Drug War Efforts In Need Of Reform 

Drug War Efforts In Need Of Reform 
Posted by FoM on January 14, 2001 at 19:32:25 PT
By Barry McCaffrey
Source: St. Petersburg Times 
As my five-year tenure as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy draws to a close, I depart knowing we increased federal spending on prevention by 55 percent over the past four years. We funded anti-drug coalitions in 307 communities across the country and launched an unprecedented five-year, $2-billion anti- drug media campaign.
This public health communication effort, conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and this agency, is a model of cooperation between the public and private sectors. Vulnerable youth are now receiving accurate information about the dangers posed by illegal drugs, and more parents are involved in substance abuse prevention. Use of illegal drugs by adolescents has declined 21 percent since 1997.The consequences of substance abuse are still devastating. We estimate at out 50,000 drug-related deaths occur each year. This figure includes more than 14,000 drug-induced deaths plus mortalities from drug-related causes. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that illegal drugs account for $110- billion in expenses and lost revenue each year. The public health burden is shared by all of society, directly or indirectly.No wonder a recent Gallup poll found that 83 percent of the public view drugs as a "very" or "extremely" serious problem for the country.Nevertheless, the number of Americans who believe we are gaining ground against illegal drugs is higher than at any point since Gallup started asking the question in 1972. A consensus is emerging about what needs to be done.America has learned we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem. We've gone to extremes in limiting judicial discretion and over relying on mandatory sentences. The inequitable nature of federal cocaine sentencing laws is another problem among people convicted on crack cocaine charges, 90 percent are African-American. This disparity has fostered a perception of racial injustice within the criminal justice system. We must change from a predominantly punitive approach to a practical system that provides approximately 600,000 convicts released each year with a realistic chance of reintegration into society.That's why we brought together public health and public safety professionals from all branches of government to fashion sensible policies to break the cycle of drugs and crime. Transitional support for convicts must involve coordination among correctional treatment and other services and rehabilitation programs, like education and job training, parole supervision, halfway houses and self-help, peer-group initiatives that aid in rehabilitation.This approach is the only way to stop the revolving door for jails.Given that chronic drug users are caught up in the criminal justice system, we must continue expanding coerced abstinence programs --- such as drug courts, which have grown from just 12 in 1994 to more than 700 in operation or planning today. Nonviolent drug-law offenders who represent minimal threats to society should be able to avoid conviction by becoming drug free.Unfortunately, the policy discussion over drug-law enforcement has been distorted by the misperception that individuals are being locked up willy-nilly for minor possession offenses. During fiscal year 1998, only 33 federal defendants were imprisoned for offenses involving less than 5,000 grams of marijuana; 196 criminals were sentenced for crimes involving 1-million to 3-million grams of marijuana. Only 55 federal defendants were jailed for crimes involving 25 grams of powder cocaine or less. During this time, 749 federal defendants were sentenced for crimes involving 5,000 grams or more of cocaine, with 249 of these cases involving more than 150,000 grams.According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 70 percent of 222,100 state inmates serving time for drug offenses in July 1997 were incarcerated for drug trafficking as opposed to possession. More than 82 percent of the total state prison drug-offender population had prior criminal histories - one in four were violent recidivists. In Florida (according to its "drug czar'), only 40 of the more than 68,000 prisoners in the corrections system in July 1999 were incarcerated for a primary offense of marijuana possession. All had criminal histories; more than 60 percent had been in prison previously.We know that as a nation we are not doing enough to close the treatment gap - defined as the difference between individuals who would benefit from treatment and those receiving it. We estimate that about 5-million drug users need immediate treatment while just 2-million receive it. Over the last decade, spending on substance-abuse prevention and treatment rose to an estimated $12.6-billion annually. Of this amount, public spending is estimated at $7.6-billion, with the federal government contributing about half this figure.This agency has sought to address many of the factors limiting treatment, including restrictive Policies and regulations and incomplete, knowledge of best practices. We have been staunch advocates for methadone therapy, which now reaches less than 25 percent Of the opiate addicts who could benefit from it. We persuaded the president to sign an executive order requiring health insurance policies for 9- million federal employees and family members to cover substance abuse treatment. Our five-year planning budget calls for an additional $25- billion for treatment. However, much more must be done by state and local governments as well as than private sector. Communities must develop the public-health infrastructure to deal with addicted sub-populations. This problem cannot be resolved by the federal government, alone.Some question the need for continued focus on the supply side of the equation, believing the answer, to the drug problem lies exclusively, in prevention and treatment. The phenomenon of Ecstasy is instructive in this regard. