Few Have Drug-Free Past, Now 

Few Have Drug-Free Past, Now 
Posted by FoM on February 29, 2000 at 09:06:14 PT
By Diane Carman, Denver Post Columnist
Source: Denver Post 
Even the remote possibility of some of the city's finest partying back in the evidence room after a particularly successful drug bust is more than most of us can abide.So at least in theory, Mayor Wellington Webb's cocaine-free cops policy seems perfectly reasonable.
Webb announced last week that he will require that the Denver Police Department reject any and all cadet candidates who have ever used cocaine in their lives.It seemed like a fine idea. After all, police officers are expected to enforce the nation's stringent drug laws with fairness and dedication, so their personal behavior should be above reproach.But in the harsh light of day, this part of the mayor's effort to rebuild public confidence in the PD may prove unworkable.Face it, over the last 40 years, the drug culture has insinuated itself into walks of life from the inner city to the Ivy Leagues.While in the 1950s cocaine use may have been confined to an underground culture of beatniks and jazz musicians, by the '80s you could find it almost everywhere, even in the ladies room at your average Republican fund-raiser.Nancy Reagan made it sound so easy with her "Just say no" campaign, but even her kids didn't always listen.So a huge cross-section of Americans has a cocaine high or two buried in their deep, dark past. They may not be proud of it, but they can't deny it.So whether you're recruiting physicians, teachers or applicants for the priesthood, most people in human resources have learned not to be surprised by the answer to that question.Just two months ago, the Denver Police Department revealed that 67 percent of the candidates for the police academy admitted prior drug use. Though no breakdown of the drugs used was released, there's a good chance the recruits' experimentation went beyond the ordinary high-school pot party.Zero tolerance seldom is the best policy, and given the need for the beleaguered department to attract an estimated 100 new recruits per year over the next few years, the qualification of a cocaine-clean past makes reaching that goal a daunting task.Even the FBI, which usually has a waiting list of high-quality applicants, doesn't have that strict a policy. It disqualifies candidates who have used cocaine more than five times in their lives or at any time during the previous 10 years.And then there's the George W. Bush factor. It raises a whole host of provocative questions. Among them:- Are there positive things in a job candidate's past that outweigh the significance of cocaine use?- Can you require a candidate for a job in the police department to answer questions about past drug use when a guy who's running for president can refuse to divulge that information, saying it's personal, inappropriate and irrelevant?- Can it be irrelevant to the highest officer in the land and a deciding factor for one of the lowest?Sure, just because so many have done it, doesn't make it right. But it does make it hard to field a squad of cops ... or presidential candidates.Diane Carman's commentaries appear here Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Published: February 29, 2000Copyright 2000 The Denver Post. Related Article:Cops May Face Uphill Battle in Hiring
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Comment #2 posted by Elijah Fleener on February 29, 2000 at 18:20:29 PT
bleak outlook
Once again,kaptinemo is right on. In a sick sort of way,I'm looking forward to watching the dimented way the ONDCP will have to further twist the media spin,to maintain this Natzi-esque drug war scam. The outlook is none too encouraging for the targets of the witch hunt. When you have tens of billions of dollars to buy all national media venues allegance,and all the         Republicratic/Democan,'good ol' boy'wall street mega money multinational major economic entities,for your team....It aint pretty.The new and improved Evil Empire is deeply entrenched,and continues to manipulate the public,with formidable expertise. In my opinion,this Twilight Zone era,is going to continue toward The Outer Limits.I'm sorry,but the outlook seems quite bleak to this 84 year old patriot....Elijah Fleener 
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on February 29, 2000 at 15:22:44 PT
Another indication of failure
The Soviets used to have these 5 year plans, in which they would make all kinds of impossible demands of each sector of their economy, as if by decreeing it they could make it so. But reality always intruded, and the plans became nothing but a very bad joke. Unfortunately, laughing at the punch line could get you sent to the Gulag for being so 'counter-revolutionary'.According to certain pols, we were supposed to have had a Drug Free Society by 1995; all of the present programs were geared to that goal. But just as the Soviets who used to make unrealistic goals a part of their 5 Year Plans, our pols have fared no better. And they get just as pissed when you point out their failures.The proof of the failure is contained in the article: 67% claim drug usage. 67%. In the generation which has been exposed to anti-drug propagnada literally from the first day of school. The generation that has had the 'benefit' (ha ha) of DARE. The generation that first heard Nancy Reagan's Orwellian sheep-bleat of Just Say No-oh-oh!Bureaucrats just love figures, but I'll bet the bean counters over at ONDCP are sweating bullets and are consulting their spin doctors to try to put a winning face on a lost cause. Because *by their own figures*, they've lost. Miserably.
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