McCaffrey's Brain On Drugs

McCaffrey's Brain On Drugs
Posted by FoM on May 04, 2000 at 21:28:51 PT
By Paul Rako
Source: Liberty Magazine 
A Vivisection Of The Drug Warrior In ChiefWith regard to the position taken by Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey opposing the legalization of drugs, there are a few concepts that need clarifying. The first and foremost is what Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey means by the word "drugs." 
It may be assumed from context and inductive reasoning that what he is referring to are not drugs in general such as aspirin, or even prescription drugs that enjoy quasi-legal status in that one need only find a doctor to write a prescription for them. What Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey means when he says "drugs" are psychotropic substances such as marijuana and cocaine.To state that these two drugs should be illegal is even a little misleading since there is no better bronchodilator known to man than THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Cocaine is of value as a topical anesthetic and was often prescribed by dentists and physicians until recently. Would Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey object if the child unfortunate enough to have him as a father was choking to death from asthma and somebody gave the kid a hit of marijuana? What if the kid was screaming in agony from poison oak or shingles or bee stings and someone had the presence of mind to whip up a cocaine poultice and apply it topically to the affected areas? No, I think not.What Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey objects to is that someone would give his unfortunate offspring marijuana or cocaine for the psychotropic effects these substances have. I assume that this is because his children will need a lot of psychotropic substances to ease the pain of knowing that their father is a bigoted jerk who likes to see people suffer for no reason and that Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey does not want his children hitting him up for cash all the time in order to try different drugs to see if the emotional pain and embarrassment will go away.My dictionary defines "psychoactive" as "influencing the mind or mental processes." Thorazine, Valium and Viagra are such drugs, but they are legal. Apparently Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey thinks it's OK to take Viagra and get happy for having an erection but it's not OK to take marijuana and get happy whether your member becomes tumescent or not. So I can't see exactly what Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey means by "drugs," other than things which he objects to for reasons that are inconsistent with reality and human nature. Well, so much for trying to make sense out of what Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey considers to be "drugs."Let's look at his first paragraph:The so-called harm-reduction approach to drugs confuses people with terminology. All drug policies claim to reduce harm. No reasonable person advocates a position consciously designed to be harmful. The real question is which policies actually decrease harm and increase good. The approach advocated by people who say they favor harm reduction would in fact harm Americans. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyWe can see a glaring need for another definition at this point: It's the definition of the word "harm." Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey's definition of the word harm is: "Causing anything I don't approve of." I think a better definition of the word harm is: "Causing suffering." Like the suffering caused by the knowledge that your dad is a bigoted jerk and that you can't even take a puff or a toot or a couple of pills to ease the pain until he gets out of the public eye and stops bringing disgrace to the family name. So we immediately see a simple contradiction caused by Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey's prejudiced view of what constitutes harm. He thinks psychoactive drugs would harm his children. I think his children should have an IV installed and try the whole pharmacopoeia until Dad stops being an jerk. It won't keep Dad from being a jerk but it might make the emotional distress bearable. Yes, psychoactive drugs are indicated for the treatment of mental illness and people like Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey make us sick.The second paragraph goes on to say:The theory behind what they call harm reduction is that illegal drugs cannot be controlled by law enforcement, education and other methods; therefore, proponents say, harm should be reduced by needle exchange, decriminalization of drugs, heroin maintenance and other measures. But the real intent of many harm reduction advocates is the legalization of drugs, which would be a mistake. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey To which my reply to this arrogant assertion is: Intelligent people present the facts and then draw conclusions from those facts. Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey states a conclusion after citing a series of facts that refutes his conclusion. What does that say about Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey? The third paragraph:Lest anyone question whether harm reductionists favor drug legalization, let me quote some articles written by supporters of this position. Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a Manhattan-based drug research institute, wrote in American Heritage (March, 1993): "Should we legalize drugs? History answers 'yes.'" in Issues in Science and Technology (June, 1990), Nadelmann aligns his own opinion with history's supposed verdict: "Personally, when I talk about legalization, I mean three things: The first is to make drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin legal.' With regard to labels, Nadelmann wrote: "I much prefer the term 'decriminalization' or 'normalization.'" -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey If Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey's confusion weren't self-evident from the previous paragraphs, he goes on to cite highly intelligent and respected professionals whose position directly contradicts his fantasy world conclusion. Hey now.The fourth paragraph:People who advocate legalization can call themselves anything they like, but deceptive terms should not obscure a position so that it can't be debated coherently. Changing the name of a plan doesn't constitute a new solution or alter the nature of the problem. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Hang on, I'm still laughing. OK, OK, no, no, wait, I'm losing it again, hold on, wait, I need a drink. OK, OK, now I'm better. Well, Barry is still slinging conclusions without any facts to support them. Can you say "pedantic semantics" Barry? I bet you can. I guess Aristotle would call this an inferred ad hominem argument. Kind of imply the other guy's choice of words are somehow sneaky or deceptive and therefore everything the guy says is false. Aristotle saw through this sort of stuff two thousand years ago, while the McCaffreys were just learning to sodomize sheep in the Irish Highlands.The Evils Of DrugsThe fifth paragraph:The plain fact is that drug abuse wrecks lives. It is criminal that more money is spent on illegal drugs than on art or higher education, that crack babies are born addicted and in pain and that thousands of adolescents lose their health and future to drugs. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Wow, what a pillar of cogent reasoning. Yup, abuse does wreck lives. That is the definition of abuse whether it's drug abuse, car abuse, child abuse or abuse of power, which is a specialty of Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey and his gang of jack-booted henchmen. Notice how Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey goes from arguing about drug use to making a rhetorical statement that abuse is bad. So is logic abuse Barry, and you should be incarcerated for it. But wait, no kids, we're not done yet. After pretty much saying Bad Bad as a causative position, Barry goes on to say that it's criminal that people spend more money on drugs he doesn't approve of than on art or college. No, Barry, it's not criminal, it's human nature. People have different values than you and even if you make us all pray in school and all go to your church, people will still have different opinions as to what is worthwhile. After seeing the Phish concert last week I can assure you that drug use is often done to greater appreciate the arts; the fact that drugs are more valuable to our society than college shows how useless our academic infrastructure has become now that the government is running so many schools.As to Barry's heart-tugging bleatings about crack babies, well, we're back to that use/abuse dichotomy again and anyway, studies have shown that the low birthweights and other health problems of crack babies are overcome as early as 18 months after birth. (Note 1) As to teenagers: oak trees and cars claim a lot more than do drugs. (Note 2) Is Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey going to outlaw '57 Chevys and bridge embankments too? The sixth paragraph states:Addictive drugs were criminalized because they are harmful; they are not harmful because they were criminalized. The more a product is available and legitimized, the greater will be its use. If drugs were legalized in the U.S., the cost to the individual and society would grow astronomically. In the Netherlands when coffee shops started selling marijuana in small quantities, use of this drug doubled between 1984 and 1992. A 1997 study by Robert MacCoun and Peter Reuter from the University of Maryland notes that the percentage of Dutch 18-year-olds who tried pot rose from 15% to 34% from 1984 to 1992, a time when the numbers weren't climbing in other European nations. By contrast, in 1992 teenage use of marijuana in the United States was estimated at 10.6%. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Here's that pedantic semantic guy again. OK, so maybe I was wrong about Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey's ancestors sodomizing sheep in the Irish Highlands. Maybe they were in Salem, Massachusetts unleashing little gems like: "Witches were criminalized because they are harmful; they are not harmful because they were criminalized." Then another dose of rhetorical observation: this time his brilliant assertion is Good Good. Yup Barry, availability and legitimacy are driven by demand and demand is caused by people thinking something is good. Then another burst of the good old semantic pedantic Barry with the bald-faced assertion that drug legalization will increase costs. Sorry Barry, it's Economics 101. You must have gone to a government-supported school. You see, fines and jail are real costs of using the drugs your gang doesn't approve of. When you remove those costs, net costs go down Barry, not up. In addition, when you remove the enforcement costs and the price of those expensive jackboots for you and your cronies, social costs are reduced