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the future study reports that Ecstasy use by,, 10th- and 12th-graders increased 40 percent over the past year while among eighth-graders, use increased 80 percent. The survey also noted the largest increase in perceived availability of any drug in its 26 years of canvassing. The supply of Ecstasy is driving up demand.Keeping illegal and dangerous substances out of the country is uniquely federal responsibility. Illegal drugs constitute less than one part in a million of total imports Finding them is like looking for a needle in a haystack, yet about a third of cocaine destined for U.S. markets is interdicted each year. Cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, marijuana and methamphetamine would be much more readily available were if not for the concerted law enforcement effort to suppress trafficking. No community favors unfettered access to dangerous, addictive substances.Over the past five years, we have reinvigorated the national response to the drug problem. President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore have strongly supported our work. Our initiatives have also been advanced by a broad bipartisan congressional coalition. The involvement of governors, mayors, law enforcement, agencies, educators, coaches, athletes, corporate America, the advertising and entertainment industries, and private citizens has been instrumental in focusing renewed attention on illegal drugs. As a society, we've learned that we can't afford to take our eye off this ball.Barry McCaffrey is retiring director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)Author: Barry McCaffreyPublished: January 13, 2001Copyright: 2001 St. Petersburg TimesAddress: 490 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701Contact: letters sptimes.comWebsite: Articles:A Drug Warrior Who Would Rather Treat Than Fight Advocates Prevention, Treatment Drug Czar's Shaky Legacy 
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Comment #17 posted by greenfox on January 15, 2001 at 08:59:07 PT
Seting up for the fall...
Barry is out.. now who? How long must this go on? 
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Comment #16 posted by fivepounder on January 15, 2001 at 07:23:59 PT
Who is more of an ass than Barry?
Bye Bye Barry. Let's hope this is the last from that asshole. Come speak here in California, Barry. What could possible be more fun then heckling the ex- czarI'm starting to wonder if the schrub is going to appoint dan lungren czar. It just what he likes to do. Resurrect dead christian conservatives as appointees. Let's hope not, specially for us here in California. He hates 215.
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Comment #15 posted by Dankhank on January 15, 2001 at 07:19:39 PT:
Upping the Ante?
Here is the text of an e-mail that I sent on Friday to Senator Inhofe, Senator Nichols,Representative J. C. Watts AND the ONDCP:								Dear Sir:		I want to formally place my name in play for the position of Drug Czar at this time. I believe that I can occupy the "bully pulpit" in a manner that will encourage a meaningful assault on the premier problem facing our country. That problem is drug use among children.	Notice that I say the children. I am unutterably opposed to the jailing of any adult American for the "crime" of drug possession. I would demand that law enforcement arrest criminals that harm our culture by harming people. 	I believe that Robert Downey Jr. should not, nor should he have ever been arrested for the "crime" of possessing drugs. To my knowledge, he has not harmed any other human being, save perhaps his parents' peace of mind. If Drugs were decriminalized or legalized Mr Downey would not have had a legal problem at all. All that remained would be a possible medical problem, a decision to be made by Mr Downey's physician, and no one else. My qualifications are as follows:	1. I, too, am a retired Army Officer, CW3 USA, with 22 years of honorable service.	2. I have been around Children all of my life. I was one, I raised two, I have a truly wonderful granddaughter, and friends with Children of all ages that I talk to regularly.	3. I coached sports, mostly soccer when it was not as popular as today, for children in various years of various ages, from 6-15, one exceptional team was United States Army Europe champions in 1988.	4. I spent ten adult years in the Boy Scout Program, six as an award -winning scoutmaster. I camped with boys once a month almost without missing a month for eight years. I escorted 11 boys ,with an assistant, through a 65-mile backpacking expedition through the mountains of NE New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch, near Cimarron.	