The Thirty Years' War

  The Thirty Years' War

Posted by FoM on July 27, 2000 at 18:50:28 PT
By Nathaniel W. Lalone 
Source: Harvard Political Review 

Looking back on three decades of American drug policy, are we winning the war on drugs? Who's winning the war on drugs?' It doesn't look good for the federal government. Despite record drug seizures, arrests, and incarceration of drug users, most illegal substances are still inexpensive and easy to obtain. Today, with nearly two million citizens behind bars, the United States is competing with Russia for the dubious distinction of being the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. 
Last September, the Coalition for Effective Drug Policy, a consortium of nearly 150 public-health and public-interest organizations, took out a full-page ad in major newspapers and magazines proclaiming "It is time to admit the War on Drugs has failed." Whether or not the War on Drugs has failed, such an open and bold accusation underscores the growing sense that the government's current strategy is not working.This is not to imply, however, that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) does not recognize the shortcomings of its strategy, which emphasizes incarceration and tough sentencing laws. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey freely admitted in a speech last June that the ONDCP "cannot arrest its way out of the problem of chronic drug abuse and drug-driven crime. We cannot continue to apply policies and programs that do not deal with the root causes of substance abuse and attendant crime." This is a radical departure from the official government orthodoxy of the previous 25 years. It is the belated realization that a policy built on electoral opportunism and political pandering cannot long survive after its raison d'etre disappears. Rehabilitation:In the halcyon days following World War II, a prosperous and hopeful America embraced the idea of rehabilitating its criminals. Capital punishment was out; feel-good social programs were in. However, by the late 1960s, challenges by both the left and right drove rehabilitation out of favor. Great Society liberals felt that rehabilitation was missing the point; instead, they felt that crime policy should target prevention by eliminating the social ills that cause crime. Conservatives, alarmed at the social dislocations of the 1960s, sniffed a political windfall by appealing to the "law and order" sensibilities of Nixon's so-called Silent Majority. Their strategy quickly bore fruit: in 1973, New York State passed the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which were the first laws in the nation to require mandatory sentencing for drug arrests. Yet, even as late as 1974, policymakers were still entertaining the idea of a moratorium on all prison construction. By the late 1970s however, the conservative approach emerged as the preferred model for drug policy.The Reagan/Bush Approach:The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 solidified the "tough on crime" strategy for dealing with drug policy. Attorney General William Smith argued that if the administration wanted to establish a hard-line crime policy that was highly popular and did not undermine Reagan's "return to smaller government" philosophy, a War on Drugs would be an ideal political coup. The primary elements of the strategy were Nancy Reagan's popular "Just Say No" campaign and vastly increased resources for federal narcotics agencies. The Administration reacted to the exploding crack cocaine epidemic in the mid-1980s in an equally harsh manner. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 increased both the number and severity of mandatory-sentencing laws to punish drug offenders. George Bush continued the get-tough approach by building on Reagan's policies. Bush focused on the need to build more prisons to house the criminals being sentenced under Reagan's mandatory-sentencing laws. Attorney General William Barr's soundbite, "more prisons or more crime," reflects the Bush Administration's embrace of harsher crime policies. By 1993, drug arrests exceeded one million per year, and corrections spending had increased more than fivefold since 1980. What began as a political ploy had blossomed into an entrenched interest with its own bureaucratic inertia.  Candidate Clinton vs. President Clinton:When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he emphasized the need for prevention and treatment of drug offenders. However, even the Arkansas governor was not immune from the temptation to reap the benefits of appearing tough on crime. He argued in favor of both the death penalty and juvenile boot camps. In office, however, the Clinton administration has chosen to continue the policies of his Republican predecessors, focusing its efforts on increasing the number of police, the "three strikes and you're out"rule, gun control, and increased spending on prisons.A Successful War?In recent years, critics of the "get-tough" drug policy have become more outspoken and more severe in their critiques. According to Robert Field, founder