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  Success of War on Drugs During The Reagan Years
Posted by CN Staff on June 08, 2004 at 17:04:53 PT
Editorial 
Source: The Weekly  

justice Washington, D.C. -- “In the 1960’s and 1970’s Americans were passive about or even worse, actively endorsed the use of illicit drugs. This misguided attitude fostered an environment of tolerance and acceptance. As a result drug use proliferated. In 1980, therefore there were massive amounts of illegal drugs, drug pushers, and kingpins controlled large segments of U.S. resources; millions of innocent people were victimized; an overburdenend criminal justice system; staggering economic and social costs; and a deep erosion of the health of our people.” (White House Conference for A Drug Free America Report 1988)

Ronald Reagan’s leadership, along with Nancy Reagan, sparked a national movement against drugs which resulted in dramatic declines in illicit drug use in America. (and around the world) President Reagan inspired and convinced the nation that the drug problem was not hopeless and could be solved. He was committed to help reverse the permissive attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s that illegal drug use was glamorous, harmless and victimless, and influenced the media and even Hollywood to stop glamorizing drug use. President Reagan believed that the nation needed community based solutions to the drug problem.

He and Mrs. Reagan strongly supported the grassroots parents’ movement and gave these volunteers access to and the opportunity to work closely with major federal agencies. President Reagan sponsored The White House Conference on Drug Abuse. Across the nation spread community anti-drug initiatives, youth programs, drug-free school and workplace programs. The nation spoke with one voice that “drugs were wrong and harmful.” The results illicit drug use was cut in half; - from 25 million to 11 million drug users between 1979 and 1992; drug use was no longer tolerated and in the workplace or in the Armed forces. Crime, drug related hospital admissions and highway deaths declined.

One of the most remarkable accomplishments and reversals in history!!! This story needs to be told.

Today, we would do well to reaffirm and implement the recommendations from The White House Conference for A Drug Free America Report of 1988

These positive trends continued until the time when Clinton said he wished he had inhaled…… drug use by youth began to rise once again. (Monitoring the Future Survey 1996)

HIGHLIGHTS:

New York Times 1988

“No President has spoken out more against drugs than President Reagan. “ No Administration has signed more anti drug treaties or spent more money to stem the flow of drugs into this country.”

“We’re rejecting the helpless attitude that drug use is so rampant that we are defenseless to do anything about it. We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over of many drug efforts; we’re running up the battle flag.” President Ronald Reagan. June 24, 1982

“In this crusade, let us not forget who we are. Drug Abuse is a repudiation of everything America is. The destructiveness and human wreckage mock our heritage.” President Ronald Reagan September 14, 1986.

“Illegal drug use is the foremost concern in our country. And frankly, as I finish my final year in office and look ahead, I worry that excessive drug politics might undermine effective drug policy. If America’s anti drug effort gets tripped up in partisanship, if we permit politics to determine policy, it will mean a disaster for our future and that of our children.” May 18, 1988. President Ronald Reagan.

First Lady Nancy Reagan was a leader in the crusade for a Drug Free America.

She was Honorary Chairperson of the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth; and through the “Just Say No Campaign was responsible for the establishment of thousands of parent and youth groups across the country.

“The casual drug user cannot mortally escape responsibility for the actions of drug traffickers and dealers. I am saying that if you are a casual drug user, you are an accomplice to murder.” Nancy Reagan February 29, 1988.

Highlights:

Encouraged and supported a nationwide effort to reduce the demand for drugs by increasing Americans knowledge and changing the attitudes and behavior.

Presidential Executive Order 1987- To focus public attention on the importance of fostering a widespread attitude of intolerance for illegal drugs and their use throughout all segments of society.”

Inspired the establishment of the The National Media Advertising Partnership for a Drug Free America to spread the drug prevention message.

Supported the establishment the Drug Free Schools and Communities Program 1986

Changed attitudes by Youth:

In 1980, half of high school seniors surveyed thought smoking marijuana regularly posed a great risk. In 1987, 73.5 % saw regular marijuana use a great risk. (University of Michigan)

In 1992 more than 79% of high school seniors believed that drug use was very harmful.(Monitoring the Future Survey)

Declines in the overall crime rate) Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics)

Hospital emergency rates declined (Health & Human Services Report)

50% Reduction in illegal drug use on the job ( Health & Human Services Report)

(White House Office of Public Affairs Report June 1988)

Created an effective, coordinated federal, stage and local awareness and education campaign against illicit drugs.

