Thursday, June 22, 2017

The stupid "War on Drugs"

This is what losing looks like:
Coroner Kent Harshbarger estimates that ... the state [of Ohio] will see 10,000 overdoses by the end of 2017 — more than were recorded in the entire United States in 1990.
Peter has an excellent and in-depth post of the utter idiocy of the "War on Drugs"and you should RTWT.

This would normally trigger an epic Borepatchian uberpost.  Instead, I will merely summarize the costs of this idiotic program:

40 year cost of War on Drugs is $1 Trillion
Half of all Federal prison inmates are serving time for drug offenses (same link as above)
$100 B black market in drugs shows no sign of going away

Remember, after all of this treasure we are looking at an epidemic of overdose deaths.

Now add in the corruption of Law Enforcement:
The proliferation of SWAT teams
The proliferation of "No Knock" raids
The unaccountability of police (warning: autoplay video)
Billions of dollars taken via "Civil Asset Forfeiture" without charges, trial, or conviction
Police selling seized narcotics on the side

Now add in the corruption of the Intelligence Agencies:
DEA covers up program to collect information on all Americans

Now add in the corruption of the medical community:
A "Civil War" over pain medication is tearing the medical community apart
Patients can't get pain medication and so turn to heroin
How the War On Drugs fuels the Opioid epidemic

I could go on, but let me sum up: The war on drugs has made us less free, has fueled the growth of the Police/Surveillance State that targets us, has corrupted Law Enforcement and driven a wedge between them and the citizenry.  It has done this while drugs have become both more prevalent and more deadly, and while legitimate patients are forced to turn to illegal drugs because their doctors can't prescribe them the pharmaceuticals that would ease their chronic pain.

And let's return to what started this rant.  Consider the death toll: Ohio expects 10,000 overdose deaths this year, from a population of 11.6 M.  Normalizing this to a US population of 320M gives us an expected overdose death total of almost 300,000 a year nationwide.  That's more than the war dead we suffered in World War II.  And that entirely ignores the fact that most murders in this country are over drug turf battles.

Think about that: all the treasure, all the lost freedom, and we are suffering a World War II each year, every year, with no end in sight.

The War on Drugs is futile, stupid, and evil.  It should end immediately.  This is a stupid game, we're losing, and we shouldn't play.


libertyman said...

How can there be an incentive to reduce this when the agencies profit through forfeiture and/or the retention of assets seized in raids? Police report a million seized, when there was in fact two million. Whom is going to be believed, the crooks or the cops?

We must be naive to think the goal is for the betterment of mankind. I am not sure how high up this goes, but nothing would surprise me. Remember Clinton and the rumors of the Mena, Arkansas airlift?

I sure don't know the answer, but I think it will get worse before it gets better.

Murphy(AZ) said...

Okay, say we end the war, and I do not disagree with any of what you say above. The question then becomes: What do we do with the addicts and their insatiable need for that next high? With the increasing number of users that will result from legalizing or at least, decriminalizing addicting drugs? If users/addicts don't have the money to get drugs on their own, how do we deal with the property and personal crime wave that's going to come with ever-increasing drug use? If there was a way to make this scourge non-addictive yet still give similar highs, or if there were an inexpensive and dependable treatment, then the "war" would be over.

Maybe someday when pigs fly....

Glen Filthie said...

I am interested too, boys. Say we scrap the war on drugs... what then?

If you wanna know what the stupid kids have to say about if feel free to drop by and use the facilities - and leave your two cents!

Borepatch said...

Murphy, the reason for the overdoses is that consumers do not have any guarantee of product purity or dosage. Legalizing it and selling it completely addresses that.

And taxing the sales would fund rehab programs. You could fund a free narcotics rehab program with the taxes. Spending less on law enforcement, the courts, and prisons is where the budget impact would show up.

And this would drive the money away from organized crime.

Comrade Misfit said...

Agreed. We went down this path a century ago with alcohol and it didn't work then. When drinkers got sick or died from methanol, the prohibitionists cheered and advocated making ethanol substitutes even deadlier.

You can see the same dynamic playing out today. It'll take very little effort to find discussions that Narcan should be banned and EMS should let those who have OD'd just die.

While this "war gets fought, there are people with chronic pain who cannot receive treatment because the doctors are scared of running afoul of the DEA or state regulators. I guess they're "collateral damage".

Law enforcement is addicted to drug money. They've adopted tactics that would have had the Founding Fathers reaching for their muskets.

This needs to be fixed. I see little appetite on either side of the spectrum for doing it.

pigpen51 said...

Exactly Comrade. I am one of the casulties who can not get chronic pain managed because of the junkies who abuse the drugs. I am on disability for a chronic pain condition, and yet it is still a nightmare to get treated for pain due to the DEA and their wisdom in trying to keep the abusers from dying due to overdose. I know that it is a nightmare with a hard solution, but in the meantime, there are also thousands of us on the other side of the equation as well.

Ken said...

Classic "Baptists and bootleggers" case.

McChuck said...

Restrictions on prescription narcotics come from the State level. DEA went after pill mill 'doctors', who's practice consisted entirely of handing out form letter prescriptions for narcotics to anyone who paid them a fee, often without even the most cursory examination.

If you don't like the law, talk to your State legislators. If you don't like the existence of federal drug laws, talk to your congressmen. These are the people who write the laws and spend the money. If you don't like judicial confiscation, impeach your judges and elect new ones.

We have these idiotic laws because lawmakers and judges believed, at some point, that they were the right thing to do. Tell them in a loud, clear voice that you object.

But before you do, go to the projects and the small town devastated by drug use. Will making drugs cheaper and easier to get help the abused and neglected children of addicts? Will it help the addicts themselves? Will it prevent highly addictive drugs from being sold or given to children?

Let's talk medical marijuana. It is a complete and utter scam, prescribed by the same sort of 'doctor' at the pill mills. (Actual case - a young man was 'prescribed' marijuana because "I don't feel good when I'm not high.") No person needs to smoke marijuana for any medical reason. The medical benefits derived from weed are available as a non-addictive oil. It has greater medical effects, but it doesn't get you high, so it's not well liked by the addict community.

Ask yourself why there are so many millions upon millions of people who claim to be in constant pain, so much pain that they need highly addictive narcotics for the rest of their lives. How many of these people are in constant, excruciating pain, and how many of them were simply addicted to a narcotic prescribed for a temporary injury years ago?

Steve Sky said...

I agree with you Comrade, but would say it's gone beyond just law enforcement being addicted to drug money to local governments being addicted to "drug money" from forfeitures. And once law enforcement & governments discovered how much money could be gotten from "forfeitures", it has turned into legal theft. We'll let you go, "as long as you don't protest", but if you do try to assert your innocence, we'll then arrest you for drugs. Thus we have policing for profit. It's pretty bad when the U.S Gov't reports that there was more money taken by forfeitures than was taken by burglaries in the U.S last year.

This has totally destroyed any pretense that the judicial system is a system of justice. Instead, it's a system of legalized plunder because grandstanding politicians have to "do something" about the "drug problem", and have no incentive to reform the system, because they & law enforcement benefit from it.