5. I subbed in the local school system here in Lawton, OK mostly at the junior/senior high schools. I am still sought as a sub even though I did not re-certify to sub this year, as I have a very important job right now. 	6. I teach computer operations at a private school here in Lawton, Oklahoma. I would miss my kids and I know that they would miss me. Nevertheless, I feel that I must try to help more children.	7. I know that Nicotine is the deadliest drug that our kids contact. Nicotine has probably caused my heart attack and double-bypass. I started smoking at age 15. I quit 18 months ago in the hospital, but still want one.	8. I know that alcohol is the second deadliest drug that kids use. Recently here in town there was a late-Friday-night beer party west of town where high-school kids gathered and sheriff's deputies observed open containers of beer, and left after an adult told the deputies that it would be taken care of. An hour later a high-school student lay dying at that party.	I have followed the ‘drug war' for years and believe I am conversant with most of the operations that are being conducted at the behest of the ONDCP. I am confident that you will recognize the value that I will bring to the dialogue in our great country. Drug Abuse by children attacks the very fabric of our society. Please allow me a chance to show you the wisdom of a different approach to the problem of children and drugs. Thank you for any help you give me in getting this letter to the proper office so as to facilitate the swift return in the mail of an application for Drug Czar. Thank you again. My e-mail address is Dankhank							Sincerely,If I am selected I will cut MY hair, and right now it's approximately 2 feet long, hanging to my waist in the back.Peace to all,:-) 																					
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Comment #14 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on January 15, 2001 at 06:47:06 PT
Barry Go Home
  And hey Barry, aren't you no longer our drug czar? Shouldn't you be off somewhere lying in your spare time? When they fired you from McDonalds did you show up the next day? Maybe he's just jealous of the attention that Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas' character in Traffic) is getting, and he wants an Oscar nomination for Best Actor too.  Hope he has enough sense to stop going to his West Point classes after final exams are done!!
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Comment #13 posted by kaptinemo on January 15, 2001 at 06:44:43 PT:
Oral flatulence
When I was little, like most kids, I took a great deal of enjoyment in making rude noises with my mouth that drove my parents batty. Until they made it quite plain that civilized people did not engage in such behavior in public.Evidently, no one informed the thankfully-ex-DrugCzar of that bit of social etiquette. He's just done it again. That is, made the lengthy and verbose equivalent of George Carlin's Bi-Labial Fricative...a raspberry.I guess we can't blame him; he's a creature of habit, living proof of Robert Anton Wilson's SNAFU principle in action. Namely, he surrounded himself with sycophants who picked up pretty quick on the fact that the Gen'rul only wanted can-do types around him. And since they could do absolutely *nothing* positive without dismantling the DrugWar apparatus completely, they were caught in the classic bureaucratic bind of having to appear that *something* useful and productive is happening, when nothing was at all. So, they very predictably settled for the classic response: pumping his ego by producing glowing reports... which were unsubstantiated nonsense at best and flagrant lies at worst. Which he promptly, confidently spewed forth as fact.I hope Georgie Too can come up with a more inventive liar than McC.
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Comment #12 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on January 15, 2001 at 06:42:19 PT
Marijuana Causes Insanity... in non-smokers!!
>>coerced abstinence programs  Interesting phrase. I think Barry needs some time in a coercion abstinence program...  That paragraph about how so few of the federal prisoners are in there for pot makes me wonder... so he is, in fact, saying that the pot laws are enforced by the states! This could be why state-by-state legalization efforts freak them out so much!!>>No community favors unfettered access to dangerous, addictive substances.  "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get to the liquour store before midnight, when they stop selling booze for a few hours a night, and all you can get are cigarettes..."
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Comment #11 posted by Frank on January 15, 2001 at 04:44:00 PT
What a Lie 
"Vulnerable youth are now receiving accurate information about the dangers posed by illegal drugs...." Barry McCaffrey. What a lie. 
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Comment #10 posted by sm247 on January 15, 2001 at 04:26:19 PT
These polls are a joke  how in the he.. are you gonna guesstimate what we the people think  .you don't even have a clue what people think. I think the govt wasted a good 2 bil of the taxpayers money on bull.... ads.Nothing has changed in 30 years .It is time to end the prohibition. 
