What do you think about this video, it's about a program run by the police to convert some smalltime drug dealers to law-abiding citizens, with job training.
Two things about it bothered me. I don't believe in criminalizing drugs, people have a right over their own bodies.
I don't know how drug legalization would play out in this context where people are using crack. My experience with drug use comes from college where we used marijuana and sometimes hallucinogens. I wasn't harmed by it and it was interesting, and I kept on using marijuana about once every couple weeks for the next 25 years. I quit because I became allergic to it, not because of anything negative about the drug experience. For me, drugs were benign.
I did try cocaine and (I think) speed once. But I never injected anything - that seemed hardcore and dangerous. I didn't want to go down the tubes. I didn't get physically addicted. Maybe I would have tried crack if someone had offered, but now that I've heard about the risks, there's no way I would! Although I'd likely try hallucinogens if I could get a hypoallergenic version :)
So why is the drug experience in these poor city neighborhoods, less benign? Why are these people using crack, not just whiffing on a joint of marijuana? Why would they not have that same dread of getting into something dangerous? Why are babies being born with damage from crack or alcohol? People don't have control over their lives?
And what would happen to these poor neighborhoods if the crack were legalized? I don't know how legalization would work - maybe crack would be sold only by licensed dealers to adults with a VERY SCARY warning label, with clinics to help people get over addiction to it. Maybe the smalltime drug dealers would be retrained to work in the drug rehab clinics :) The scary and punitive handcuffs, jail and police approach is so mean.
The other problem is, you can see in this video that these smalltime drug dealers are living on the edge financially. When they stopped selling drugs, that took away their ability to support their families!
One of the drug dealers says sadly to one of the police officers working with them that the trouble is, they are flat, flat broke. She responds only by lecturing him about how badly he's let HER down.
But isn't it important for these people to have some way of getting through the training financially? It sounds like it was sink or swim, in terms of money. I don't know if some kind of social services could have helped.
DRUGZZZZZ!!!! = Rick Perry's wet dream prisons.. liar ass
I hate the outcome of synthetics btw; poor folks done killed their fams...
"What I am saying is that drugs should be controlled. They should not, of course, be freely available."
Mr Barton compared drugs prohibition to the ban on alcohol in the US in the 1920s which fuelled organised crime.
Mr Barton told the Observer: "Have we not learned the lessons of prohibition in history?"
"The Mob's sinister rise to prominence in the US was pretty much funded through its supply of a prohibited drug, alcohol. That's arguably what we are doing in the UK."
'Revenue for villains'
He said some young people saw drug dealers as glamorous gangsters and envied their wealth.
The officer said drug addicts must be treated and cared for and encouraged to break the cycle of addiction - they did not need to be criminalised.
He said: "I think addiction to anything - drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc - is not a good thing, but outright prohibition hands revenue streams to villains.
"Since 1971 [the Misuse of Drugs Act] prohibition has put billions into the hands of villains who sell adulterated drugs on the streets.
"If you started to give a heroin addict the drug therapeutically, then we would not have the scourge of hepatitis C and Aids spreading among needle users, for instance. I am calling for a controlled environment, not a free-for-all."
In the USA we are trying baby steps towards drug legalization, legalizing marijuana first. Hopefully this will evolve towards more drug legalization, as we learn how to do it right.
Yes, drug prohibition has caused a huge amount of unfair suffering. And the punitive attitude to people doing things to their own bodies - for enjoyment or because of addiction - likely comes from religion - because religion frowns on a lot of "victimless crimes".
I've heard what Mr. Barton said before and I think it's self-evident truth.
But what I was wondering was - I gauge the likely effects of drug legalization from my own experience, in a culture where most of us were wary of doing harm to our bodies. I never injected an illegal drug - I and the people around me thought of injecting drugs as hardcore and dangerous. People in the drug-using culture talked about which drugs to avoid (more realistically than the government anti-drug propaganda).
I've also been wary of alcohol and tobacco because of the danger of addiction and harming myself.
So what I am wondering is, are people who live in poor city neighborhoods less careful not to harm their bodies, and why? It certainly seems that way. I've heard so much about people using crack, meth, PCP - drugs I've never used.
Is it because poverty is very stressful, and people cope with stress by getting high? Although, I was very stressed in college.
Since the patterns of drug use are different in poor city neighborhoods, how would drug legalization play out there? I can't judge only by my own experience with drugs.
I do think that people have a fundamental right to do to their own bodies as they wish. Drug legalization is justified by this right, and it isn't necessary to argue by consequences. But we need to consider how to mitigate any bad consequences, e.g. how to prevent drug addiction?
