Dealing With Druggies 

Dealing With Druggies 
Posted by FoM on March 30, 2002 at 22:51:59 PT
By Judith Lewis
Source: LA Weekly
When Lindsay Earls set out in 1999 challenge her high school's policy of drug testing students who participate in extracurricular activities, she did so with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, her parents and the tacit approval of many of her teachers. But as in every high school, a few people try to ruin it for everybody: On the ACLU's Web site, which features a portrait of Earls' fresh-scrubbed family, the now 19-year-old Dartmouth freshman reports that as her suit garnered publicity, some of her fellow students began taunting her younger sibling, Lacey, saying, "Your sister is a pothead." 
I was reminded of those kids when I read reports of the U.S. Supreme Court's arguments on the matter last Wednesday, dominated by the sarcasm-laced commentary of Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Antonin Scalia: Speculating on how parents would choose schools if they had a choice between one that tested students for drugs and one that didn't, Kennedy declared that, "No parent would send their child to the druggie school -- other than perhaps your client." When ACLU lawyer Graham Boyd objected that Earls' former school district, in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, had no observable drug problem, Justice Scalia replied, "So long as you have a bunch of druggies who are orderly in class, the school can take no action. That's what you want us to rule?" The shared use of accusatory slang like druggie might appear unseemly for a pair of Supreme Court justices. But it's also appropriate, because the Supreme Court's rhetorical style serves as a useful indicator of the tenor of discourse surrounding drug policy in the U.S. over the past two decades. In the place of reason and compassion, there is ridicule and scorn; instead of an effort to diagnose and address what drug problems exist, there is an increasing dependence on simplistic and punitive solutions to imagined crises. The schools, declared Scalia, are only "trying to raise these young people to be responsible adults." Compare that to the Supreme Court of 1943, which, in the landmark flag-salute case West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, called for "scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes." "It's astonishing to see how what should be sound legal reasoning has been distorted by drug-war rhetoric," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "I suspect that a generation from now we'll look back on this term druggie in the same way we now regard bigoted terminology we've heard in past historical cases." In fact, says Nadelmann, the court is so far removed from the reality of high school drug use that most reputable studies have been rendered irrelevant to the debate. Lower courts have proved more rational: While the Tecumseh school board prevailed at the district court level, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision, concluding that random drug testing without clear "special needs" is unconstitutional. But no one seems to believe the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Lindsay Earls, despite her having elicited amicus briefs from such disparate sources as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Education Association and the Rutherford Institute, erstwhile legal benefactor to Paula Jones in her case against Bill Clinton. The court is widely regarded to have taken on Earls v. Tecumseh to clarify the confusion left behind after Veronia v. Acton, a 1995 decision that legitimized mandatory suspicionless drug testing of high school athletes in Veronia, Oregon, and that 6-3 vote is likely to be repeated on Earls. So while justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O'Connor described the Tecumseh school board's drug-screening policy as "odd" and "counterproductive," and Justice David H. Souter warned of a slippery slope toward drug tests for all high school students -- an outcome the Bush administration explicitly wants -- when the court renders its decision in late June, it's likely to extend high school drug testing to all sorts of circumstances. To advocates of drug-policy reform, this portends disaster. "A U.S. Government survey showed that 50 percent of high school seniors have tried drugs by the time they graduate," says Nadelmann. "The consequence of stigmatizing young people for experimenting with drugs can be far more harmful than the drug use itself." In the wake of the Veronia decision, an economics professor named Robert Taylor published an article in the winter 1997 issue of Cato Journal, in which he literally did the math: Taylor, who was then on the faculty at San Diego State, formulated equations to prove that, as students drop out of sports participation fearing drug tests, more teenagers will be at risk for drug dependence and addiction. "Drug testing, by invading the privacy of student athletes and by making continued drug use difficult or impossible, increases the cost of athletic participation and will most probably lead marginal student athletes to quit the team," Taylor wrote. "Freed from the regimen of athletics, these former athletes may revert to the drug-use patterns of their nonathlete peers -- who have higher rates of drug usage than athletes." In other words, a decision in favor of the school board on Earls may spawn as many "druggies" as it deters -- perhaps in the form of latchkey alcoholics who will remain under the radar of the qualified professionals who might have been able to save them. In the meantime, those who worry about a U.S. drug problem might turn their attention to the 80 percent of drug-abuse deaths that occur in adults over the age of 25, many of which involve overdoses of prescription drugs, or alcohol in combination with other drugs. That's not, of course, what Justice Scalia meant when he referred scornfully to a "drug culture." "If the U.S. has a drug culture," says Nadelmann, "maybe it has something to do with the millions of people taking pharmaceuticals for everything from anxiety to shyness." And to the extent that high schools have a drug culture, "maybe we ought to count the millions of kids on Ritalin." Or maybe someone ought to ask Scalia and Kennedy, while they're clarifying our Constitution for posterity, to tell us what exactly they mean by druggie. Note: New platitudes from the people who stopped the vote counting in Florida.Source: LA Weekly (CA)Author: Judith LewisPublished: March 29 - April 4, 2002 Copyright: 2002, L.A. Weekly Media, Inc.Contact: letters laweekly.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:ACLU Policy Alliance Say No To Drug Tests Student Rights Indignities - Drug Testing for Everybody!