even further. And yes, Barry, you are right that use will go up. It's that Econ thing again. But when you say costs will rise and so will use, you are violating a fundamental law of economics. Oh well, you are a few sandwiches short of a picnic, so I guess I can understand. What I really like about this paragraph is that you trot out some real life, albeit unsupported, statistics to make a slam dunk case for your idiot position. You seem to have confused us with Homer Simpson: "Ohhhh! . . . Statistics! . . . This guy must really know what he's talking about! . . . Pass me a doughnut." Unfortunately your examples are so pathetic they self-destruct upon the most cursory inspection. I won't argue legalization won't increase consumption. This is because drugs are good when used according to valid medical needs. We need a lot of drugs in a world full of people like you. What nauseates me is your implication that teen use will skyrocket. Sorry Barry, I read the examples and I've got a few problems right off the bat. You compare teen drug use in the U.S. to that of 18-year-olds in the Netherlands. Well Barry, guess what? The statistics for 18-year-olds and the statistics for 13 to 18-year-olds are sure to be different no matter what. And there's a difference between "use" and "just trying." Are you too stupid to make a valid comparison or are the numbers so close as to be statistically insignificant? Pass me a doughnut. Paragraph seven goes on to say:Many advocates of harm reduction consider drug use a part of the human condition that will always be with us. While we agree that murder, pedophilia and child prostitution can never be eliminated entirely, no one is arguing that we legalize these activities. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Back to Aristotle again, but this time its guilt by syntactic association. If murder, pedophilia and child prostitution are bad, so is anything else mentioned in the same sentence. Yes, Barry, love, marriage and baseball cards will always be with us too and guess what? No one is arguing that we criminalize these activities.Heroin MaintenanceOh boy, let's jump right into paragraph eight: Some measures proposed by activist harm reductionists, like heroin maintenance, veer toward the absurd. The Lindesmith Center convened a meeting in June to discuss a multi-city heroin maintenance study, and a test program for heroin maintenance may be launched in Baltimore. Arnold Trebach argues for heroin maintenance in his book Legalize It? Debating American Drug Policy. "Under the legalization plan I propose here, addicts.., would be able to purchase the heroin and needles they need at reasonable prices from a nonmedical drugstore.' -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey There you go again Barry, slinging conclusions first and then no facts to back them up. Who died and made you King, Barry? Which is worse in your twisted worldview, Barry, veering toward the absurd or slouching toward Gomorrah or what? If veering toward the absurd is so bad in your book, it's a good thing you didn't go to The Other Ones concert with us last weekend. I noticed you didn't mention that individuals such as William F. Buckley and Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman have come out for legalization, as well as the refusal of many federal judges to take drug cases because the mandatory minimum sentencing laws end up destroying lives for no reason, especially African American and Hispanic lives. (Note 3) On to paragraph nine:Why would anyone choose to maintain addicts on heroin as opposed to oral methadone, which eliminates the injection route associated with HIV and other diseases? Research from the National Institute for Drug Abuse shows that untreated addicts die at a rate seven to eight times higher than similar patients in methadone-based treatment programs. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyI'll give you one good reason, you know-it-all, Barry, because kicking methadone is brutal compared to kicking heroin, and that comes from my pal Doug, who has the San Quentin degree and the experience to state a simple fact. There would be no HIV risk from needles if do-gooder slime like you would mind your own business and let people get a clean rig at the store without filling out a lot of paperwork.And I just love your statistics. Statistics used to show that a lot of people died of tuberculosis in Arizona, so you wouldn't want to take the advice of your doctor to move there, since figures don't lie. (But liars do figure, hey Barry?)Paragraph ten:Dr. Avram Goldstein, in his book Addiction: From Biology to Drug Policy, explains that when individuals switch from heroin to methadone, general health improves and abnormalities of body systems (such as the hormones) normalize. Unlike heroin maintenance, methadone maintenance has no adverse effects on cognitive or psychomotor function, performance of skilled tasks or memory, he said. This research indicates that the choice of heroin maintenance over methadone maintenance doesn't even meet the criteria of harm reduction that advocates claim to apply. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Ohhh! . . . A Jewish doctor! . . . You must be telling the truth! Pass me a doughnut. Sorry Barry, Doctor Goldstein is full of it. I can say this with authority since after Dave's mom died of cancer he gave me one of her methadone pills. I was nodding so hard I almost knocked myself out against the wall. This Goldstein is on somebody's payroll, probably the company that makes methadone. (Note 4) The patents for heroin have expired so there isn't as much juicy corporate money in peddling it as there is in banning it. (Note 5)How We Won/Will Win The Drug WarOh golly Paw, let's peruse paragraph eleven: Treatment must differ significantly from the disease it seeks to cure. Otherwise, the solution resembles the circular reasoning spoofed in Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince by the character who drinks because he has a terrible problem, namely, that he is a drunk. Just as alcohol is no help for alcoholism, heroin is no cure for heroin addiction -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyAnd just as circular logic is circular logic so is circular logic circular logic. Heroin use is not a disease Barry. Mental illness is a disease and heroin use can help people with mental illness. You say addiction. I say maintenance. Ohhhh!... Saint Exupery!... Pass me a doughnut. Let us not ignore paragraph twelve:As a society, we are successfully addressing drug use and its consequences. In the past 20 years, drug use in the United States decreased by half and casual cocaine use by 70%. Drug-related murders and spending on drugs decreased by more than 30% as the illegal drug market shrunk. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyThese numbers are patently false, (Note 6) Barry. Paragraph thirteen:Still, we are faced with many challenges, including educating a new generation of children who may have little experience with the negative consequences of drug abuse, increasing access to treatment for 4 million addicted Americans and breaking the cycle of drugs and crime that has caused a massive increase in the number of people incarcerated. We need prevention programs, treatment and alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. Drug legalization is not a viable policy alternative because excusing harmful practices only encourages them. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyYeah, Barry, and I bet if we peons just send you all our money you'll institute a whole host of programs just as useless as the ones in place now, but at least all your pals and relatives will have lifetime jobs pursuing a goal that can never be reached. The new generation is at risk for drugs because its older brothers and sisters have realized that most of what you say is a lie. Drugs and crime are a cycle only because your billions of dollars of criminalization programs raise the cost of drugs to the point where crime is the only income option for many people. I love when you want more of my money to try and fix a problem caused by your stupid policies to begin with.Why is using some drugs so bad to you Barry, but alcohol and Valium and Xanax are just A-OK? Why do you insist that casual non-abusive drug use is harmful? Why must you weave this tissue of fallacies around your unfounded positions?Paragraph fourteen:At best, harm reduction is a half-way measure, a halfhearted approach that would accept defeat. Increasing help is better than decreasing harm. The 1998 National Drug Control Strategy -- a publication of the Office of National Drug Control Policy that presents a balanced mix of prevention, treatment, stiff law enforcement, interdiction and international cooperation -- is a blueprint for reducing drug abuse and its consequences by half over the coming decade. With science as our guide and grass-roots organizations at the forefront, we will succeed in controlling this problem.-- Mr. Barry R. McCaffreyWell, Barry, I was getting worried that I would run out of brilliantly reasoned trenchant analysis, but I can see now my concerns were unfounded. Actually I still am a little concerned because the second sentence, you know, the one after the stupid bald-faced assertion that has no basis in fact, yeah, Barry, that second sentence has struck me speechless. Let's savor it one more time:"Increasing help is better than decreasing harm." So I guess when your spiritual brethren nailed Jesus to the cross you would be up there dabbing mercurochrome on His palms, right, Barry? I want everybody to read Barry's second sentence again. Now, again. OK, one more time. Now say aloud the word "Evil." Thank you, folks. This is it, folks; there you have it; the crux of the entire government biscuit, as Zappa used to say. Take our money and harm us. Then get more of our money to help us. Repeat Until no money. Next chump, please. But wait, this paragraph goes on to detail how some big important sounding Office has devised a solution. Ohhhh! ... An Office!... Pass me a doughnut please. The solution is so good it will be the final solution. Yes, Barry, it sure will be. The big important sounding Office had such a familiar name but I just couldn't place it until I scrolled up to the beginning of this letter and saw that the Office of National Drug Control Policy is the selfsame office of which you are the Director. Wow Barry, some coincidence that it was your office that came up with the solution and not Harvard (Note 7) or Hoover Institute (Note 8) or all those other places that think legalization is the solution. How about you just let us all keep our money and let us decide which drugs to do and then when we get addicted we can go to Betty Ford Center and hang out with all the movie stars and politicians? Your advocacy of this study wouldn't be a tiny bit self-serving, would it Barry? Science and grass roots? You pig, how about vengeance and tyranny? That's what really drives you Barry. May your head be carried on a pike through the streets while the screams of your loved ones echo from the burning buildings of your crumbling institutions. You pig. You dirty pig. The pig's paragraph fifteen:Pretending that harmful activity will be reduced if we condone it under the law is foolhardy and irresponsible. -- Mr. Barry R. McCaffrey Huh? Barry? BARRY? It's the not condoning it that is doing all the harm. Harming people so you can help them is the sign of a psychopath. You know Barry, maybe I was all wrong about you. Maybe you're not a pig. Maybe you are a psychopath. You know, crazy. You know, mentally ill. Maybe you should take some psychoactive drugs, Barry. They help treat mental illness. It beats a straitjacket or prison anyday.