Drug use declines:

Current use of cocaine among high school seniors dropped by one third in 1987 to the lowest level since 1978. Daily use of marijuana among these students dropped from one in nine high school seniors in 1979 to one in 30 in 1987.

Prevention : Federal funds for drug abuse increased 4 four fold between 1981 and 1988.

Treatment: Federal spending for treatment nearly doubled between 1981 and 1988.

Enforcement Increases - the number of federal drug investigators more than doubled and the number of Federal drug prosecutors increased four fold between 1890 and 1988. By 1987 arrests by the DEA of the most serious drug offenders had increased 175 over 1983.

More Drugs Interdicted and Seized

Drug Free Military- Drug use in the military dropped 67% since 1980.

Other highlights: improved international cooperation to cut off the production and transportation of illegal drugs. The first to use the federal asset forfeiture law to take the profit out of illegal drug trafficking.

Source: The Weekly (GA)
Published: June 8, 2004
Copyright: 2004 by The Weekly
Wensite: http://www.theweekly.com/
Contact: weeklypub1@mindspring.com

Related Articles:

Drug Czar Says Prevention Reflects Reagan Policy
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread18966.shtml

‘Just Say Know’ - Newsweek Magazine
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread15973.shtml


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Comment #9 posted by warhater on June 10, 2004 at 12:26:30 PT:

Another Failed War
“We’re rejecting the helpless attitude that drug use is so rampant that we are defenseless to do anything about it. We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over of many drug efforts; we’re running up the battle flag.” President Ronald Reagan. June 24, 1982

What did the new drug war get us?

1. More people are in prison then ever were the history of our country. We have the highest incarceration rate in the western world.

2. Harder drugs that are easier to smuggle and harder to detect in the body(as OverwhelmSam points out) are now more popular. Look at the heroin boom of the early 1990's.

3. The illegal drug business is more lucrative now than it ever was.

4. The drug war caused us to abandon our constitution, by allowing the illegal seizure of property as a civil repercussion of arrest. The seizure is not dependent on a conviction, and you have no right to an attorney to get you assets back. If you are found innocent you must go to civil court to be compensated for you seized assets.

Our goverment's hypocricy is clearer than ever now that we allow pharmaceutical companies to push their hard-on pills, and allow booze companies to advertize hard liquor on television. Thanks for the drug free society.

The drug war Reagan started was a tragedy greater than any that the drugs themselves could ever cause. I can't wait until they put him in the ground. Good riddance to bad trash. I am sick of hearing about him.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on June 09, 2004 at 06:32:35 PT
A Few Things Happened In The '80's
The two events that happened in the '80s which explain the touted decline is drug use were that Reagan instituted drug testing and cocaine use exploded and many people stopped using marijuana.

The population took a few years to figure out how to get around drug testing which primarily detected marijuana. Cocaine on the other hand would clear your system in two to three days. What happened is that fewer people used marijuana and turned to cocaine.

So the assertion that drug use declined is a farce at best.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by billos on June 09, 2004 at 05:41:21 PT:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher-C-Span 6/8/04.....
blah blah blah blah...Reagan would have wanted it that way and blah blah blah blah blah blah because that’s what Reagan believed in and so do I. And blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah because I really believe Reagan would have had it that way.

Un friggin’ believable

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by Jose Melendez on June 09, 2004 at 05:06:33 PT
drug war: the antitrust
Partnership for a Drug Free America Sources of Funding from 1988-91:

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/pdfa1.htm

see also:

http://www.pdxnorml.org/Nation030992.html

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by Jose Melendez on June 09, 2004 at 05:03:47 PT
posted for balance to the claims in this article
http://www.narconews.com/Issue29/article657.html

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/october96/crack_contra_11-1.html

http://www.monitor.net/monitor/free/crackreport.html

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/1996/bush_drug_ops.html

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by mayan on June 09, 2004 at 02:05:33 PT
We Still Love Reagan
Reagan the new face of the $10 bill? Conservatives will push for image of 40th president to grace $10 bill, $20 bill or dime: http://money.cnn.com/2004/06/08/news/economy/reagan_hamilton/index.htm?cnn=yes

His image should grace all currency. You mean there were other presidents?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by mayan on June 09, 2004 at 01:24:16 PT
Americans Loved Reagan*
Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan. Americans loved Reagan.

