the obvious only for so long.

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” Thomas Paine

How To Win a War on Drugs

Nevada’s Drug Problem

Nevada officials have declared a state of emergency over marijuana: There’s not enough of it.

Since recreational pot became legal two weeks ago, retail dispensaries have struggled to keep their shelves stocked and say they will soon run out if nothing is done to fix a broken supply chain.

“We didn’t know the demand would be this intense,” Al Fasano, cofounder of Las Vegas ReLeaf, said Tuesday. “All of a sudden you have like a thousand people at the door. …We have to tell people we’re limited in our products.”

In declaring a state of emergency late last week, the state Department of Taxation warned that “this nascent industry could grind to a halt.”

As bad as that would be for marijuana consumers and the pot shops, the state has another concern: tax revenue. A 10% tax on sales of recreational pot — along with a 15% tax on growers — is expected to generate tens of millions of dollars a year for schools and the state’s general fund reserves.

The whole article is a must-read, but the gist is as follows: Nevada is running out of weed, due mostly to local legislative cowardice (induced by liquor industry lobbyists.) The Nevada Department of Taking Your Money is spazzing ’cause they’re losing whole shit-tons of Ameros.

Think Charles Foster Kane William Randolph Hearst’s cock-blocking the hemp industry.

One is tempted to enquire as to what the fuck the Nevada state legislature was smoking when they came up with this “plan”, but that seems obvious, n’est-ce pas?.

Nevada's Drug Problem

The War on Drugs

We’ve long claimed the death and destruction caused by the war on drugs could be pared down to a bare minimum by 1.) legalizing drugs, and 2.) the government stepping in to manage the drug marketplace. That, of course, is not something our thoroughly corrupt political class wants to hear; they’re all pretty much making a financial killing the way things stand, and all that bribe/hush money would disappear were we to come to our senses.

Though it doesn’t get much play by the MSM, others tend to agree…

In an interview with The Independent, Rolles, who has previously served as an adviser to the Global Commission on Drugs, argues that the “most striking thing about the war on drugs is its spectacular failings on its own terms”.

He says the idea behind the policy was to eradicate drugs from the globe in order to create a drug-free world by 2008, with the official slogan of the 1998 UN conference on the world drug problem being: “A Drug-Free World: We Can Do It.”

“Not only did that not happen but actually things continued to get worse so drug markets were founded, prevalence increased and all the problems related to drug use and illegal drug markets increased as well,” Rolles says. “For a policy that is specifically trying to eradicate drugs from the world, it has overseen the most rapid expansion of drug use in human history.”

The policy has instead backfired, he points out, leading to the creation of an “enormous illegal market where hundreds of billions every year are controlled by violent gangsters. So we have all of this crime and violence, both on UK city streets and around the world, which is fuelled by the illegal drug trade. We don’t have those issues with legal drugs. We don’t have tobacconists gunning each other down in the streets. All the problems associated with the vast illegal drug trade are essentially a result of prohibition.”

Instead of protecting the health of the public, the war on drugs has made drugs more dangerous, Rolles maintains. “It’s not deterring youth. It’s not preventing availability of access to drugs. It’s actually making drugs more dangerous.

“All drugs are fundamentally risky but when they’re produced and supplied through an illegal market they become more risky. People don’t know how strong they are, people don’t know what’s in them, their potency can vary wildly. All of the things that that the war on drugs is supposedly achieving in terms of protecting our health or protecting us from crime, it’s actually doing the opposite.” 1

Samatha Bee’s take on the subject…

The War on Drugs

Show 1 footnote

  1. One of the very few unqualified “good” bits Comey revealed yesterday may put paid to Sessions as AG. Though, if true, there’s nothing to stop OMP from naming someone far worse in his stead, as seems to be his pattern.

Poverty Causes Addiction

One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments – ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

…a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did…

…Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage

After the first phase of Rat Park, Professor Alexander then took this test further. He reran the early experiments, where the rats were left alone, and became compulsive users of the drug. He let them use for fifty-seven days — if anything can hook you, it’s that. Then he took them out of isolation, and placed them in Rat Park. He wanted to know, if you fall into that state of addiction, is your brain hijacked, so you can’t recover? Do the drugs take you over? What happened is — again — striking. The rats seemed to have a few twitches of withdrawal, but they soon stopped their heavy use, and went back to having a normal life. The good cage saved them. (The full references to all the studies I am discussing are in the book.)

We’d note two things:

First, it’s been obvious for decades the addiction crisis is driven by poverty and its attendant misery in the lives of ordinary Americans. And that poverty has always been an official government policy.

Second, you don’t have to be Carnac the Magnificent to see the parallels between the current US opioid epidemic and the explosion in drug and alcohol abuse in the Soviet Union. 1

Poverty Causes Addiction

Show 1 footnote

  1. For those with poor/no memory, this happened just prior to the USSR’s collapse. We’re jes’ sayin’…

Ketamine Pigeon

Customs officials in Kuwait have apprehended a pigeon carrying drugs in a miniature backpack, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai reports. A total of 178 pills were found in the fabric pocket attached to its back.

