cannabisnews.com: Drug Czar Fails at Cutting Marijuana Consumption










††Drug Czar Fails at Cutting Marijuana Consumption

Posted by CN Staff on October 09, 2008 at 05:48:31 PT
By Bruce Mirken, AlterNet†
Source: AlterNet †

USA -- The White House drug czar's office, aka the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has been claiming loudly and frequently for several years now that its aggressive anti-marijuana campaign has been a rousing success. As deputy ONDCP director Scott Burns put it in a recent California newspaper interview, "drug use is down in the United States dramatically since 2001 by every barometer and indicator that we use. ... Twenty-four percent reduction in marijuana use by young people 12 to 18 years old."
Uh, not quite.In fact, the major U.S. government study of drug use, the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that the drug czar's office has badly failed to meet its own goals for reducing use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, according to a pair of new reports by George Mason University senior fellow Jon Gettman, Ph.D. In addition, ONDCP and drug czar John Walters have misused treatment statistics to suggest that marijuana is dangerously addictive when the government's own data suggest that arrest-driven treatment admissions have wasted tax dollars by treating thousands who were not truly drug-dependent.During Walters' tenure, ONDCP has released at least 127 separate anti-marijuana TV, radio and print ads and 34 press releases focused mainly on marijuana, in addition to 50 reports from ONDCP and other federal agencies on marijuana or anti-marijuana campaigns. Beyond doubt, this anti-marijuana blitz -- coupled with record marijuana arrests year after year, to the point where in 2007 an American was arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds -- constitutes the most intense war on marijuana since "Reefer Madness."Gettman, who made international headlines in December 2006 with an analysis showing that marijuana is the top cash crop in the United States, catalogues the failures in detail. In 2007 there were 14.5 million current users of marijuana in the United States, compared with 14.6 million in 2002, while the number of Americans who have ever used marijuana actually increased.ONDCP has not even come close to meeting its goal of reducing illegal drug use by 25 percent by 2007 in any age group. In fact, among adults, overall illegal drug use actually increased 4.7% from 2002 to 2007. Teen marijuana use is down a bit but still remains common: One in nine (12 percent) 14- and 15-year-olds and one in four (23.7 percent) 16- and 17-year-olds used marijuana in 2007.Walters loves to cite increases in marijuana treatment admissions as proof that marijuana is addictive and dangerous. But Gettman's analysis of data from the government's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) shows that the percentage of marijuana treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system jumped from 48% to 58% from 1992 to 2006. In other words, most of the increase in treatment admissions was driven by people being arrested and offered treatment instead of jail. Strikingly, just 45 percent of marijuana admissions met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for marijuana dependence.Also arguing against claims that treatment admissions reflect dangerously addictive "pot 2.0" (yes, some officials have actually used that phrase, and some in the press have repeated it as if it meant something) is the fact that, as Gettman notes, "Use of residential detox -- a clear sign of a serious addiction problem -- is used for 24% of heroin admissions and 21% of alcohol admissions, but just 2% of marijuana admissions."Gettman's bottom line on those treatment stats is simple and depressing: "Increases in drug treatment admissions for marijuana, often cited by officials as evidence that marijuana is dangerously addictive, are driven by criminal justice policies rather than medical diagnosis. These policies increase public costs for providing drug treatment services and reduce funds for and availability of treatment of more serious drug problems."This is your government on drugs.Bruce Mirken is communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. - http://www.mpp.org/Source: AlterNet (US)Author: Bruce Mirken, AlterNetPublished: October 8, 2008Copyright: 2008 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters alternet.org Website: http://www.alternet.org/URL: http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/102246CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml

