Critics of WoD Overlook Consequences of Addiction

Critics of WoD Overlook Consequences of Addiction
Posted by FoM on February 23, 2000 at 08:19:49 PT
By Kevin Sabet, Daily Californian 
Source: U-WIRE
In one of his recent columns, Brook Schaaf reveals a profound ignorance about the very complex issue of drug use and the suffering it produces ("Drugs," Feb.11). In addition to affronting the thousands of Americans who work hard in drug prevention and treatment every day, Schaaf calls for a more tolerant drug culture. This flies in the face of both history and science. 
Schaaf boldly asserts that America's only problem with drugs is the way it is fighting them. Such a presumption prompts these questions: how many treatment centers has Schaaf visited? How many families has he met whose lives have been wrecked because of drug abuse? How many friends has Schaaf lost to overdoses, or drugged or drunk driving? To heroin abuse? How many people have tried to sell him their babies for $100 so they can get their next fix? Schaaf concludes that America "needs a radical restructuring of its drug laws," or "we'll be worse off in 10 years then we are now." I know a lot of people take History 7B or something to learn about the past, but I think Schaaf needs a Drugs 101 class. When the drug culture flourished in the 1970s, 25 million Americans were regular drug users. When parents united later in the same decade, because so many adolescents were dying of alcohol and drug-related causes, political leaders started speaking out against drugs. The national consciousness changed. By 1992, American drug use was slashed by one-half and adolescent use dropped by a whopping two-thirds. More and more paraphernalia stores closed. Drug laws got tough and prevention efforts were expanded. In the year 2000, there are significantly fewer drug users than there were when drug laws were lax. Drug use among all but the young is decreasing. Among the young, it does seem to be leveling off. Why does Schaaf choose to ignore this generally good news? Think of the fanfare that would arise if the high school dropout rate declined by this much, if the spread of HIV decreased by two-thirds, or if pollution was cut at this rate. This effort of ours is no failure, and the refusal to accept the successes that we as a country have made is a result of legislative advocates who have some sort of twisted stake in a country which embraces drug use. If we are going to talk about giving a drug a "legal" status, it's important to look at the ruthless assault on young people that tobacco companies have waged over the past 40 years. The formula was and still is easy: make smoking look glamorous, make it a positive thing in people's minds, downplay the risks, advertise it. You will have more smokers, thus more money, and, as we know now, more deaths. Smoking kills 430,000 Americans each year, far more than alcohol at 100,000 deaths per year and considerably more than illegal drugs, which kill about 20,000 Americans every year. Some advocates of legalization present their idealistic picture to us when hypothesizing: legalize but don't commercialize. We know that can't happen. The Supreme Court has already ruled that commercial speech is protected under the First Amendment. Indeed, if nothing else, our two legal drugs can serve as a chilling example. Legal drugs are easy to obtain; use of them becomes acceptable. Commercialization glamorizes them. Price is low. High profits make promotion worthwhile for sellers. Subsequently, more people use drugs and users become addicted. This results in more sociatal and health damage, more deaths and more economic burdens. Addiction is real. It is a chronic medical problem with long-lasting effects on the brain. As a result, no treatment specialist would tell you that drugs should be readily available to the general population. Haven't we already learned our lessons with respect to our two legal drugs? Addicts need help. There is no doubt that treatment services should be expanded. This can be easily done within the parameters of our current policy. Schaaf concludes with a statement that a conference at Stanford with law enforcement officials who supported legalization is further evidence for a need to shift policy. What he neglects to mention is that that conference -- and scores like it around the world -- was orchestrated exclusively by drug legalizers who are making inroads at the policy level. That conference, in fact, was a convention only of legalizers, and the State Sheriffs Association, California Narcotics Officers and other law enforcement organizations explicitly denounced it. It was hardly a pool of random "law enforcement officials." Speaking of law enforcement and prisons, it is a plain lie that our jails are filled with non-violent drug offenders. A recent Columbia University report cites studies that show that of the 1.8 million people in federal and state prisons and jails, only 2.1 percent are there for marijuana offenses, and of those, less than 1 percent are there for simple possession. The truth about America's drug effort lies in the hundreds of thousands of Americans who fight this cancer every day. Groups like the Safe Streets Campaign in Washington state which, in 1989, involved 8,000 community members, including 2,000 young people, in fighting substance abuse in the city. Closing neighborhood drug markets