and co-chair of Common Sense for Drug Policy, mandatory minimum sentences prevent judges from being able to use their discretion with sentencing, which results in some non-violent criminals serving longer prison terms than convicted murderers. The War on Drugs has criminalized a health problem by emphasizing incarceration and punishment rather than treatment. Perhaps the most damning critique of mandatory sentencing laws is their inability to reduce levels of drug use, increase street prices of drugs, or reduce the availability of drugs. To the War's critics, hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders are being sacrificed on the altar of a failed religion.Critics also suggest that the War on Drugs has focused too much on scoring political points and too little on saving lives. Field blasts the Clinton administration for paying network TV shows for airing Drug War messages, saying that it "undermines free speech" and propagates what he feels are government misrepresentations regarding the number of lives lost annually to drugs and the merits of other models of drug control. Finally, the War on Drugs has come under fire for its disparate impact on minorities. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services, African-Americans constitute only 15% of drug users. However, African-Americans account for nearly 35% of all drug arrests. The numbers are even higher for juveniles. This disturbing trend continues into sentencing for those convicted: a 1997 Harvard Medical School study of Massachusetts sentencing found African-Americans 39 times more likely to be incarcerated for a drug offense than whites. Today, 134,000 African-Americans are in state prisons, as opposed to 86,000 whites; the numbers were 21,000 whites and 16,000 African-Americans 15 years ago. Marc Mauer, president of The Sentencing Project, is particularly harsh on the administration, calling the sentencing provisions "unjust and unwise" and claiming that Clinton knowingly rejected a Sentencing Commission request to redress these racial disparities in sentencing.However, many of the administration's critics are quick to point out areas in which they feel that Clinton has gotten it right. Field and Mauer agree that the Clinton administration's policies on methadone and its stress on a greater need for treatment are big steps in the right direction. Despite these areas of agreement, one thing remains clear to Field: "the essence of the War on Drugs…is that it is an example of the need of a great majority to beat up on a defenseless minority." Harsh words, but considering the conduct of three administrations, perhaps not unwarranted ones.Some New Options:The ONDCP has not, of course, been without its successes and innovations. Perhaps one of the most successful and universally admired new federal initiatives are the so-called drug courts. By segregating drug cases from other criminal cases, drug judges and drug attorneys quickly become specialists in the field and are able to deal with the massive caseload of drug offenses in a more reasonable and considered manner. Mauer went out of his way to praise the administration's expansion of the drug court system. However, he noted one perverse incentive: "Offenders may get into a treatment program [via a drug court] but only if they committed a crime." Critics of the War on Drugs believe that the government should expand the use of drug courts and resolve this inner contradiction.There have been calls for a reallocation of federal resources to make the War on Drugs a winnable one. Common Sense for Drug Policy believes that too much emphasis is being placed on suppressing marijuana use. Field says the government "devotes nearly 70% of its resources to [marijuana] suppression…whereas we should focus our energies to discourage the misuse of the most dangerous drugs: tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin." Some critics also feel that a move back towards prevention rather than incarceration is long overdue. The Sentencing Project advocates treatment on demand. Mauer calls this the "middle-class model" based on the dichotomy in the ways middle-class families and inner-city families deal with drug abuse. Middle-class families never involve the police; rather, they ask their health insurer which treatment programs are available. Inner-city families, often without insurance, face police custody and jail time for similar drug use. By treating this as a public-health issue rather than a criminal-justice issue, there is some chance that not only will racial disparities disappear, but also the distressingly high rates of incarceration will come down.Outlook:The War on Drugs is a toss-up. Originally conceived as a response to the excesses of the 1960s and as a convenient political ploy by an opportunistic Reagan Administration, the "get tough" policy quickly became ingrained in the public mind as an article of faith. Both Reagan and Bush used harsh and draconian drug policies to bolster their standing as tough, law-and-order Chief Executives. Fearful of alienating his New Democrat power base, President