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Comment #17 posted by FoM on October 10, 2008 at 08:16:52 PT
OverwhelmSam
I will not miss Republicans being in power. I can barely stand to listen to McCain's supporters at a rally. They sound crazy!I am looking foward to not seeing hate rule our country.
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Comment #16 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 10, 2008 at 07:20:34 PT
Republican Party in the Crapper
It's getting hard to find people who openly admit they are Republican. I would be embarrassed and ashamed too if I were a part of the dirtiest political party in History. Lies, cheating, stealing, inciting murder, what kind of human being can associate with such obvious psychopaths?By the way, I do not affiliate with any political party. Democrats need to start toeing the line when it comes to protecting the people from their own government.
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Comment #15 posted by John Tyler on October 09, 2008 at 21:55:59 PT
re comment #10
Cindyís drug problem in a nutshell. She put together a charity to send aid to some third world countries. Which was good. She had also developed a strong liking to prescription painkillers. (Vicodin etc.) A doctor was in the charity group. He was doing medications for the charity. Cindy was getting into that too, a lot. After a while she was getting pretty erratic. There was an intervention. She got angry at one of the staff about it and fired him. He had kept a diary of the whole affair and later turned her in. The poop hit the fan. The doctor lost his license. Cindy and Johnís people tried to smear the stafferís character and reputation. Cindy had the bucks to hire some high-powered lawyers and with Johnís Washington connections she got off with some rehab. No arrests or conviction. People that have drug problems have my sympathy, but when they get hypocritical about it I think that wrong and it stinks. This is all ancient history now, but if the Republicans want to dig up some dirt on others they should make sure their own hands are clean first. 
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Comment #14 posted by John Tyler on October 09, 2008 at 21:31:41 PT
time to legalize
Since the recent downturn in the financial markets a lot of states are having increased money woes. Many states have big budget deficits, and have resorted to employee layoffs. The hard times our parents spoke of have visited us. It seems to me that legalizing the cannabis industry could do a lot to spur an economic resurgence. New businesses would emerge. There would be new employment opportunities all the way from the farms to the retail outlets. Plus, states would be able to cut all of their spending on arrests, prosecution, and incarceration. They would be saving money there, and benefit from new tax revenue. It would be a Win Win situation for all concerned. Fuel, food, fiber and medicine, cannabis is a miracle plant. Its time has come, and can no longer be denied by prohibitionistsí lies. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 19:06:37 PT
Sam
Now that article I understood. So many articles don't make sense to me. I believe we need to get off our high horse and get down to the nitty gritty. Cannabis illegality is worse then the substance. Society needs to face up to it.
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on October 09, 2008 at 18:33:54 PT
Voting - Switzerland legalization
FOM thank for the alternet voting guide, I think it's excellent.Also, there is another big referendum next month to get excited about: On November 30th, Switzerland will be voting on full legalization of cannabis. And the referendum has the backing of 4 political parties, a couple of them are major parties too.This could be huge, they are not in the EU and I think if the people vote yes it will get implemented. It would surpass Holland's law. You have to think it would help take the pressure off Holland from other countries if Switzerland went even farther:http://www.swisster.ch/en/news/society/backing-grows-in-bern-for-marijuana-decriminalization_117-426403it says the Christian Democrats and Socialist parties are backing this, I think those are comparable to the Dems here. These people are cool, they have not been in a war since the 1840's!
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 16:53:29 PT
JSM
I saw an article about Obama and drugs but it was from a Republican type web site. I tune them out. I don't think like them. I look at marijuana laws in a whole different light then money or freedom to do what you want. To me it is a social problem and we need to be more understanding and not hateful towards people with addiction. (Not marijuana just hard drugs) I believe we need mental health care more then we have in a long time. I know about Cindy McCain's drug problem but it happened when the Keating thing was going on. She probably couldn't take the deceit and turned to drugs. I don't believe in a stock market that has no regulations because greed is a drug and it twists people's mind in it's pursuit.
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Comment #10 posted by JSM on October 09, 2008 at 16:37:29 PT
Believing in the stock market,
Well FOM it is rather like believing in Santa Claus. Close your eyes and wish hard enough and you can get anything you want.Well, it is official now. The Republicans have decided to make an issue of the drug war and are talking about Obama's admitted use. Funny how they never speak of Cindy McClain's problems and can not see the connection between the two.Does anyone here know that story? Would love to see details.Also, Kapt are u out there? You are being validated before our very eyes.  Drop some more wisdom on us, it is really needed now. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 15:23:02 PT

OT: Weekend Update:   9:30 ET Tonight
I think this will be great! http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/exclusives/Weekend_Update/
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 13:04:02 PT

OT: Stock Market
I stopped my house cleaning to watch the Stock Market close. It is down over 600 points. I really feel sorry for people who believed in the Stock Market. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 11:39:07 PT

Find Out If Drug Reform Is on a Ballot Near You
Find out If Drug Reform Is on a Ballot Near You -- Voter GuideOctober 9, 2008URL: http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/102319
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 09, 2008 at 10:41:19 PT

HempWorld
In case I never mentioned it before. Your website is amazing... and vast! Good work.
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on October 09, 2008 at 08:53:08 PT

Drug Czar Fails at Cutting Marijuana Consumption
But Does A GREAT JOB At Increasing Marijuana Consumption in the US and World-Wide! See Gettman studies... !Thank you Johnny Walters, your life has not been in vain after all ...
On a mission from God!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 08:01:42 PT

Federal Agents Raid Cherryland Pot Club
October 9, 2008http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_10674136
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on October 09, 2008 at 07:32:09 PT

OK, see.....
When they were cranking up this WoD back in the eighties they were saying pot was everywhere. Kids were using it in record numbers and it permeated the elementary schools. When they go to congress to ask for more money they say pot is epidemic it is running rampid in the streets!Today there is talk of cutting departments that aren't working. So, what does the milquetoast, marshmallow, comic book character drug czar do? He claims they are finally wiping out the green menace!Spin,spin,spin heavens to Mergatroid I'm getting dizzy! 
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 09, 2008 at 06:29:47 PT

Loser = John Walters
One day we will have an adult in the White House and he is going to ask all the childish, selfish, self interest groups, "Why is marijuana still illegal for adult use. BTW, Great Job Walters. I have not read or known of anyone who has lived their life as much in vain as you have. Marijuana is going to be legal, get used to the idea.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 09, 2008 at 05:53:46 PT

Just a Comment
I am looking forward to an Obama administration. I don't want Republicans in charge of our country anymore. They have messed it up big time. 
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