and adding innovative prevention efforts produced amazing results. This particular campaign closed more than 600 drug markets, reduced 911 calls by 23,000 and removed graffiti from buildings in 3,000 blocks. When people of all colors and backgrounds unite to fight drug abuse in their communities -- and yes, Schaaf, wage a "war" on drugs -- they can reduce drug use, drug abuse, drug addiction and drug-related deaths. Behind every statistic is a real story -- a real human life pointlessly lost. So before you run around scorning our drug laws and accusing every defender of them as a conspirator, see what drugs can actually do to an individual, a family, a community. Volunteer at a prevention group or visit a drug-treatment center; be a part of the solution -- don't make the problem worse by justifying it. Why would we want to put more profits into the hands of those who prey on children and rely on addiction for their success, rather than fight against these deadly substances? Instead of advocating greater drug availability under the guise of personal choice, Schaaf, why not advocate greater education about these drugs? (U-WIRE) Berkley, Calif.Published: February 22, 2000(C) 2000 Daily Californian via U-WIRE  Copyright © 1995-2000 Excite Inc.CannabisNews Articles From U-WIRE:
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Comment #3 posted by nl5x on October 09, 2000 at 01:21:34 PT
more-on kevin sabet
A recent Columbia University report cites studies that show that of the 1.8 million people in federal and state prisons and jails, Only 2.1 percent are there for marijuana offenses, and of those, less than 1 percent are there for simple possession.Source: Kevin Sabet, Daily Californian , Critics of WoD Overlook Consequences of Addiction“look at our jails today, a report out of Columbia University, the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, says that only 2.1 percent of people in our jails are there for possession of a drug.” =======================================================if we want to take about the Dutch example, their percentages among youth and among children and adolescents during the time where before they didn't have these policies until the time where they really liberalized it, really just destroyed the whole Dutch generation with 15 percent use in '84. Here we are now at 45 percent in '96. They've caught up with Americans, who always traditionally had larger uses of marijuana.=============================================Well, we better make sure that marijuana is not treated like alcohol and tobacco here in the states. We see the tremendous, terrible problems that go along with legalizing a drug, even for people over 18 or 21. There is just widespread rampant availability and use of both of those two legal drugs, which are the cause of most of our deaths, because of their availability==============================================And I must say, going back to what Mr. Gray said about alcohol prohibition, that analogy is really a false one and a deceiving one. First of all, during alcohol prohibition it was not really prohibited; it was decriminalized, meaning you couldn't sell it but you could possess it. Second, and most importantly, alcohol has a long history of widespread accepted use in our culture, dating back to the Old Testament in ancient Greece. Drugs do not, and we've got to make sure that they don't. We've got to make sure illegal drugs stay out of society, and don't become a norm, don't become a cultural norm, or else you'll have the disaster of what you see in the Netherlands.=================================================The correlation between hepatitis, AIDS and the other -- racism and the other things that he's saying I don't believe are correlated with the drug war.==================================================BATTISTA: Kevin Sabet, do you feel like alcohol, cigarettes, everything, should be wiped out.SABET: Of course not. No one is advocating for the prohibition, again, of alcohol and tobacco, or at least most people, because, like I said, you have to look at the other element, which is the cultural element; and like I said, most people who get involved in alcohol don't get in trouble; most people who get involved with illicit drugs do get in trouble, and I think that's a problem.====================================================Source:CNN Talkback live transcriptsksabet
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Comment #2 posted by Elliot Fleener on February 23, 2000 at 17:09:23 PT:
Article from Daily Californian
Mr Sabet.Your suggestion that Mr Schaaf has,"revealed his ignorance",pales in comparison to you exposing yourself as a brainwashed idiot. Although there are many sincere people involved with helping substance abusers,the "War on Drugs"is a corrupt and scandalous farce.It is also a masterwork of propaganda,run by "czars",and demogog rulers. My apologies for calling you an idiot,but I think you should reconsider your approval of the way things are.
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Comment #1 posted by r.earing on February 23, 2000 at 09:39:49 PT:
reply to story
Nice circular self-justification.You've lapped up all the propaganda and were able to regurgitate it.Congratulations! You get a C- for not being "original".Won't someone please think of the children?-lol.
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