Clinton has kept a tough-on-crime demeanor even as he has moved towards more emphasis on treatment. The system is in dire need of an overhaul: drug rates have stubbornly refused to fall, African-Americans are being sent to jail in massive and disproportionate numbers, and treatment has fallen by the wayside in favor of incarceration. Looking ahead, Mauer is not optimistic: "Gore has not said anything to call for a substantial redirection of current administration approaches, and Bush is fixated with Texas' 'lock-'em-up' criminal justice model." Until at least 2004, it may just be business as usual.Sidebar: Your Brain on Drugs:True, America's evening news is full of depressing stories of drug use. But change the channel to, say, MTV and wait for a commercial break. The evolution of anti-drug television ads is a sign of hope in the War on Drugs. These new ads intelligently address the complexity of the problem instead of oversimplifying it.We post-Gen Xers grew up with Nancy Reagan telling us to "Just Say No." The most memorable anti-drug message from our childhood was the Partnership for a Drug-Free America's 1987 spot featuring an egg sizzling in a frying pan that asked: "This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"The new wave of anti-drug commercials has a decidedly different flavor. They are trendier, often employing celebrities (from bands like Everclear and the Dixie Chicks to Olympic runner Michael Johnson). But they're also smarter. The media campaign launched in 1998 by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recognizes that there are no easy answers. One ad directly references the 1987 frying pan, but shows how drugs damage all aspects of a user's life, not just intellectual pursuits. A young woman uses the frying pan to smash everything in the kitchen, screaming that drugs also destroy "your body… and your family…and your friends, and your money, and your job, and your self-respect, and your future." This pervasive view of the consequences of drugs may reach kids who scoff at a threat only to their smarts. Another recent ad concedes that "just saying no" is an oversimplification of America's drug problem. A small boy running home through an inner city neighborhood tries to reconcile this advice with reality: "Teachers tell us to just say no… They don't have to walk home through here… The dealers are scared of cops, but they're not scared of me. And they don't take 'no' for an answer." A man's voice then cuts in: "To Kevin Scott, and all the other kids who take the long way home, we hear you. Don't give up." In another smart move, the ONDCP has targeted parents with ads calling communication "the anti-drug" and encouraging adults to talk to their children about drugs. Some list specific ways parents can help kids avoid drugs, like giving up one phone call a day to talk to their kids instead, or checking in at home while at work. Other ads use shock tactics to alert parents of the gravity of their responsibilities. In one, undertakers discuss standard procedures for children's funerals. Another emphasizes the peer pressure experienced by children by showing a mother going about her daily business in shops and boutiques, while encountering questions like "Want a hit?" and "You want to get high?" Upon unveiling the 1998 ads, ONDCP director Barry McCaffrey reflected, ``We're not going to solve the drug problem in America with television and radio ads… But we estimate the average high school senior has had 12,000 hours of education when they get out of school. That same kid has watched 15,000 hours of television. You know that television has got an effect." Although we cannot yet measure the impact of anti-drug messages, perhaps the evolution from Nancy Reagan to Kevin Scott shows that Washington recognizes what it's up against, and is at last ready to face the problem head-on.-Catherine Burnham '01  NewsHawk: Dan BContact: hpronline hpronline.orgContact Information: Harvard Political Review - Summer 2000Copyright © 2000 Harvard Political ReviewRelated Articles:A Letter From The Editor: Colombian Conundrum: American foreign drug policy and South American civil war collide. What is the United States getting itself into? By Ari E. Waldman Unfortunate Hypocrisy: We allow our intellectuals a flexibility that we deny our politicians. By Jonathon C. Gruber Away the Key: Mandatory sentencing for drug crimes produces the opposite of its intended effect: more crime and violence By Alex F. Rubalcava the Dutch: What Holland's softer drug policies mean for the U.S. By Jason T. Sauer Good and Evil: Drugs and a confused American conscience. By John Paul Rollert Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Drug Czar: On the War on Drugs The results of the Institute of Politics survey regarding youth political involvement. It Real: Recasting the drug debate in terms of accountability and opportunity. By John D. Couriel by Politics: For too long, the American drug policy debate has been limited to the poles of all-out war and complete legalization. It's time to find a middle ground. By Caitlin Talmadge