The bird was caught near the customs building in Abdali, close to the border with Iraq.

An al-Rai journalist said the drugs were a form of ketamine, an anaesthetic (sic) also used as an illegal party drug. 1

Abdullah Fahmi told the BBC that customs officials already knew pigeons were being used to smuggle drugs, but this was the first time they had caught a bird in the act.

Filing this one under felony stupid; homing pigeons usually know only a couple of places to go, and then where to return.

It’s that return part that’s problematic…

Ketamine Pigeon

Show 1 footnote

  1. Mater recently took a spill that caused her to reach out with right arm to break her fall. Instead she broke both her radius and ulna at the wrist, with the radius nearly bulging nearly through her skin. At the ER they offered her the choice of a local or ketamine while they reset the bones; she chose the trip and had no memory when she “came to” of how we came to be in the ER, much less why she had a splint on her left arm.

The War on Drugs

If you get caught selling cannabis at college, you can lose your scholarship and access to financial aid. But if your company is caught bribing doctors to sell the deadly opioid fentanyl, you can get a building named after you.

Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company backed by the hedge funds Orbimed Advisors and Scopia Capital, has had its CEO and five other executives charged with conspiring to bribe doctors to prescribe the opioid fentanyl. Insys is now seeking to profit from treating the opioid epidemic that it helped to exacerbate by selling drugs to treat addiction and reverse overdoses.

In December 2016, six executives at Insys Therapeutics, including former CEO Michael Babich, were arrested and charged with paying off doctors to prescribe Subsys, an oral spray form of fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is many times more potent than morphine or heroin. The arrests came amid investigations by several states and the federal government as well as inquiries from Congress and a shareholder lawsuit.

Investigations began in 2014 after doctors who were paid tens of thousands of dollars in speaking fees by Insys were arrested for improperly prescribing Subsys. The New York Times reported that, though Subsys was only approved for breakthrough cancer pain, only around one percent of prescriptions for Subsys were made by oncologists. Half of the prescriptions for Subsys were written by pain specialists, with the rest coming from “general practice physicians, neurologists and even dentists and podiatrists.”

It turns out the root cause of the “opioid crisis”, despite all those heart-breaking NPR one-on-one in-depth reports, is that it has been driven by hyper-aggressive and unethical marketing by pharmaceutical firms. The notion of dentists and podiatrists pushing fentanyl is so ludicrous it sounds like a Monty Python skit…


The War on Drugs

Knee Jerk Reactions

Looks like that ol’ drug pusher (tobacco) Jeff Sessions has enlisted an ally in his efforts to assuage both big pharma and the liquor industry’s insecurities…

WASHINGTON – Two days after downplaying the role of marijuana in the nation’s drug war, Department of Homeland Security John Kelly changed course on Tuesday, calling it a “potentially dangerous gateway drug” and saying his agency would continue to arrest and investigate those who traded in it in violation of federal law.

“Let me be clear about marijuana: It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs,” he said in his first major speech since being sworn in. “Its use and possession is against federal law and until that law is changed by the United States Congress, we at DHS, along with the rest of the federal government, are sworn to uphold all the laws that are on the books.”

Sooo…what? DHS now suddenly has police powers? Uh, methinks not. In fact the department is in legal hot water exactly because they’ve been masquerading as police. Moreover, none of what DHS is tasked with gives them any place in big pharma’s never ending, farcical “war on drugs.” 1

And that old canard about marijuana being a “gateway drug”? Bitch, please! You know what gateway drugs are? Pharmaceutical grade “diet” pills, mood elevators/inhibitors and, oh yeah, don’t forget hydrocodone and OxyContin – those ARE gateway drugs for, yep, you guessed it, heroin. 2

Marijuana advocates, who are watching closely to determine whether the Trump administration will deal a blow to state-level legalization efforts, decried the comments, saying Kelly was defying science in taking a hard line on pot. Eight states – Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana in some form and another 20 permit the sale of pot for medical purposes.

“DHS should stick to security and leave the science to the scientists,” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Project, told McClatchy. “This is a knee-jerk reaction among a certain generation of people that still think of marijuana as this vile, horrific substance and have yet to accept the fact that it is actually less harmful than alcohol.”

Indeed, but tiny Jeff Sessions 3 needs an ally since many in Congress are ready to admit the marijuana stupidity has gone too far.

It bears repeating over and over and over again that the ONLY reason marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug is because that black hearted asshole Nixon, along with his dolt of idiots of a staff, needed it for political reasons.

Knee Jerk Reactions

The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel.

