Don't give up the struggle

Rein in police-state extremism, but don't give up war on drugs yet

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It seems at times as if the only thing worse than the perils of illegal drugs is the intemperance of the war against them.

Attorneys for college student Daniel Chong say he was forgotten in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for more than four days.  K.C. ALFRED/ASSOCIATED PRESS
K.C. ALFRED/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Attorneys for college student Daniel Chong say he was forgotten in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for more than four days.

The hysteria surrounding the war on drugs leads authorities to bust down doors to homes, leave footprints on the Constitution while searching motorists and their cars, and more.

Taxpayers just shelled out $4.1 million in a legal settlement to a California college student who was arrested during a drug raid in April 2012 and held in a windowless Drug Enforcement Administration room without food or water – for four and a half days. They appear to have forgotten he was there. The officer who put him in the room even told him he wouldn’t be charged and to “hang tight, we’ll come get you in a minute.”

In fact, he never was charged.

Daniel Chong, 25, drank his own urine to survive. He spent another five days in the hospital.

Then there’s the case of Elizabeth Daly.

The underaged University of Virginia student went to a Charlottesville, Va., store with a couple sorority sisters, and when they came out they were descended upon by a pack of menacing people. They scrambled to get away in their car, with one of the people on the hood and another trying to break in a window.

The pack turned out to be plainclothes alcohol control officers who thought they had nabbed some hardened young criminals with illegal alcohol. In fact, the girls had left the store after purchasing cookie dough, ice cream and a package of bottled water – which the agents apparently took to be demon beer.

Despite her innocence, Daly spent the night in jail for attempting to elude officers, though it’s clear to any sane person the girls thought they were being attacked. Felony charges against her were ultimately dropped, but the damage had been done; the girls were traumatized, and Daly spent a night in jail for the crime of buying supplies for a fundraiser.

While the latter case involved the fear of underage purchase of alcohol, the hysterical approach is the same as that of the drug war. In fighting it, in many ways we have created conditions that can only be described as a police state.

Having said that ...

Every time you start wondering about legalization, someone like James Grates Jr. comes along.

The 29-year-old Grovetown man was recently sentenced to five years in prison for a July 27, 2011, car crash that led to the death of his 3-year-old son.

Authorities say the boy was improperly secured in Grates’ truck when it careened into a concrete pole at between 50 and 60 mph.

The prosecutor says there were marijuana and methamphetamine in his system, and a witness said Grates had been on a two-day meth binge prior to the crash.

For a man who displayed such wanton recklessness with a child and with everyone else’s life on the road that day – and who had a criminal record that included burglary, manufacturing meth, battery, and driving under the influence – five years is a pittance.

But the tragedy is a reminder of how destructive illicit drugs can be – laws or no laws, drug war or no drug war.

It’s also worth noting that some of the worst drug problems we see today involve prescription pills – which are quite legal.

Intuition says laws prohibiting certain drugs retard their use. The evidence is mixed. A Forbes magazine article in 2011 noted that in the 10 years since decriminalization in Portugal, the number of hard-core addicts had decreased by about half.

Then again, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said last year that illicit drug use in the U.S. “has dropped substantially over the past 30 years,” and that “the rate of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly one-third the rate it was in the late ’70s. More recently, there has been a 40 percent drop in current cocaine use and meth use has dropped by half,” The government credited “local, state and federal government efforts, as well as international cooperation.”

In short, the war on drugs.

The truth is, we just don’t know whether prohibition or legalization is the best course. With some U.S. states moving toward legal marijuana, perhaps they’ll be labs of social experimentation the rest of us can learn from.

For now, we can’t see giving up the struggle. We hate the police-state actions that come with the war on drugs, and they need to be reined in. But we despise the ruined lives from drugs even more.