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Comment #14 posted by dddd on July 29, 2000 at 15:34:57 PT


How come no one told Dan that we wear steel toed boots?
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Comment #13 posted by Dan B on July 29, 2000 at 12:48:46 PT:

Thanks, dddd

for the vote of confidence. I'll do my best to keep on keeping on--being the same ol' Dan. Just wanted to make sure I didn't tread too heavily on anyone's toes.
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Comment #12 posted by dddd on July 29, 2000 at 02:00:18 PT

Dont change unless you want to

Dan B....Thank You! Please dont modify your "hypersensitivity",or anything else you do.Alternate views or contrary opinions are essential to maintaining the robust,and enlightening exchanges here. Dont "hold back" either.We'll let you know if you become overly provacative,or offensive.Feel free to cut loose,and let yourself go. I appreciate your politeness,but I think I would rather hear the Dan with an attitude,raw and uncut,as opposed to the held back one.........Keep on,keepin' on....You are cool.............Sincerely.......dddd
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Comment #11 posted by Dan B on July 28, 2000 at 23:03:56 PT:


...and thanks to everyone else who put up with my hypersensitivity. I appreciate the discussion this thread yielded, as it proves to me once again the lengths to which people waging war against the drug war will go to retain peace and respect one another. I respect your comments, dddd, as I also respect the comments made by observer. Now that I see where you both are coming from, I feel less like you were villifying the articles and more like you were pointing out an important semantic observation that applies to all articles like this one. I should let you know where I got the 60%/80% statistic. Back when the Colombia aid package was being debated in Congress, I was fortunate to be able to watch the debate on the Senate floor (C-SPAN). During that debate, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota and Senator Barbara Boxer of California both alluded to treatment statistics. It was Senator Wellstone who pointed out that 60% of adults and 80% of adolescents seeking treatment for drug abuse are being denied treatment, adding that transferring the $225 million headed for the Colombian military to U.S. treatment programs would help to cover the costs of getting these people treatment. The senator did not address where he got those statistics, but you may very well be correct in asserting that at least some of these people are attempting to get out of jail/prison terms by accessing treatment. Not that I blame them; I would do the same. But these people would certainly inflate the figures. Given the point Senator Wellstone was making, I don't blame him for using inflated figures, if in fact they were inflated. (I would have pulled out all the stops to keep at least some of that money from going to Colombia, too!)By the way, dddd--if anyone writing comments in this thread can be characterized as "verbose," it is me. Your comments and points are well-stated and well-taken. Sorry I got so testy. From time to time, I get a bit manic. It might be best for me to hold back a bit when I do. 
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Comment #10 posted by dddd on July 28, 2000 at 20:39:18 PT

Complexly elementary

Dan B..I appreciate,and agree with your well stated points.What I was trying to say in my akwardly written,and verbose comment,was refering to semantical framework on which these discussions are based.Of course this "framework",is a necessary part of any discussion,especially,as you said;", when looking at a work critically, consider the audience to which the author is writing."I was talking about the presupposed point of reference being undefined,or terminology that has a preconceived definition,,like the nebulous villification of the term,"drugs".This is elementary,yet complex.The term "treatment",is a good example.You mentioned;"... the fact that 60% of adults and 80% of adolescents in this country who are actually seeking treatment for drug addiction cannot get it."I wonder what percentage of these people seeking "treatment",are trying to get it to appease the justice system,and perhaps get a more lenient,or shortened sentence.The term "treatment" is tossed about,but if you think about it,"treatment",presupposes that you have a condition that needs treating.So in other words,one could get busted with marijuana,and end up in a "treatment" program,for a non-exsistant problem. I heartily agree that discussions in the language of the drug warriors are essential,and it was not my intention to criticize the writer specificly.I want to once again thank you for your excellent and insightful commentaries....Dont stop............sincerely.....dddd
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on July 28, 2000 at 19:24:57 PT

Just One More Thing

Hi Again Dan,I wanted to say I thought this was an excellent article. I am new at learning about the drug war. I had no idea how bad the drug war was until I started doing news and I'm still learning. I hope that articles like this one are the ones that help people learn how we got into this mess. Thank you very much for sending it to me.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #8 posted by Dan B on July 28, 2000 at 18:01:08 PT:

By the way, Observer, Thanks for the AA Link

That article on forced 12-step programs is great. And sad. What I mean to say is that 12-step programs actually do help a lot of people, but these programs can only work when not forced. As soon as coercion enters the picture, the effectiveness of the program goes out the window. To court order participation in such a program is ludicrous. Unless the intent is to force the "criminal" into an impossible situation and, ultimately, into prison.Thanks for the "heads up."
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Comment #7 posted by Dan B on July 28, 2000 at 17:52:36 PT:

Okay, I think we had our wires crossed...