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Comment #11 posted by freddybigbee on April 01, 2002 at 07:04:09 PT:
Write to Congress
I see no point in writing to supreme court judges. They supposedly apply the law, they don't write it. They are appointed for life to, theoretically, make them immune from the political power of the congress and the executive. They are there to determine whether laws congress has passed are within the scope of powers granted to the congress by the constitution.Now the executive, the congress, and the supreme court have all used the war on drugs to eliminate the constitutional restrictions to their power. The supreme court failure is the most disastrous of all, because it sets precedent for all future courts. Supreme court rulings are the closest thing to amending the constitution, as they essentially declare what the constitution means.The congress is the only hope. The DEA wouldn't reschedule cannabis to allow medical use if it was proven to cure cancer, arthritis, and impotence in 100% of cases. It's simply a matter of a turf-war for them. No political entity willingly gives up power or money.If congress receives enough thoughtful input from pro-cannabis constituents, sustained over a long-enough time-frame, they will eventually act. Sure it's frustrating, even heart-breaking to witness and experience all the pain and sufferring caused by the schedule-one lie; but hang-in there and keep educating your congressional representatives.I typically receive replys from congress that simply recite what the relevant laws are and state that the goal of drug policy is to reduce drug use by any means possible. I'm so accustomed to this that I'm tempted to throw the letters from congress away unread, but occasionally there is information in them that I was unaware of before. It often feels like banging my head against a brick wall, but eventually that wall is going to break.
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Comment #10 posted by Patrick on March 31, 2002 at 07:03:23 PT
Dan B
Thanks for the address to the supreme court. I was going to send them a piece of my mind. Till I paused and realized that what with the terrorist moniker being applied so liberally to anyone that uses any illegal substance, they might actually consider my opinion. (Not likely), as a threat to american justice itself and shackle & cage me not for my free speech supporting the legalization of cannabis but, for the resulting investigation into my personal life that would no doubt reveal a normal american citizen with one exception. I smoke/smoked "pot" while it is/was still illegal in their eyes. Their idea behind prohibition is rooted in the principle of scaring people straight. Control. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. That makes perfect sense for my limits upon another's rights. If you have worn their handcuffs of justice for the simple act of smoking cannabis then you can relate to the need for keeping a low profile and not giving the establishment your true identity or location. I do not want to be arrested for cannabis again. I will never forget that kind of shit and neither would anyone else I imagine. Including the officer that said he would nail my ass to the wall if he ever caught me with illegal drugs again. Thank God cannabis is an herb and not a drug!!! I hope Ed Rosenthal wins his case. It sucks that even has to deal with a case in the first place.
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Comment #9 posted by dddd on March 31, 2002 at 06:40:12 PT
..Dr. Dan B...
..I like what you bring up concerning the Supremes,,,and I'm sure you know what I mean when I talk about the strange sort of disappointing feeling that mildly haunts one when sending a letter to a 'represenative',,or perhaps the Supreme Cohort........I always try to convince myself that somehow,,my letter will actually be carefully read and know,,I kinda have this obscure vision of the guy reading my message,and saying ;"yup,,this guy is right!...He brought up some really heavy shit!,,I'm gonna change things!",,,but I think that such letters are not read too carefully,,if at all.........I think that it would take something really big to have enough letters to the lawmakers ,,,,,that things got changed,,,,,,ya know,,maybe something like a national dress code that required plaid trousers while operating a motor vehicle ,,,that might cause enough letters of outrage to make the government say,,"well,,it looks like the plaid pants law was not a bill that we should have passed....alot of people are really pissed!",,if that was the case,,,instead of getting rid of the plaid trouser law,,they would simply modify it,,and in a glorious announcement ,,they would proudly proclaim that they ilistened to the people,and they read all the letters,,and they have now changed the law,,,The trousers no longer have to be plaid!,,,,any color will be allowed!".........dddd 
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Comment #8 posted by Jose Melendez on March 31, 2002 at 06:37:37 PT
partial transcript froscript below from:,2933,44786,00.html
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Comment #7 posted by Jose Melendez on March 31, 2002 at 06:35:37 PT:
HINT: drug war is really only waged on potheads
...maybe someone ought to ask Scalia and Kennedy, while they're clarifying our Constitution for posterity, to tell us what exactly they mean by druggie. from:NADELMANN: ... most of the teenagers I know who watched that started laughing when they saw that one.O'REILLY: Yes, because you know a bunch of potheads...NADELMANN: Oh, no, uh-uh, I got to tell you, most of them...O'REILLY: ... that's who you hang with.NADELMANN: ... most of the teenagers I know aren't touching drugs. They think this is ludicrous.O'REILLY: Oh, that's ridiculous.