(Mr. McCaffrey's remarks Copyright 1998, Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved, although I wouldn't be too proud of them if I was a prestigious West Coast Daily.)Notes:1. "'Crack babies' catch up", by Dana Kennedy, The Associated Press, 12/6/92, Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for every age from five through twenty-seven. Almost half of these crashes are alcohol-related. (NHTSA, 1996) By May 1993, 50 senior federal judges, including Jack B. Weinstein and Whitman Knapp of New York, had exercised their prerogative and refused to hear drug cases. Federal District Judge Stanley Marshall remarked, "I've always been considered a fairly harsh sentencer, but it's killing me that I'm sending so many low-level offenders away for all this time." A Gallup poll of 350 state and 49 federal judges who belong to the American Bar Association found 8 percent in favor of and 90 percent opposed to the federal mandatory minimums for drug offenses, 4. A little research shows the doctor to have started the first methadone program in California, so this also explains his prejudices. A choice quote: "Consumers of medicines have no expertise to evaluate claims." AND GET THIS KIDS: For Dr. Goldstein's views on marijuana refer to: Quotes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana -- Roundtable Discussion, February 20, 1997 Natcher Conference Center -- NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland."[I]f someone is seriously ill and is not feeling well, and marijuana makes them feel better, who is to say that that's a bad thing?" (page 83, Avram Goldstein, M.D.) "[W]e know that there are no extreme immediate toxicity issues. It's a very safe drug, and therefore it would be perfectly safe medically to let the patient determine their own dose by the smoking route." (p 82)5. Another leading authority on drug pharmacology, Dr. E. Leong Way, comments that -- despite its fearful public image -- "heroin does not have major effects on the motor and cardiovascular system and hence, the user can function effectively if access to the drug is not prevented." E. Leong Way, "Pharmacologic Assessment of Dependence Risks," in Krauss and Lazear. (p 394) 6. "Back to the '70s: The MTV Generation Inhales", by Robert L. Maginnis. Drug abuse among teenagers has risen significantly in recent years. A nationwide survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 1994 found that annual marijuana use among eighth graders rose from 6.2 percent in 1991 to 13 percent in 1994. The trend is also evident among tenth (16.5 percent to 30.4 percent) and twelfth (36.7 percent to 38.2 percent) graders. And cocaine, crack, heroin, and LSD use among teenagers is also rising and may soon rival the high rates of the 1970s. [1]; Son, Avery, Legalize It: Optimality Conditions Under a Taxed Legalization Policy, Mimeo, Harvard University (1994) Stop the War: A Former Police Chief's Plea to Clinton's New Drug Czar, by Joseph D. McNamara (Hoover Institute) Posted-by: Eric Ernst Pubdate: June 2000Copyright: 2000 Liberty FoundationContact: letterstoeditor News Article Courtesy Of MapInc. Articles & Archives Of MapInc. & Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey:
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Comment #4 posted by MMMM on May 05, 2000 at 09:32:21 PT
More news -- and NET access. 
Well, the news may not cause a policy change right away, but at least people are AWARE of the fact that marijuana can be medicinal. Before they lumped it in with hard drugs. People I've talked to who were anti-drugs are now realizing that marijuana isn't EVIL. Europe is easing penalties on smoking along with other countries, but the good old DEMOCRACY in the U.S. is holding back AND they've got the gold. And y'all remember the golden rule, right? Whoever has the gold rules. Fortunately, other countries are allowing MJ so that people who need it CAN use it without fear. Imagine all these doctors who won't be able to push pills anymore because people are getting better with MJ. Pharmaceutical companies and the alcohol industry will have major losses -- so sad. Keep the country sick because of the lobbyists. AMERICA HAS NO CONSCIENCE!
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on May 04, 2000 at 23:18:00 PT
I can hardly wait.It doesnt come on till 12:05 AM,out west...dddd
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 04, 2000 at 22:18:55 PT
Good Article
Your welcome dddd!It is so good to see such high impact articles coming our way! When CannabisNews started in December of 98 news wasn't anything like it is now! We have them running or at least walking along at a good clip these days. I love it!Peace, FoM!PS: I was busy editing news to post so I only listened to PI and oh my oh my is all I can say!
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on May 04, 2000 at 22:12:44 PT
Thanx FoM...I really enjoyed this somewhat sardonic article......dddd
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