Comments (19) Add comment
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Riverman1
93757
Points
Riverman1 08/07/13 - 04:33 am
12
3
Time To Try Something Else

If we take a tiny fraction of the money spent on the war on drugs and use it to influence young people not to use drugs and treat those addicted, we will do more to decrease drug use in one year than fifty years of criminalizing these people has accomplished. Look at the example of Prohibition and then look at the gangs existing today to run the drug trade and the violence and lawlessness they bring. It’s clear the negative effects of OUR prohibition.

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 04:42 am
7
2
Riverman

Normally you and I don't disagree, but on this we do. So you want to throw more money at the problem of educating people NOT to do drugs? Ok, I gotcha. Where do you spend this money? There are already thousand's of commercials on TV every month agaisnt drugs use. We've got couselors at school, talking to kids about drug use, we've got Champs and DARE programs. We've professional athletes, going school to school telling children to stay away from drugs. We have police, firemen, EMT's and Nurses, talking to kids daily, telling them the dangers of drug use.

What we don't have in the vast majority of drug addict's cases, are involved parents!! PARENTS are the real answer to the drug issue. MOST drug addict's parents are either drug addicts themselves or alcohol abusers. The kid grows up seeing the most influential person(s) in their lives, abusing substances and it's ALL they know. To them it perfectly fine, no matter how many others tell them its not ok; they saw mommy and daddy, and they love mommy and daddy; so whatever mommy and daddy did, is ok. You simply can't expect to throw MORE money into this and expect it to dramatically reduce the problem. Certainly we need to keep doing what we're doing; we don't ever give up.

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 05:00 am
4
3
I also agree that police need

I also agree that police need to strive to do a better job of making sure of their targets. Making sure their hitting the right houses, making sure the targets (such as these girls) were indeed committing a crime. As I stated on another thread, in a profession where you have 800,000 employees, mistakes will be made. The chances of YOU being a victim of one of these mistakes, is slim to none!! The number of mistakes such as this, to the number of law enforcement officers and how many times they've done these events, makes the percentage extremely low. So the VAST majority of the time, we are getting it right. You want complete perfection? Try praying!! He's the only one I've ever heard of that was perfect!!

But, I've also got to admit I get tired of hearing about how people are "traumatized". People today seem to be so weak and pathetic, the slightest event happening in their lives "Traumatizes" them. This is the pampered technology generation!! These aren't the people who use to work in the field from sun up til sun down!! THOSE people, weren't so easily "traumatized".

I've been shot at, had knives pulled on me, had a pitchfork thrown at me, had to fight so many times I lost track years ago. I'm certainly not blowing my own horn; I'm simply saying that I COULD be traumatized, but I simply understand that THINGS HAPPEN!! You've got to GROW UP, MATURE UP and probably most importantly, TOUGHEN UP!!!

But, that of course is assuming the whole "Traumatized" thing isn't just someone with $$$ in their eyes; because I feel that is EXACTLY what most of these cases are. Their lives are completely "traumatized" and ruined until the time they get that big check, then they're cured and it's PARTY TIME!!!

Riverman1
93757
Points
Riverman1 08/07/13 - 05:12 am
9
0
Can't Possibly Spend More

MyFather, I respectfully understand your views. However, when you talk about throwing more money at the problem, we couldn't possibly spend more for law enforcement and the penal system criminalizing drug use than we do now. I mean I'm talking about a hundredth as much if not less. All our current method of attack has accomplished is to create lawless drug distributing gangs worse than when alcohol prohibition existed. It often compromises law enforcement as we have seen locally. I believe education does work as it did to decrease cigarette smoking.

Riverman1
93757
Points
Riverman1 08/07/13 - 05:17 am
5
1
Again MyFather

I agree with you that accidents happen in law enforcement and I don't blame all officers for these rare mistakes. Actually, the subject of the editorial is one of those accidents and possibly a poor example to use to question the drug criminalization issue. But the way I view it, mistakes are the cost of doing business with the war on drugs and the war is the problem.

