The War On Drugs: Why We Fight

The War On Drugs: Why We Fight
Posted by FoM on June 08, 2000 at 06:04:57 PT
By Lewis Rice
Source: New York Post
As the special agent in charge of the New York Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, I read with interest Arianna Huffington's June 2 column, "The Drug War: Just Say ‘No More.'" I believe she misses the mark by implying that the "drug war" is a purely domestic issue, with drug-enforcement efforts equating to a war on our own citizens. 
I began my drug-law-enforcement career in New York City 25 years ago and have since worked and managed major narcotic investigations around the world. I can clearly and confidently state than the greatest threat to our citizens is not the war on drugs, but instead the relentless efforts of international drug trafficking organizations. These organizations' most devastating adaptation has been their ability to drive the drug market and actually increase demand, and therefore profits, by employing sophisticated marketing techniques. Without question, the most socially devastating drug epidemic to hit this nation was crack cocaine. The key to crack's rapid spread was marketing. At the time, cocaine was a relatively expensive drug abused by a select population. Crack, with prices of $5 to $10 per vial, in effect made cocaine abuse economically feasible for a much wider population. The result: increases in the volume trafficked more than made up for the less expensive price. The lessons of crack were not lost on the traffickers. Twenty-five years ago, heroin sold for $10 per bag. Purity was relatively low, in the 3 percent to 10 percent range, and demand, limited to long-term addicts, eventually waned. Then, in the early '90s, several South American drug-trafficking organizations began using an established cocaine-smuggling infrastructure to ship high-purity heroin to the northeastern United States. This heroin sold on the street at unprecedented purity levels, now over 60 percent, for the same $10. At this purity level, one can get high by sniffing heroin. This opens heroin abuse to all those who would have never used a drug the required a needle. With fear of AIDS, hepatitis or the needles themselves no longer a factor, heroin abuse has significantly increased and now crosses all socio-economic levels. Most recently, major Europe-based traffickers took note of the rapid rise in the abuse of MDMA (ecstasy) in Europe in the mid '90s. In 1998 and 1999, they made a calculated effort to increase profits: They began flooding the U.S. market with MDMA pills, using our cultural familiarity with taking pills to their advantage. The marketing strategy did not stop with increasing the supply to drive demand. Almost all MDMA pills are sold with logos stamped in, creating brands for users to seek out. Many of those brands are specifically designed to appeal to teens. The dangers of ecstasy are just becoming apparent. A study recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry revealed that, given intelligence tests weeks after partying, individuals who used ecstasy along with marijuana performed worse than did people who smoked only pot or took no drugs. While Ms. Huffington does not explicitly call for drug legalization, she is highly critical of the "drug war" and seems to outline one side of an academic debate about policy choices. However, the debate is beyond academic. As a DEA representative, I have had the opportunity to speak with community groups in New York, Philadelphia and Detroit about the role of DEA and our drug-enforcement strategies. Though at times quite heated, these discussions have been extremely beneficial for the citizens and the agency because it was clear that both sides wanted the same thing: communities free from the ravages of drugs. While overdose deaths are the most noted effect of drug abuse, the most subversive effect of drugs in the community is the delayed or destroyed dreams, hopes and aspirations of those who cannot break the cycle of addiction. Children across the nation want an alternative to drugs and drug-related activities. They also want adults to show a sincere interest in their lives and not to give in to their impulsive drives. Rather than surrendering in our drug-enforcement efforts, it is far better to talk about after-school activities, jobs and meaningful relationships that can bridge the gap between child and adult, and reassure them that we have not written their future off. Yes, there is more to any "drug war" than making arrests. Any successful anti-drug program must include elements of enforcement, treatment, and prevention. DEA has a strong demand-reduction and community-outreach program. We encourage and actively participate in community empowerment, enabling residents to establish control of their neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all. Drugs are aggressively supplied and marketed by sophisticated international traffickers using techniques worthy of Madison Avenue. The ultimate victory will not be won by throwing up our hands in frustration when challenged by their resources and expertise. It will be won by a joint enforcement, treatment and education effort that builds on the lessons from the communities that have successfully renounced drugs and drug trafficking. Lewis Rice is the special agent in charge of the DEA's New York Division. Published: June 8, 2000Copyright 2000 NYP Holdings, Inc. Related Articles:The War On Drugs: Just Say No More CannabisNews DEA Archives:
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Comment #8 posted by Ralph on April 23, 2001 at 09:15:26 PT
So-called War on Drugs
Two comments:1) This guy -- the writer -- obviously has a career to protect. No War on Drugs, and he's out on the street looking for an honest job. And who in their right mind would hire a bum like him?2) If they discovered coffee tomorrow, these DEA Nazi's would have it declared a dangerous, illegal drug within a week! It is really pointless to argue with these DEA types. They have an institutional interest to protect -- their own -- and they are just barely intelligent enough to be thoroughlybrainwashed by their agency's propaganda. The DEA conducted extrajudicial assassinations on a massive scale in Mexico under Nixon. I don't advocate violence against DEA personnnel, but I do hope that a central record is preserved for the day when we put these bastards on trial for their crimes. These people are war criminals, make no mistake about it. Everyone of them deserve to get the abuse they have handed out to people all over the world.The War on Drugs is the new Viet Nam. And it is time to fight back against the contumacious, maniacal depravity of our adversaries. "In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds.In loyalty to our kind, we cannot tolerate their obstruction."