I see what you mean, observer, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my comment. I think we are talking about two separate issues. I thought you were blasting the articles in this thread as a whole, but in actuality you were being critical of the ol' bait and switch forced treatment in lieu of jail time tactic.I agree that we need to be wary of such tactics. I just think that we also need to give some credit to the writers of the articles linked in this thread, as they do seem to at least be leaning in the right direction (away from the drug war).I'm glad I wrote something; I'd hate to bottle it up and think that some of the people I consider friends here might think I have a screw loose simply because I prefer voluntary treatment to the drug war. You put my mind at rest, observer. Thanks.Thanks for your comments, too, FoM. You're right, treatment facilities these days seem more interested in mind control than in truly helping people. That's one reason why I transferred from psychology to creative writing. I felt like I could do more good writing than I could employing the tactics psychologists wanted me to use. Much better conscience, too. Not to say that all treatment facilities are alike, nor that all are bad. But the good ones are few, far between, and usually too expensive for most of us. If we take every penny the U.S. plans to "invest" in the "drug war" and invest it, instead, in researching and providing treatments that really work for those who really want them, the world would be a much better place.
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Comment #6 posted by observer on July 28, 2000 at 17:05:53 PT

Using Prison as a Threat for Forced ``Treatment''

I'm for treatment. Not for any treatment for Cannabis because it's just an herb. People who are strung out on hard drugs and screw up their lives and wind up in front of a judge they need help not jailI'm for treatment too: as a free choice, not as something that is forced upon people. While this initiative sounds good on the surface, it is a bait and switch situation. The bait is "treatment, not jail" ... sounds good, doesn't it? But what is meant is "forced treatment for cannabis users". The image these people want you to have in your mind is "craven heroin addicts" and "shabby crack addicts". What is really meant is "adults who use cannabis". forced treatment for casual marijuana smokers. Of course, cannabis using adults are not mentioned, but they are the target.Please read the Stanton Peele letter concerning these initiatives, here (in the comments section):``The primary impact off such programs -- which generally involve those apprehended for drug and drug paraphernalia possession -- will be on casual and recreational drug users. -- Stanton Peele also:Recovery Nation: Is AA Threatening Your Freedom? 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on July 28, 2000 at 16:35:44 PT

My Thoughts

Good points Dan,I'm for treatment. Not for any treatment for Cannabis because it's just an herb. People who are strung out on hard drugs and screw up their lives and wind up in front of a judge they need help not jail. If treatment is drug testing then I don't agree. Drug testing won't help. We need good rehab and detox hospitals. I know I've been in one and it was horrible. I was only there for three days but I could write a book about what was wrong and how to change it. Just my 2 cents! I really needed help so I know there are others that will need help too. Withdrawing from legal prescription drugs can make for a terrible experience. I know.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #4 posted by Dan B on July 28, 2000 at 13:22:38 PT:

Observer and dddd

If I am understanding what you are saying correctly, you are both way off base. It seems to me you are suggesting that all people who wish to divert money away from law enforcement and into treatment programs are, at best, closet drug warriors. Please forgive me if I misunderstand you, but please read on.I don't want another dime spent on putting/keeping people in jail for drug "crimes," and at the same time I recognize the fact that 60% of adults and 80% of adolescents in this country who are actually seeking treatment for drug addiction cannot get it. It's time we stop spending money on putting people who don't need/want treatment into court-ordered "rehabilitation" programs as an alternative to prison/jail and start freeing up treatment programs for those who genuinely are addicted and want some help. Likewise, it is time to stop incarcerating people for any drug use. All drugs should be legal to use. Cannabis in all of its forms should be legal to grow and distribute (sell). Legalizing marijuana across the board will decrease hard drug addiction, as is evidenced by the results of the Netherlands' drug policy. I think that the Netherlands has taken an excellent position with regard to drugs, and I think America and the rest of the world would do well to follow their example. Heroin maintenance programs should be available to anyone addicted to heroin. Hard drug addiction should be treated as a medical issue, and nobody should be arrested for it. That is an issue between doctors and patients. I do not think that all drugs should be available to all people in the same fashion, but I do think they should all at least be decriminalized. It should be easier, for example, to obtain marijuana than it is to obtain cocaine and heroin. Possession of any drug should not be a crime. Sale of any drug should not be a crime. Some drugs, however, demand more regulation than others (age restrictions, licensing restrictions--as with alcohol--etc.).I would claim that our attention needs to be diverted away from law enforcement and toward treatment, based on those beliefs I just wrote. Does that make me a drug warrior?By the same token, does using the language of a drug warrior always mean one is a drug warrior? Perhaps the people who wrote these articles were writing primarily to an audience of drug warrior types. They are, after all, members of a decidely elitist educational institution (Harvard). Couching their positions in "drug warrior" language to address *this audience* would likely result in favorable responses to what they are saying. In that light, they seem to be using the drug warriors' own rhetorical tactics against them.Always, when looking at a work critically, consider the audience to which the author is writing. Such a consideration serves to open one's eyes to the real intentions behind the words. The intention in these articles seems to be to get those who are in favor of drug prohibition to examine the societal costs associated with it and to consider a different approach. That intention doesn't sound so evil to me.
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Comment #3 posted by observer on July 28, 2000 at 10:41:05 PT