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Comment #9 posted by dddd on January 14, 2001 at 23:32:14 PT
I'll see ya,and raise ya
 You made my evening Dan.How dare you try to up the ante by sculpting your bald spot...I'll up the ante with this;I will tattoo a cannabis leaf on my forehead,if Johnson is czar.Put that in your pipe and smoke it!...........dddd
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Comment #8 posted by Dan B on January 14, 2001 at 23:25:52 PT:
I'll Up the Ante...
If Johnson is appointed by Bush as the next drug czar, I will buzzcut my head and sculpt a big cannabis leaf out of my bald spot.Dan B
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Comment #7 posted by dddd on January 14, 2001 at 23:16:53 PT
Flat top it is FoM....It would be nice.....Let's hope I'll be sittin' in that chair soon...LoL.....dddd
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 14, 2001 at 22:55:06 PT
I call it a Flat Top 
dddd would get a flat top! That I would have to see. I know it's a long shot for Johnson but stranger things have happened. Maybe not that strange but strange like returning voting rights to felons after their time is served. That was a surprise when Clinton said that.
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on January 14, 2001 at 22:32:49 PT
 Another slithering statement from da czar.Although I will miss barry,and his obtuse and absurd diatribe and utterings,,I am looking forward to the new administration.The new czar will be no slouch.The new czar will be a pro,in the mccaffrey tradition.There is no way that barry would allow anyone to follow him,that was not a true chronic asshole.Look at what barry has gotten away with,it reads like a sci-fi novel.From the TV network scam,to plan Colombia,,the czar has dazzled us with unimaginable behavior. He's gonna be a tough act to follow.Not to worry though,I'm quite confident the new czar will not be at all disappointing....The American public has been strangely broken in to the idea that a "Czar",,,,a "Drug Czar",is quite a normal part of our dictocracy.The next czar will make barry look soft,and compassionate.I love/hate to be the purveyor of doom,,but I dont see to many positive signs on the road ahead when it comes to the federal situation.I will get a "crewcut",if Gary Johnson becomes czar.First haircut in over 20 years,and I'd love it.....dddd 
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Comment #4 posted by Duzt on January 14, 2001 at 22:32:45 PT
Seems strange to me that he always quotes how much drug use has gone down since 1997, he got in in 1996, how much has drug use changed since he became drug czar in 1996, he doesn't want you to know that....
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 14, 2001 at 22:10:18 PT
Thank You freedom fighter
The only thing that a wildness boot camp would do for a child is teach them to submit to authority but it will only be when they are looking and they could become full of hate. You can't woop a kid into submission. They sure could create a dangerous child if they push an unstable adolescent too hard I think.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on January 14, 2001 at 21:59:11 PT
In the name of children
Stop the prohibition!
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Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on January 14, 2001 at 21:49:53 PT
Tell that to these people Barry
Tragic Roll Call - List of children who died at wilderness/boot camps, as compiled by the parent of one child who died:It was said to Candice Takeuchi, Mother of DeeDee, who died at Vision Quest on June 28, 1995, "This program is in the Best Interest of Your Child."I'm sure the same was said to Julie Vega, Mother of Nick Contreraz, who died at Arizona Boys Ranch on March 2, 1998.What about the following documented deaths? There are more, but we just don't have the information.Lorenzo Johnson (17), Arizona Boys Ranch, June 27, 1984Carlos Ruiz (13), Vision Quest, December 16, 1994Mario Cano (16), Vision Quest, April 27, 1984John Vincent Garrison (18), Vision Quest, June, 1990Bernard Reefer (age unknown), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Robert Zimmerman (age unknown), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Charles Lucas (age unknown), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980James Lamb (age unknown), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Tammy Edmiston (age unknown), Vision Quest, September 11, 1982Leon Anger (age unknown), Vision Quest, September 16, 1984Danny Lewis (16), Vision Quest, June, 1989Nick Contreraz (16), Arizona Boys Ranch, March 2, 1998Eric David Schibley (17), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Chad Andrew Franza (16), Polk County Boot Camp, August, 1998Robert Doyle Erwin (15), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Lyle Foodroy (age unknown), Vision Quest, November 24, 1980Listed as found and documented by Mother of DeeDee Takeuchi, who died at Vision Quest on June 28, 1995. And Countless others in this stupid war.
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