Arrest Prohibition
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Comment #6 posted by mr greengenes on March 31, 2002 at 06:31:53 PT
I think...
...Lindsay Earls went the wrong route with this. Since one could argue that teaching the nations precious children is a privilege, she should have gone in the opposite direction and sued the school board to require mandatory drug testing for all teachers, coaches, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, board members, administrators, janitors, ect... All the affected unions would probably have put an end to the whole fiasco. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Sometimes a situation has to be taken to it's extreme logical conclusion before the masses start to wake up to what's going on.
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Comment #5 posted by Dan B on March 31, 2002 at 06:05:02 PT:
Send a letter (?)
I have found no such thing as an email address for a Supreme Court "justice," but I did find the snail mail address:[Justice's name] 
Supreme Court of the United States 
One First Street N.E. 
Washington, DC 20543 If you want to write a letter to express your concerns/anger/frustrations, etc., this is, I believe, the only way to communicate with these people.If you ask me, the one flaw in the Constitution is that it does not provide a way for the people to have Supreme Court justices removed from the bench. If I were a senator, I would try to pass a law making Supreme Court justices accountable to the people by allowing removal of said justices upon a 2/3 vote from the people (and only from the people). The people could petition the Congress for such a vote, which would require a simple majority to pass to the people. Then, the people can decide for themselves whether the people interpreting their laws are doing a fair job.But that's just my own humble opinion.As it stands now, I don't know how much good it would do for those who disagree with Supreme Court decisions to mail letters of dissent, as by the time they have made their decisions it is already too late. Consider this: of the nine Supreme Court justices, only two were appointed by a Democrat (that was Bill Clinton, a closet Republican, who appointed Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer). The other seven were appointed by Nixon (1), Ford (1), Reagan (3), and Bush I (2). Scalia was appointed by Reagan, Clarence Thomas by Bush I. Considering their appointees, is it any wonder that the Supreme Court is so screwed up?Dan B
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Comment #4 posted by qqqq on March 31, 2002 at 05:46:25 PT
JRB and Zombie..
...I was thinking exactly that ....druggies are the new niggers.........."Nuggies",,or "Diggers"...????
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Comment #3 posted by xxdr_zombiexx on March 31, 2002 at 05:34:28 PT
Prejudice, by anyother name
We could have the Justices replace the word "druggies" with the word "nigger" and we would have a better feel for where these sentiment come from, for it is the same dynamic. We hate people who are not like we think we are.It is amazing that persons with the education and experince to sit at the Supreme Court to make the final say-so on so many vastly important issues wouldnt know cannabis from a needle filled with heroin.It is clear that the Republican Agenda is to eliminate all manner of freedoms in this country and to bolster the drug-testing industry's profiteering by eventualy getting mandaory weekly testing for every human being over the age of 2. This will be done by Bush appointing more flat-out racists to the Bench and to any other department position possible.Welcome to the Fouurth Reich.
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Comment #2 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on March 31, 2002 at 04:31:24 PT
Mandatory urinalysis for the federal government!
  Don't forget that these drug tests will more than likely be the inexpensive urinalysis. After 48 hours, cocaine and heroin disappear off their radar screen. LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, and other psychedelics do not show up at all. They don't even test for alcohol. So we're basically asking our kids - who will know all of this, because they're not dumb - to give up cannabis, and if they still want to get intoxicated, please take something more powerful.  And while I'm not particularly proud of the word DRUGGIE, wouldn't it be nice to take back the word in the same way that the black power movement reclaimed their big stigmatized word? I don't picture myself greeting my amigos with "Yo, druggie!" just yet though.  Wonder how much pharmaceuticals and alcoholic beverages the Court consumes?
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Comment #1 posted by qqqq on March 31, 2002 at 02:16:55 PT
..let's define the terms....
...One would think that the term "druggie",would be something that one could define,,after all,,,if you think about it,a statement made by a member of the Supreme Court,,,using a term like "druggies",,deserves an explanation!. .......I want to know who qualifies as a "druggie"?.....Is a "druggie" some new class of people that will be defined like they have defined "terrorist"?....Are we to assume that "druggies" are like the taliban/al-quieda ,of the "war on drugs"????....Jerry Garcia bin laden???............I'm not tryin' to say that drugs are "good",,,,but I will say that I think that only an arrogant asshole would use the term "druggies"......If I'm a "druggie",,then you're a "Shithead".
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