See? It must be true!

* All Americans, all the time.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by Commonsense on June 08, 2004 at 23:48:32 PT:

Drug use did drop during the Reagan years.
I don't doubt that drug use did drop during the Reagan years, but I do doubt it had much to do with the war on drugs. What happened during that period was that the last of the baby boomers who started the drug craze in this country grew out of the drug taking time of their lives. By 1988, when Reagan finished his second term, the oldest baby boomers were 42 and the youngest were 24. By 1992, the year with the lowest level of drug use since drug use really took off in the late sixties, the oldest boomers were 46 and the youngest were 28, well past the prime drug taking years of 17 to 21 years of age. Most had even grown out of their pot smoking phase.

There was another dynamic going on during those years that probably had a profound effect on drug use. The hippy days were over, as were the wildly excessive seventies. Instead, we had yuppies out chasing the almighty dollar. The big seventies party had gotten old. Too many lives had been ruined by the hard stuff, although cocaine was still growing in popularity as a status symbol drug for the Young Urban Professionals. Pot was becoming the cheap low class drug, not nearly as cool as coke. The coke fad waned in the mid 80's when crack really hit the streets and even the yuppie crowd started seeing people wrecking thier lives, going broke, ruining thier health, and so on with the white powder. That movie Less Than Zero came out in the 87' and a lot of people saw what Robert Downey Jr.'s character ended up doing for coke and they didn't want any part of that. Richard Pryor caught his hair on fire free basing and ended up in the hospital. Len Bias died. Rock stars started hitting the rehabs and going public about it. Cocaine lost its reputation as the fun, harmless party drug that chicks dig. And the kids who would be in their prime partying years by 1992 were understandably a little gun shy about taking drugs by the time they came of age.

Those who argue that it was the war on drugs that reduced drug use are wrong though because since 1992 drug use has climbed back up to the point where nearly 20,000,000 used illicit drugs within one month of the 2002 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health. And yes, that is probably a low estimate due to under-reporting on the NSDUH. The liberal hating Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity crowd likes to blame this on Clinton, but of course the Clinton administration cranked up the drug war several notches from the Reagan days. The fact is that the war on drugs has had little effect on drug use in this country. And unless they can find the magic bullet that really works at reducing demand for drugs, the drug war is never going to be an important factor in the level of drug use in this country. Demand drives supply. When demand and supply are both high, prices will be low. And as long as demand is high, people will figure out ways to keep the supply up. The government can arrest and incarcerate all they want, but nothing is going to change the reality of supply and demand.

---- Interesting drug statistics can be found here: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nhsda/2k2nsduh/html/LOTSect1pe.htm#TopOfPage

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by cloud7 on June 08, 2004 at 18:03:45 PT
...
"The results illicit drug use was cut in half; - from 25 million to 11 million drug users between 1979 and 1992"

B.S.! What's much more likely is that people quit behaving like sheep and started denying their drug use on government sponsored surveys out of fear of being put in jail for a longer sentence than a murderer/rapist would get. Reagan's legacy is a lie. He acted like he would get the government out of people's lives, but his actions showed the truth. The damaging blow to freedom he dealt with the extreme tactics used to escalate the war on some drugs was going strong for nearly twenty years before the lies have begun to wither away under the onslaught of the waves of truth from the internet.

"“In this crusade, let us not forget who we are. Drug Abuse is a repudiation of everything America is. The destructiveness and human wreckage mock our heritage.” President Ronald Reagan September 14, 1986."

NO! The drug war mocks the heritage that we are free and are intelligent enough to make decisions on our own without the nanny state telling us what is and isn't acceptable. Let freedom ring and not the tired rhetoric of the laws we "need" to protect us from ourselves.

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