Albuquerque Heroin Use Up, Drug Czar Says

Albuquerque Heroin Use Up, Drug Czar Says
Posted by FoM on December 17, 1999 at 20:13:49 PT
By Lance Gay, Scripps Howard News Service
Source: Albuquerque Tribune
Report cites increased dealing and use of Mexican "black tar" heroin in Albuquerque. In spite of drug crackdowns, a new federal report says trafficking and use of Mexican "black tar" heroin is increasing in Albuquerque, and methamphetamine abuse is "increasing rapidly" across the state.
The 216-page report by President Clinton's drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, also acknowledges that sophisticated drug smuggling across the Southwest border has increased under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which unintentionally made it easier for smugglers to hide illicit narcotics entering the United States in commercial shipments.   "The large commercial infrastructure, enhanced by NAFTA, provides 'masking opportunities' for drug-trafficking organizations, which have become extremely sophisticated at concealing drugs and money in vehicles, cargo or trains crossing the border at the various ports of entry," the report says.   The report describes the war on drugs in 31 battlegrounds across the United States, including the Southwest border, in the wake of increased efforts to get state, local and federal authorities to coordinate drug crackdowns nationwide. Congress this year allocated $190 million in taxpayer funds to so-called "high-intensity drug trafficking areas" across the nation -- up from $25 million allocated in 1990.   McCaffrey said New Mexico's open and largely uninhabited desert areas bordering Mexico have traditionally been prime smuggling zones. But in the past five years, he said, increased cross-border commerce has resulted in a sharp increase in drug smuggling in both highway- and railroad-freight shipments.   "Drug traffickers are increasingly exploiting the NAFTA provisions, which bring about significant increases in commercial trade," the report says.   While Mexican marijuana remains the most commonly abused drug, the report says that "the availability of Mexican black tar heroin continues to increase in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, and both brown and white heroin have been encountered in recent seizures. Gangs facilitate much of the drug distribution that occurs at the street level, and are responsible for much of the drug-related violence in the region."   The report linked Albuquerque's drug rings to "West Coast California gangs" and said that outlaw motorcycle gangs continue to operate the region's methamphetamine supply line.   McCaffrey said that with the extra congressional funding, federal, state and local authorities are increasing intelligence-sharing and targeting border areas. The funding is also paying for Drug Enforcement Administration multiagency task forces in Albuquerque and Las Cruces to focus on local drug-trafficking groups.   The report said there has been a surge in methamphetamine trafficking and use across the Midwest and Northwest of the United States, and that drug trafficking is no longer largely an urban problem.   "What we really have is a series of local drug epidemics," McCaffrey said. Published: December 17, 1999 The Albuquerque Tribune. Related Articles:Midwest Meth Seizures Expose Rural Drug Epidemic - 12/15/99 Drug War Detailed in Report - 12/15/99
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Comment #3 posted by observer on December 31, 2000 at 19:08:04 PT
THE EVIL OTHER (excerpt). . . Labeling drug users as evil may be factual nonsense, but serves a strong psychological need. If users are bad, non-users can view themselves as good. That self-concept helps reduce guilt experienced by non-users who fear democracy; the unpatriotic anti-American bums are those pot-smoking peaceniks, not church-goers who relinquish traditional freedoms upon command from government officials. No hard thinking is required to find a moral path; just follow the rules in order to be moral, obedience is goodness. Such a philosophy appeals to people who view the world in black and white contrasts. Everything else may be changing in the world, but at least anti-drug zealots can be certain they are good, and that drug users are bad.Paradoxically, the Evil Other serves to define goodness. Fanatics look at a drug user and say, "We're not like that." Goodness is the opposite of the Evil Other. In that scheme of values virtue is not its own reward; instead citizens need to be reassured that their conduct is proper. The reassurance comes from witnessing the negative example of scapegoats, who exemplify the consequences of lacking virtue. Without scapegoats, citizens would be unsure of their wholesomeness.Harsh anti-drug laws seem irrational only if viewed as a response to pharmaceutical properties of drugs. In reality the legislation attacks drug users for daring to question middle class values. That is the real crime. To argue for drug law reform on the basis of drug properties is irrelevant unless that argument is used to draw out citizens' underlying fears. Those must be addressed. Most politicians try to exploit those fears rather than diminish them; if political speeches referred to race rather than drugs, the demagoguery would be obvious. Scapegoats are useful politically. They are a shorthand way of uniting heterogeneous citizens into a common group identity, a cohesion that depends on opposition to the Evil Other. If the Evil Other were to disappear, politicians would be harder pressed to establish their own goodness.Whether drug control laws actually control drugs is irrelevant to the statutes' purpose. Otherwise they would have been reformed long ago. The point is to punish scapegoats. In that sense drug control statutes are highly successful and would be impeded by reform.The criminal sanction legitimizes scapegoating. Drug users are shunned not just because they use drugs but because they are criminals. It is hard to refuse a social outing with someone who merely smokes marijuana, but easy if the smoker has spent 5 years in a penitentiary. Attendance at a party where others smoked marijuana may be insufficient grounds to reject a job applicant, but a criminal conviction for attending may be reason enough for rejection. Not only does the law avoid the necessity of any embarrassing explanations, the scapegoater can even feel virtuous for supporting society's values. No rational explanation is needed for ostracizing fellow citizens. Reforming the law would force scapegoaters to justify their discriminatory behavior. Without the law, scapegoats might even cease to exist. . .Richard L Miller, The Case for Legalizing Drugs, 1992, pp.112-114 
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Comment #2 posted by hard worker on December 31, 2000 at 17:07:08 PT
drugs in southwest
 How can we as Americans wage a war on drugs especially in the southwest when all the law enforcement officials target are the small drug pushers. What the U.S. government needs to decide is whether or not to fully combat the drug problem or stop wasting American lives and money. When a person is seriously cut the doctor doesn't just put a bandage on he/she fixes the source of the cut. The authorities must focus on the dealers that bring the large amounts of drugs into U.S. that will cut the middle men out of picture. What does a common hard working man know!!!
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Comment #1 posted by military officer guy on December 17, 1999 at 20:40:09 PT
i don't like that guy...
i really dislike the czar...he bugs me...if they would legalize mj, then the gov't would be getting lots of money of taxes, and would stop all the drug trafficing, and the money saved on prisons would be huge...but leave it up to the govt to do something that doesn't make any since...but then again, that's just coming from a military officer guy...what the hell do i know..???
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