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Four Decades into America's War on Drugs
April 11, 2007 3:23 PM   Subscribe

America's forgotten war. Are we winning?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (39 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Probably not, no.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:37 PM on April 11, 2007


That depends on who 'we' are. Are 'we' the people who want sensible policy instead of wholesale imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people?

Then no, 'we' are not winning.
posted by mullingitover at 3:44 PM on April 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Silly, mullingitover! Once we've locked everyone up, the problem will go away, since prisons are one place where we've been able to absolutely, 100% eliminate drugs.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:49 PM on April 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


The war on drugs will be won as soon as they are legalized. It's painful to utter that sentence because the thought of being able to pick up heroin at the 7-11 is pretty disturbing. Weed is just "Meh" to me, as far as it's legality. It's hard to argue against legalizing pot when alcohol and nicotine cause as many deaths as they do.

I really don't know what the solution would be. There are arguments both for and against.

They both make sense, but I think it's going to be a stalemate for a while.
posted by Industrial PhD at 3:50 PM on April 11, 2007


It's impossible to win a war against a construct. On the other hand, it's impossible to lose a war against a construct, unless the fighting stops. So, the fighting continues.
posted by Shecky at 3:50 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


*toke*

lemme get back to you...
posted by jonmc at 3:51 PM on April 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I always liked Bill Hicks' take: "George Bush says we are losing the war on drugs. You know what that means? There's a war going on, and people on drugs... are winning it!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:54 PM on April 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Adding to Shecky's thoughts, it's also impossible to win a war against what some consider human nature. If people are willing to shoot dope to feel good, and dope becomes unavailable, they will find another outlet, and it probably won't be knitting sweaters.
posted by Industrial PhD at 3:55 PM on April 11, 2007


And besides, the sweater-knitters fuck it up for somebody, too. It's a wacky world.
posted by cgc373 at 3:59 PM on April 11, 2007


I've seen some of those fucked up patterns surface around Christmas time. I wonder how hard it is to sew and nit while on acid. I'm sure one of the designers could enlighten me.
posted by Industrial PhD at 4:01 PM on April 11, 2007


Wow, there's actually a site where you can watch the monetary amounts being spent on the war on drugs total up.
posted by Industrial PhD at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2007


And here I thought this post was going to be about Afghanistan.

No, we're not winning that one, either.
posted by Flunkie at 4:11 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


And here I thought this post was going to be about Afghanistan.
No, we're not winning that one, either.


And with all that extra opium coming out of Afghanistan now that the free markets are opening up...
posted by Burhanistan at 4:12 PM on April 11, 2007


I don't consider the "War on Drugs" to be at all forgotten. Now, the "War on Cancer", that's forgotten. And if we could totally surrender in "The War on Poverty", we can wave the white flag for whatever we want.
posted by wendell at 4:13 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


If people are willing to shoot dope to feel good

Mmmm intravenous marijuana.

Amusingly here in the UK it's basically impossible to find good quality dope that isn't skunk. Hash and weed are now the reserve of only those connoisseurs who are both friendly with their dealers and willing to pay a premium for less strong stuff.

*prepares for people getting confused translating drug slang from the other side of the atlantic*
posted by public at 4:14 PM on April 11, 2007


This war has ruined the lives of so many hundreds of thousands of people, several I know personally, all to mask with utterly false morality and perpetuate Nixon's war on youth via the most invasive and hitero illegal police and prosecution practices, turning america into a state no longer worth fighting dying for or preserving... but that Bill Hicks line is fucking hilarious.

Don't worry, soon as the cursed baby boomer generation lies forgotten in their graves this war will be over.
posted by sarcasman at 4:24 PM on April 11, 2007


> prisons are one place where we've been able to absolutely, 100% eliminate drugs.

I'm pretty sure that's part of your joke, but just in case...
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm 30. I don't see much chance of drug policy changing in my lifetime.

But it pisses me off to no end. The book I'm reading now mentions that the yearly needs of every heroin addict in the U.S. could be met with the poppies grown on a 20-square-mile patch of land. And an entire year's supply for all U.S. coke addicts could fit in 13 truck trailers.

Does that sound like a war you want to fight from the supply side?
posted by veggieboy at 4:30 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


> Don't worry, soon as the cursed baby boomer generation lies forgotten in their graves this war will be over.

I'd say "Yeah, right," but your handle makes it difficult to know whether or not to take what you say seriously...
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:34 PM on April 11, 2007


I lost a good friend to heroin a few years back. He was totally lost to it, and then managed to clean himself up for a good while, and then OD'd out of nowhere.

He documented his journey from the depths and back in a Livejournal post. It is a very powerful story, and I encourage everyone who uses / has used / has a friend or family member that uses, to read it.

His name was Kenny Johnson, and he died of a heroin overdose on 1/24/2004. R.I.P.
posted by Industrial PhD at 4:34 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's as if any abstraction that the US declares war on is doomed to thrive!
posted by bardic at 4:50 PM on April 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


No, tho much blame can be laid on babyboomer numbers, this war is too entrenched (read: profitable) to pass with their ranks. Caught me Card Cheat.

And Industrial PhD, I have lost 3 close friends to ODs, in the exact same manner... long time addicts (with professional salaries no less), clean up, sudden od on first shot back. The body's system loses its tolerance but the addict uses the same old dose, and ODs. I've come close to that story myself as well. In the end, this is all and only about morally opposing people getting high, not pragmatically caring about medical/psychological problems.