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Comment #7 posted by CD1 on June 09, 2000 at 10:20:26 PT
I may be wrong
Correct me if I am wrong, but has anyone ever heard of any death from an overdose of marijuana? Obviously, Special Agent Rice values his job, and would hate to see funding for the DEA disappear. So, he spouts his propaganda. I encourage all of you to write the New York Post to refute Special Agent Rice's drivel.
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Comment #6 posted by fivepounder on June 09, 2000 at 07:57:22 PT
His Pigness
Not only is this guy flat out stupid, he's a nazi. He's mind to totally propagandized.  All for the good of the children. Oh, of course he does have a vested interest ie he's career but that is so much easier to deal with when you take the moral high ground. What I find particularly frightening is how freaking cold these pigs are. I guess you have to be when you ruin peoples lives for a living.
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on June 08, 2000 at 16:43:53 PT:
Drug War, ad infinitum
How many times do you have to cut yourself before you realize knives are sharp? How many times do you have to touch the stove before you realize that doing so can burn your little pinkies? How many times must you beat your head against a wall before you realize it gets you a migraine at best and a concussion at worst? Obviously, for a person of average intelligence, not long. But what if such practices were institutionalized? What if there were people who were actually *paid* to do such stupid things? Even when it injures them...or those around long as their only means of sustenance was derived from such insanity, they'd be inclined to continue it. Especially when they are insulated from the effects of their actions by a kind of mental novocaine that they can use to blunt the effects of their idiocy?Agent Rice's type is legion. They know the game is fixed; the knife is always sharp, the stove is always hot, the wall is always hard. It has always been that way. But Agent Rice is in a unusal position; society allows him to continue this madness because society does not see it as madness. It sees it as 'Saving the Chil-drun'. And because he only peripherally feels the effects of his role in perpetrating it, he sees nothing wrong with what has been happening to our civil liberties.This is whay I keep saying that it is a waste of time bothering to try and change the mind of a narc. They *know* already about the true history of the cannabis laws of this country. They don't care. AND FOR ANY ONE OF THEM TO ADMIT THAT THEY KNOW THEY'VE BEEN WRONG WOULD BE TO BREAK RANKS WITH THEIR FELLOW ACOLYTESYes, for once, McCaffrey was partially correct when he said we shouldn't be calling it a DrugWar. It is in fact, a holy war. A jihad. And all who speak out against the One True Faith of Saint Nancy (She of the unnaturally bright eyes; I wonder what would have shown up in *her* urine sample? Perhaps the Dr. Feelgood of the Kennedy years had a contemporary in the Reagan White House?) must not only be shouted down, but beheaded as well (Brothers Bennett and Gates provided that particular bit of zeal).Don't bother talking to the zealots; they can't - or won't - hear you. Talk to the pols above them. The cops are but vessels of power. 
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Comment #4 posted by freedom fighter on June 08, 2000 at 13:41:58 PT
For 25 years, mr DEAdman
been sucking living blood from the working people. You are the reason why we have the war. Not the other way around pal! 
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Comment #3 posted by Dankhank on June 08, 2000 at 10:30:14 PT:
extreme, terminal ridiculousness
The Drug War IS a "War on the American People's Right to Choose!"I don't CARE what Ecstacy does when used with pot.I know what pot does ... and decry every small-minded, venal, vapid and vituperative person who thinks that any form of incarceration is appropriate for pot smokers ... and yes, dealers, too, since we gotta get it from somewhere!Mr. DEAman, you do America NO SERVICE when you say that incarceration is needed.How many millions of pot arrests are needed to energize the rest of the so-called intelligensia to tell this DEAman to STOP locking pot smokers up!!!!!!!
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 08, 2000 at 09:29:42 PT
This guy has a career to protect
From the article: DEA has a strong demand-reduction and community-outreach program. And the Nazi's arrested and gased innocent men, women and children while they kissed babies durng public speeches.Just more propaganda, where's McCareFreak when we need him.
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Comment #1 posted by CongressmanSuet on June 08, 2000 at 09:29:27 PT:
So Agent Lew, this is why you fight?
You fight because International drug trafficking uses "Madison Ave" techniques in its marketing? You fight to keep drugs away from our precious children? You think the answer is "after school" activities? Or could it be you fight to keep your, and thousands of other nazinarcodrugwarrior's jobs intact. You can make a statement such as " studies indicate that those who take Ecstasy and smoke pot performed worse on intelligence tests than people who just smoked pot or took no drugs" and have no idea of the ramifications? I bet you sincerely believe you are winning this "war" even though by your own admission prices have fallen, availability is greater, and when you bump a big crop, another one mysteriously appears to take its place. That was a very smart, nicely done attack on Arriana, dont want to be too nasty in our condemnation of her, after all there are ALOT of people who agree with her and love her columm, we wouldnt want to sound nuts now would we? So we call her "misguided" and not "a bleeding heart liberal who wants to give drugs to all our kids" like we would really like to. Agent Lew, please, next time you start spouting about "international Cartels, and marketing tactics, think about the little guy doing 10 years for growing a bunch of "non-marketed" Cannabis plants in his back yard. I for one am choking on your "logic"....
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