soldout
1283
Points
soldout 08/07/13 - 05:20 am
5
5
missing the real reason

The real reason people use drugs including alcohol is they think there is a better state of mind than can be achieved beyond the mind God gave them. The reason for that is the teaching of evolution. You don't teach children that they are a animal product of the religion of evolution and expect them not to act like one. Schools swapped the teaching of faith in God to weak faith in science and society today is the result. If you know your body and mind are the product of a loving creator who loves you, has your best interest at heart at all times and wants to spend eternity with you; your attitude changes. When you realize the Bible is the most accurate history and science book every written your attitude changes. In all of life there is a great truth; "If you want things to be like they were, then go back and do what you used to do". Why is it fine to give a prisoner a Bible and have church in a prison ( tax supported) after they do the crime but not give them the same influence to train their mind so there is no crime. All this is just another lie from the devil that too many people believe. All problems have a spiritual basis and if you don't believe that now; some day you will.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 08/07/13 - 05:44 am
0
0
soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 08/07/13 - 05:46 am
0
0
A new heart is the only permanent solution drug addiction.
Unpublished

A new heart is the only permanent solution drug addiction.

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 05:55 am
3
3
Riverman

Good points!! I see your points and they make sense.

I realize this idea would create more overcrowding in prisons; but if we TRULY want to beat these scumbag DEALERS, who are getting rich off other peoples addictions, we need to get tough. I believe in a 25 to LIFE sentence for any conviction of Possession with Intent to distribute drugs charge!! We want to stop a lot of it? I'm telling you, this would!! These guys are getting slapped on the wrist for first offenses and THEY KNOW IT.

Judges are delivering lengthy probation sentences instead of prison time and the thugs today just aren't afraid of probation!! They can do probation standing on their head!! You make a mandatory 25-LIFE and they would think REAL hard before wanting to sell that dope and ASSIST in ruining peoples lives. These guy's not only assist, but they PROFIT off the demise of other human beings!!

While the woman they just sold to, is shooting up in a hotel room, with her baby running around in soiled diapers; they are at the club dranking a fawty and chillin with their homeboyz!! When will people realize a DRUG DEALER deserves absolutely ZERO sympathy or respect!!! They are the most narcissistic people you can meet!! They couldn't care less how many children are hurt because of their dope peddling!! They are also extremely violent!! They have to be or they will NOT last in the dope selling business very long, I promise you!! The wolves eat the sheep in this business, so to stay in it, you've got to be a wolf!!

Smack these people with a mandatory 25-life sentence for FIRST OFFENSE possession with INTENT to distribute and SEE if it doesn't make a difference!!

Before someone like dahreese starts crying about "Let's have a conversation about meth in Iowa" my statement is about ALL DRUGS, excluding marijuana ONLY!!

Meth, Cocaine, PCP, Herione, Illegal prescription pain killers, LSD, all should get 25-LIFE for PWID!!! Not for personal use possession but for PWID!! You profit off the demise of other human beings, then when you get caught, you WILL pay the price!!!

nocnoc
49172
Points
nocnoc 08/07/13 - 06:19 am
5
1
Never liked the Term War on Drugs

Because it implied you must take prisoners, care and feed them and release them after the hostilities are over.

Drugs are something that have happen since their discovery.
Addictive drugs kill and at the least, ruin a person and the lives of those around them.

My simple solution has been from the start:
We should be treating those addicted
and shooting those that are selling the hardest drugs.

Obviously we will first need to develop a better Drug
Classification process. Or else we would be lining up shooting
Tobacco vendors for Nicotine products, or Star Bucks for
selling Highly Caffeinated coffees.

Augustaisdying
526
Points
Augustaisdying 08/07/13 - 07:04 am
0
0
Pee tea?
Unpublished

MF: "You've got to GROW UP, MATURE UP and probably most importantly, TOUGHEN UP!!!"

I'd love to see how tough you are after you consume nothing but your own urine for four days. My guess is that you'd be permanently catatonic.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 08/07/13 - 07:28 am
5
3
Once prisons are self sustaining

Once prisons become self sustaining, much of this problem will disappear.