— Thomas Sowell

Knee Jerk Reactions

It’s hard not to see Lilliputian Sessions’ efforts as a crusade when he refuses to let science stand in the way of incarceration by excluding the National Commission on Forensic Science 4:

“The reliance of law enforcement on questionable science and the overstatement of the reliability of that science has been a leading cause of the wrongful conviction of innocent people,” said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) president Barry Pollack on Monday. “The reason the National Commission on Forensic Science has been so important is that it includes leading independent scientists, allowing an unbiased expert evaluation of which techniques are scientifically valid and which are not. NACDL is terribly disappointed that even while acknowledging the crucial role played by the National Commission on Forensic Science, the Attorney General has chosen to disband it.”

Stone them, burn them at the stake, throw them in ponds and see if they float…

Knee Jerk Reactions

Meanwhile, just north of us, in a civilized country

Knee Jerk Reactions

Show 4 footnotes

  1. With the possible exceptions of the Coast Guard, in an interdiction mode, though more and more that’s a “coals to Newcastle” idiocy; why bother when you can legally buy weed in one of 8 states and drive it home?
  2. Though, frankly? Opioids, per se, aren’t the problem, Chris Christie’s irrelevancies aside: thorough education as to the dangers of drug mixing, yanking crusading pols out of the doctor-patient relationship and supporting the expansion of medication-assisted treatment, while permitting legal access to heroin and other drugs would save more lives than ANY drug prohibition.
  3. Sessions’ height is listed at 5′ 7″, exactly the same as Tom Cruise. However no one believes Cruise, since he’s given to wearing “lifts.” A more realistic figure is would be 5′ 5″ in both cases. What IS it with little men and their need to project authority, ludicrous though it may be?
  4. NCFS is funded specifically to enable independent scientists to investigate/counter forensic laboratory methods or other issues that might lead to false criminal convictions.

The War on Drugs

ISIS jihadis…er, I mean, Peyton C. Grinnell of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in Florida has a message for you, heroin pushers/users! 1 You should seek help from your local office of Florida social services 2 agency, especially receiving a referral to The Recovery Village where both mental health and addition issues can be addressed! 3

Wait…that’s not what Peyton C. Grinnell said. What he really said was “…run and hide” before “”our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges.” 4

…’cause THAT has worked really really well the last 50 years, amirite? I mean, what could go wrong?

The War on Drugs

Show 4 footnotes

  1. That’s not totes over the top…jeez, what a buncha queens.
  2. “This agency sucks in every facet and does more to divide and destroy the family structure far more than they do to assist one in preserving it. This isn’t assistance its a setup for failure to keep poor people stuck in a maze and job security for society’s leeches and parasites that claim to be here to help…”
  3. Or will be until the ReThugs eventually repeal and replace the ACA. Then you’re on your own, kiddo.
  4. The militarization of our nation’s police forces has now officially jumped the shark; that motley crew would fit right in at the Sidestreet Bar & Grill late Friday nights. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Peyton C. Grinnell!

What Could Go Wrong?

The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to (OMP). Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.

[…]

The office will also focus on combating opioid abuse, a regular emphasis for (OMP) on the campaign trail. The president later this week plans to announce an official drug commission devoted to the problem that will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). He has been working informally on the issue for several weeks with Kushner, despite reported tension between the two.

No, I’m not going to blast Kushner sitting in the WH doin’ “stuff.” That’s such an overtly screwed up idea it needs no explanation.

What I do find amusingly terrifying is the idea of Chris Christie charge of well…anything, much less a drug commission. That’s as stupid as installing Jeff Sessions as Attorney General; the outcome is sure to be FUBAR’d.

What’s Christie plan – having opioid users stop eating taking meds from their parents’ medicine cabinets? Yeah, that will work.

Exactly as well as Nancy’s infamous “just say no.” 1

But this White House has no intention of making these departments/agencies/commissions work. It’s all just kabuki for the masses.

What Could Go Wrong?

Show 1 footnote

  1. Nothing will work; people are going to do what people do. As for the kids; raise them properly. There’s no definitive solution here…

Clarence Thomas Condemns Civil Asset Forfeiture

Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case filed by a Texas woman who says that her due process rights were violated when the police seized over $200,000 in cash from her family despite the fact that no one has been convicted of any underlying crime associated with the money. Unfortunately, thanks to the state’s sweeping civil asset forfeiture laws, the authorities were permitted to take the money of this innocent woman.

The Supreme Court offered no explanation today for its refusal to hear the case of Lisa Olivia Leonard v. Texas. But one member of the Court did speak up. In a statement respecting the denial of certiorari in the case, Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear that he believes the current state of civil asset forfeiture law is fundamentally unconstitutional.

“This system—where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use—has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses,” Thomas declared.

Thomas is right, but one wonders if a.) there will ever be a “correct” case to come before SCOTUS, and b.) why in the hell a bill of sale and a public record of the sale of her house wasn’t enough evidence to prove the cash wasn’t really being used for drugs?
Clarence Thomas Condemns Civil Asset Forfeiture