The paradigm of the drug user having their brains taken over by the substances they use is quickly being trashed. The book that I just read by a Dr. Hart titled "High Price" gives some documentation of how this erroneous and devastating paradigm is destroying lives through an ill conceived and bloody 'War on Drugs'. The fact is is that the single most dangerous aspect in a drug-users life is the Gestapo-esque tactics of law enforcement and the ignorance of the public. Also, Check out Portugal's program of complete decriminalization of all drugs (Yes. Even the "hard" stuff). The statistics concerning the LOwering of addiction rates due to the de-stigmatization of all drug use is having a positive overall effect in that state. Let's minimize the police state and keep false presumptions of what constitutes addiction out of our conversations. It makes much more sense to let our neuroscientists figure this stuff out. Quick hint for non-believers: Less than 20% of all drug users(of ANY drug) EVER get addicted. Also, anthropologists have observed that in all the history of human culture there is not one shred of evidence that suggests that there has ever been a culture that has not used mind-altering substances. Nor should we reasonably expect there to be one in any conceivable future. Not unless you plan on refuting the theory of evolution, that is.
You think only 20% of crack or meth users get addicted?
Have you seen the video that I linked to in the initial post? Just curious - it does give some idea of the street drug scene in the USA.
The numbers that become addicted is less than twenty percent. There was a doctor on Bill Mahr's program last week who broke down the numbers. But when you have for profit prisons owned by government officials how else are they gonna justify their 'war on drugs'? Much as I dislike Ron Paul I have to agree with his comment that making heroin legal doesn't mean everyone is going to go right out and start shooting dope. Stop this ridiculous 'war' and the profit motive would become much less. Hell, the government could even make money on it that would benefit the public instead of lining the pockets of the already wealthy.
The numbers that become addicted is less than twenty percent.
Do you have a reference for that? I was trying to find the addiction rate - i.e. how many crack or meth users can remain casual users for an extended time - but I haven't been able to.
I looked at discussions about meth on a few drug forums. A lot of the people who posted said they went on 3-day binges - that is not casual use.
I'll see if I can back track and find that for you. It was on a segment of Real Time with Bill Maher last week so I may be able to find it on his website. He interviewed a doctor who had written a book on the subject. Up to date info.
I can believe that there are people who try meth or crack a few times and then don't ever again. There is anti-drug scare talk about how "it feels so good that if you try it once you are hooked".
What I'm skeptical about is whether people can keep up a casual use pattern for many years. I read a discussion on a drug users forum about addictiveness of meth and saw comments like "you might keep it to the weekends for awhile, and then suddenly you 'just find' yourself using it in the middle of the week, it's tricky that way".
I got stoned on marijuana about every other week for 25 years - I doubt that many people use meth that way.
I did use cocaine for an entire summer a long time ago, and didn't become addicted. The depressed feeling afterwards was not fun, so that limited it for me. Apparently meth is like super-coke and the depressed feeling after is much worse, so they want more meth to avoid facing it.
By the way ... it's possible to read e-books without buying a special reader. Amazon has a free Kindle app that apparently works on a laptop, and there are probably other such things around. A way to buy books without having Another Object sitting around :)
I mention this because High Price is available as an ebook.
The anti-drug organizations do seem like propaganda mills, which is unacceptable. Anti-drug advertising seems aimed at creating prejudice against drugs and drug users.
If I was any good at this I could send you the link but since I'm not...It was episode #295 air date 9-27-2013. Dr.Carl Hart author of High Price: A Neroscientist's Journey....
I can't get the entire thing cause I need to update my browser.
It's the same reference that Chucken gave you. I watched Dr.Hart as a guest instead. You can get that episode from the website.
Dr. Hart is an associate professor at Columbia.
As I see it, the problem with legalizing all drugs is the profit motive. If all drugs were legal, transnational corporations would get into the business big time. I read a sci-fi novel depicting such a world, where the easily available beverages and food were all laced with addictive drugs. Customers were offered free food or beverage for a few weeks, then the company "had" them for life. Sure customers could try to detox, but that's painful. And the ubiquitous drug-laced food and sodas were cheaper.
An ingredient list doesn't have to list "sugar", but can include "evaporated cane juice" and "grape juice concentrate". If drugs are legal, they'll find ways to mislead the public, to slip it in without you realizing what you're consuming.
We're on the verge of passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So a drug-laced product from a member country could be sold in total disregard to health and safety laws of other member countries. They'd be "unfair trade". Dystopia is closer than you think. Don't be naive.