RMSHEFF
18749
Points
RMSHEFF 08/07/13 - 08:15 am
7
3
MYFATHER

I think you have it correct. Have you ever notice that when the government declares "war" on a problem like drug use or poverty the problem only get worse. I would like to see "hard labor" brought back to jails and prisons. Lawbreakers must have an incentive NOT to break the law. The word would spread fast that "you do not want to go there" ! It seems prisons, while not nice places to be, are not place to be feared by criminals. There is no real punishment any longer.

shrimp for breakfast
5641
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/07/13 - 08:32 am
5
1
Treatment instead of prison for certain drug offenders

I'm not talking about dealers but the addicts who line the drug dealers pockets because of their disease. Free up prison space for violent offenders. Drug addicts need treatment not incarceration. Whether this would work or not your guess is as good as mine but I'd rather have a violent offender do all of his sentence rather than let him out early so they h=can have room for a heroin addict.

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 08/07/13 - 08:36 am
5
4
There would be no such things as crack, meth or bath salts
Unpublished

if cocaine were available in standardized form. As with marijuana, there weren't nearly as many users when it was legal.

More importantly, you either believe in liberty or you don't. Incarceration (and police shootings, of course) are more ruinous than the experiences most users have with the drugs themselves. Public monies (which you're usually quick to characterize as forcibly extracted) can be put to much better use than to further militarize civilian law enforcement. Anyone who justifies "exceptions" to police abuse is not an ally of freedom.

realitycheck09
312
Points
realitycheck09 08/07/13 - 09:01 am
8
3
cognitive dissonance

"For now, we can’t see giving up the struggle. We hate the police-state actions that come with the war on drugs, and they need to be reined in. But we despise the ruined lives from drugs even more."

The problem with this statement is that it's the "police-state" actions that are ruining the lives. Our insistence on prosecuting people for the recreational use of drugs is ruining lives through a cycle of arrest, fines, probation, prison, and parole. This, in turn, makes it where the "offender" cannot get a job, go to school, vote, serve on a jury, etc.

What the A-C misses here is that the drug war itself is what is ruining lives far more than someone getting high in a bean bag chair in their basement.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/07/13 - 10:23 am
4
3
One Paragraph says it all

"For now, we can’t see giving up the struggle. We hate the police-state actions that come with the war on drugs, and they need to be reined in. But we despise the ruined lives from drugs even more."

This paragraph is the "poster example" of wanting your cake and eat it too !! You want the government to be EXILENT in bringing down the bad guys, BUT DON'T put ANY of our individual freedoms at risk !! If this is THE ONLY way to get the job done, then so be it !! This CORRECT line of thinking goes for what The NSA has done with telephone numbers. Again; WE CAN'T HAVE OUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO !!

OJP
7738
Points
OJP 08/07/13 - 11:24 am
4
3
Great analysis from the ACES.

Prohibition didn't work regarding alcohol, and it hasn't worked regarding drugs. Legalization, with a heavy, heavy emphasis on rehabilitation, will not only cut down on our non-violent prison population but save this country billions. Moreover, the drug cartels would be effectively put out of business.

As far as I'm concerned, proponents of prohibition now have the burden of proof. The U.S. in the early 20th Century, and Portugal and several states are excellent examples of how it can be done to benefit all of society.

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 12:37 pm
3
3
"What the A-C misses here is

"What the A-C misses here is that the drug war itself is what is ruining lives far more than someone getting high in a bean bag chair in their basement."

Wow!! If this confused perception of reality were true, we wouldn't have any problems. Yep, Cops are seriously knocking people's doors in, because the forty year old, living in mom and dad's basement is smoking a joint!! Yeah, that's a clear vision of reality; and if you believe that, then you just won the lottery and I need you to send me $1,000.00 for the processing fee, THEN I will send you a check back!!

The reality is, the vast majority of HARD drug addicts (excluding marijuana here) can't get jobs because THEY ARE SORRY AS HECK!! They can't show up on time because they're not responsible people. When they show up they can't do a good job because their HIGH!! Then they explode and curse the boss out because they've also been up for three day's GEEKED UP and are starting to come down, which makes them grumpy!!