re: Elementary complex 

The problem is a simple and obvious one,yet it is rarely aknowledged,or realized as a major factor in discussions concerning "drugs". This problem,is closely related to the term;"drugs",which has become to be defined by the public as;"illegal".Yes, this is a very common rhetorical trick that prohibitionist use constantly. This blurring can be described as conflation; an intentional confusion propagated by prohibitionist propagandists.Since the "war on drugs" is really a "war" (witch-hunt, actually) against adults who use cannabis, primarily, drug warriors have to confuse the issue. They know that a "war on marijuana users" would not do down so smoothly with the public. But when they veil this same intention as "war on drugs", they hope you'll think things like "heroin pushers and addicts" and "crack dealers" and so forth. But what they really mean is "adults who use cannabis". This is the thrust of the "treatment vs. jail" debate. As a subterfuge, a ruse, all that is talked about are "addicts" who "need treatment, not jail". But, what is really meant by "addicts" isn't primarily heroin junkies or crack heads, it is adults who use marijuana. That's where these laws are headed: to threaten marijuana users with even more harch incarceration than now, if not forced into "treatment".
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Comment #2 posted by Dan B on July 28, 2000 at 07:23:22 PT:

True, dddd. . .

Check out some of the related articles, all from the same magazine. In particular, check out the one titled "Beyond Good and Evil: Drugs and a confused American conscience," by John Paul Rollert. This article speaks to the issue you raise here.I think there are some significant things to consider when reading these articles. First, they come from a well-respected university--Harvard. You might recall that Harvard is also home to Dr. Lester Grinspoon, respected medical professional who has been extremely supportive of medical marijuana, and his compatriate James Bakalar, J.D., a lecturer in law at Harvard's Department of Psychiatry. To find out more about where these two stand on the legalization issue, I encourage you to visit http://www.rxmarijuana.comAnyway, along comes yet anopther indication that Harvard--HARVARD!--is in favor of at least discussing the possibility of decriminalization. There are ten articles here. Read all ten of them, and I think you will find that these articles mostly support decrim or outright legalization. They certainly favor the medical approach versus the law enforcement aproach to the drug issue in this country. And they do acknowledge that part of the problem is our country's warped perceptions when it comes to thinking about "drugs" in general and the "drug war" in particular.So, what I believe is important here is that the issues are being discussed. And, for the most part, they are doing their best to present both sides of the debate, with a lean toward decrim or legalization. This kind of discussion cannot hurt us. We have been calling for this debate for decades. Now that we have it, let's not despise it.
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on July 28, 2000 at 02:43:34 PT

Elementary complex 

 I think this is a nicely written article,but I think it shares a major problem with many other articles of this type.The problem is a simple and obvious one,yet it is rarely aknowledged,or realized as a major factor in discussions concerning "drugs". This problem,is closely related to the term;"drugs",which has become to be defined by the public as;"illegal".The drug warriors have effectivly blurred the distiction between marijuana and heroin,cocaine and meth,and even crack and liquor.Many people still dont consider nicotine a drug. It's amazing how people have been conditioned to think of "drugs",in two basic ways;"good,or legal",and "bad,or illegal".You can be strung out and addicted to a presciption drug,and this is a "legal"addiction,and a substance abuse problem,and people feel sorry for you,(like John McCains wife).But if you are unfortunate enough to be found using an "illegal" drug,you are viewed as a slimy criminal and incarcerated...... To stray back over to my strayed off of point,,when people write articles like this one,they are usually talking about drugs with the assumptrion that there are bad and good drugs.Their presupposed viewpoint is actually relative to the way the gov/media has defined the term "drugs".This is actually a subtle,and unrecognized form of semantical brainwashing, yet,as I hope you see,is extremely effective when used to influence the masses....................Sincerely Strange...........dddd
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