Regulated doses, levels of prevention, realistic policy that educates instead of demonizes, resources spent on clean usage and available services instead of sexy cop shows and high-profile-if-of-so-futile drug busts would be a refreshingly intelligent approach.. but that's like asking the majority of american's to pull their heads out their asses.. which previous eletions have shown is as futile as waging a war on a construct. At least the shit's quality these days is wonderfully good.
posted by sarcasman at 4:58 PM on April 11, 2007


Given that the supply side seems to be powered by determination of profiting from human misery, I doubt it will ever be moralized into stopping or banned into annihilation.

The demand side, on the contrary, could be reached, but to do so one needs to

1. drill in heads that consumption of drugs occours either casually (just to try..then you are very likely to become hooked, psycological or physical dependency) or as a manifestation of self-destructive tendencies, psycological problem and maybe in a few cases physiological problems.

2.don't _shame_ nor scare drug users into self-reclusion, silence. There is nothing to be ashamed, one can make a bad choice, one can be helped. Drug users aren't alien, aren't bad, aren't always criminals.

3. depenalize possession of minimal quantities

4. forbid mass production and mass distribution , forbid advertisement (and I will include alcohol and nicotine, bitch!) forbid sale of drug for any amount of money, or in exchange of any good other then the very same drug..if you are caught selling drug you have jailtime as you are an enabler, not a victim...even if you are a druggie yourself.

5. Offer psycological help and detox procedures ...don't finance religious stuff, let them do the God work if they wish, it is God will anyway so it is self-rewarding.

Scary thing is ..maybe nobody really wants to "win the war" in the first place, there is too much money apparently involved in this racket ; yet apparently , if the data is reliable, prices are at an all time low..which suggest the market is either flooded and saturated or that they are trying to reach the low-income segment
posted by elpapacito at 5:17 PM on April 11, 2007


If by 'we' you mean 'prison rape enthusiasts', then yes.
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on April 11, 2007


then managed to clean himself up for a good while, and then OD'd out of nowhere.

Heroin sucks as it is its own kind of prison, but the reason shit like that happens is precisely because it's underground and there's no quality control of the actual substance nor is there any real education about it.

Legalize it and these types of tragedies go away (for the most part).

Btw, I'm sorry you lost your friend. I lost one of mine in that same way a decade earlier.
posted by psmealey at 5:42 PM on April 11, 2007


I must be high, as sarcasman made the exact same point I did and I missed it.
posted by psmealey at 5:44 PM on April 11, 2007


The USA's "war" record since 1948 is 2-5-1.

That's not going to be good enough to qualify for the medal round.
posted by psmealey at 5:48 PM on April 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


The president was all like "war on drugs" and the people were all like "woo!" and then later the people all like "okay, we change our mind" and the president was all like "WAR ON DRUGS!" and the people were like "wtf, democracy?"
posted by tehloki at 6:17 PM on April 11, 2007


Nope. And it is pretty damn sad that a conviction for the possession of a few grams of marijuana would all but bar employment to a great many jobs too - oh, wait... I guess they could still sign up for an Iraq tour with the Army.
posted by buzzman at 8:02 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Amusingly here in the UK it's basically impossible to find good quality dope that isn't skunk.

I'm guessing skunk is the opposite of dank?
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:52 PM on April 11, 2007


Stoner language never means the same thing to two different people. We keep forgetting which weed we nicknamed "juicy fruit" and which weed got us SO FUCKIN HIGH that one time man, oh man, that was freakin' AWESOME.
posted by tehloki at 11:19 PM on April 11, 2007


Skunk is the New Evil catching all the rage in the Brit tabloids. One-hit addiction! 30x more powerful than hippy weed! Hydroponic bionic tonic! Wrecking lives, eating the babies, raping the hedgehogs! Oh Noes!!11!1

Evolution:America::Weed:UK
posted by five fresh fish at 11:39 PM on April 11, 2007


And here I thought this post was going to be about Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: The Other War
posted by homunculus at 11:41 PM on April 11, 2007


Wait a minute. I thought the war on poverty was America's forgotten war.

And what about our war in Afghanistan? I'm pretty sure most people have forgotten about that one.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:14 AM on April 12, 2007


Oh, on post-view: what everyone else said. Sorry. I'll come back later.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:19 AM on April 12, 2007


It's okay, everybody else thinks that everybody else has forgotten the war in Afghanistan as well. Looking at mainstream news media, you'd think that this was the way they want it to be.
posted by tehloki at 5:37 PM on April 12, 2007


Are you guys sure you're involved in the Afghanistan war? I'm really not entirely sure there is a whole lot of Americans over there... (but, then, I'm only aware of what the Canadian media reports.)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:13 PM on April 12, 2007


Are you guys sure you're involved in the Afghanistan war?

Yes.
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on April 15, 2007


San Francisco 1995 or so. One of the drug reform groups had called for a demonstration against the drug war. Maybe 50 people showed up at City Hall. The speakers went ahead despite the sparse crowd, and one speaker related a litany of drug war tradgedies. There was a guy in the crowd who howled with pain at every new horror story. I think about that guy and his howl a lot these days.
posted by telstar at 6:00 PM on April 15, 2007


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