So, since they CAN'T sustain a regular job, what do they do? They wait unitl YOU and I go to OUR regular job, then they BREAK INTO OUR HOMES!!! Then they get their "take" (Our stuff) and take it to the pawn shop or recycle center and SELL IT. Then it's off to the DRUG DEALERS house, geting the "Stuff" and then the cycle starts over!!

If anyone believes they can't get a job because of an ARREST RECORD, their a fool!! It's the drug USE itself that prevents them from being employed. Who want's to hire an irresponsible Meth, Cocaine or herione addict?? If you so you would, good luck with your business; you probably won't be in business very long!!

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 12:41 pm
3
2
"More importantly, you either

"More importantly, you either believe in liberty or you don't. Incarceration (and police shootings, of course) are more ruinous than the experiences most users have with the drugs themselves"

Yes, the incarceration MIGHT be moe ruinous to the USER than the high THEY get. But, not to the person's whose HOUSE just got burglarized because this sorry piece of filth addict, can sustain a job to support their addiction.

Also, I will NEVER believe it's a disease!! You don't NEED it as a child growing up and then at some point in time, one makes a conscious decision to do hard drugs, then they are addicted. That is not the definition of a disease!!

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/07/13 - 06:26 pm
1
2
Drug Dealers
Unpublished

Put all drug dealers in jail for life. The pot dealer, pill pusher, the alcohol seller to kids, the tobacco dealer to kids, the meth dealer, all the drug dealers. Our police are so busy arresting the same dealers every week, mistakes are going to happen. Put all officers with the power to make an arrest in uniform. I would have shot a plainclothes officer on the hood of my car!

myfather15
56766
Points
myfather15 08/07/13 - 07:42 pm
1
0
To the three that thumbs down my 1:37 post;

Honestly ask yourself that question, and be truthful with yourself. If you own and are operating a business that you want to be successful, would you hire admitted meth, cocaine, heroine, pain pill or alcohol addicts? That's fine if you say you would, but obviously, you've never been around them very much!!

corgimom
38476
Points
corgimom 08/07/13 - 09:07 pm
2
0
Addicts and alcoholics use

Addicts and alcoholics use until they decide to stop. No amount of education, rehab, or anything else is effective until they, and they alone, decide to stop.

Nobody can decide it for them, they can't be forced into it, they have to decide on their own. Only then will rehab work.

As for education, we have been educated to death for nearly 50 years now. There is nothing new to say that hasn't already been said.

soldout
1283
Points
soldout 08/07/13 - 10:23 pm
2
0
by the way; prohibition worked

The Prohibition Amendment was not enforced by the Republicans or Democrats. Incredibly, supervision of this new law was entrusted to Andrew Mellon, a major distillery stockholder. Enforcement agents were deliberately underpaid to make them susceptible to bribery.
In spite of this deliberate policy of non-enforcement, Prohibition:
• Reduced the fatality rate from cirrhosis of the liver by more than 50 percent.
• Reduced the consumption of absolute alcohol by almost 70 percent.
• Closed down most alcoholic clinics and hospital wards for lack of business.
• Greatly reduced the crime rate and prison population.
• Increased bank deposits from $15.8 million in 1920 to $28.9 billion in 1924.
• Increased assets of savings and loan associations from 2.03 billion 1920 to 7.08 billion in 1929.
• Thomas Alva Edison, the great inventor, said in 1930, "I feel that Prohibition is the greatest experiment yet made to benefit man."
• President Charles W. Elliot of Harvard University vigorously opposed the adoption of Prohibition, but in 1922 he said: "Evidence has accumulated on every hand that Prohibition has promoted public health, public happiness and industrial efficiency. Prohibition is actually sapping the terrible forces of disease, poverty, crime, and vice."

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/08/13 - 05:33 pm
0
0
Drug Dealers
Unpublished

Well, it looks like I stepped on the toes of two drug dealers, or maybe just two undercover cops who hate the uninform.

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