NORML's News Bulletin - April 27, 2001 

  NORML's News Bulletin - April 27, 2001 

Posted by FoM on April 27, 2001 at 09:19:48 PT
Drug Czar Candidate's Record Out of Step 
Source: NORML 

Washington, DC: Innocent citizens, seriously ill patients and minor marijuana offenders are among those most likely to become caught in the crossfire of the war on drugs under strategies endorsed by leading Drug Czar candidate John P. Walters, who was named yesterday by The New York Times as Bush's top choice for the job.  "The expected appointment of John P. Walters as the next Drug Czar is a serious mistake," warned NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. 
"Instead of finding a 'compassionate conservative' to lead our anti-drug efforts, President Bush has selected a man whose views are regarded as harsh and extreme, even among drug warriors. Walter's views favoring incarceration over drug treatment and education runs contrary to the American public, 74 percent of whom now say that our current 'do drugs, do time' strategies are a miserable failure."  Walters, who served as Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under the previous Bush administration, is a staunch proponent of incarcerating drug offenders - including recreational and medical marijuana users - and has lobbied Congress to stiffen federal penalties for marijuana. He also opposes state laws that exempt medical marijuana patients from criminal penalties, despite the fact that 73 percent of the public support legalizing the drug for medical purposes, according to a March 2001 Pew Research Center poll.  In addition, Walters is a major proponent of militarizing the drug war, and is a longtime advocate of a controversial US/Peruvian program that shoots down unarmed, civilian airplanes suspected of carrying drugs. Government officials abruptly suspended the program last week after the Peruvian air-force fired upon a plane carrying American missionaries in which a woman and her infant daughter were killed. U.S. and Peruvian officials mistakenly believed the plane was transporting cocaine.  In a 1996 background paper written for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, DC think-tank, Walters praised the program and urged Congress to expand the use of military force in drug interdiction. "Foreign programs are cheap and effective," he wrote. "An example: America's chronically underfunded program in Peru ... has managed to shoot down or disable 20 ... airplanes since March 1, 1995. ... [We] have an opportunity to save American lives by helping the Peruvians press their attacks on traffickers." He added: "The U.S. military cannot solve the drug problem, but it can make a profound contribution to cutting the flow of drugs through interdiction. The budget needs to reflect this national priority."  Walters is also a vocal proponent of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders, a tactic opposed by the American Bar Association, Supreme Court Justices William Rehnquist and Stephen Breyer, and recently criticized by President Bush who told CNN in January that "long minimum sentences for first-time users may not be the best way to occupy jail space or heal people from their disease." In 1996, Walters testified before Congress in opposition to recommendations made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would have removed the existing mandatory minimum criminal disparities between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. In various editorials, Walters has repeatedly dismissed the notion that certain drug laws and drug law enforcement tactics disproportionately incarcerate minorities as one of "the greatest urban myths of our time." Walters has also argued that the Sentencing Commission "should be barred from proposing changes in criminal penalties in cases where Congress has established mandatory minimum sentences."  Although there are now more drug offenders serving time behind bars than the entire U.S. prison population of 1980, Walters rejects accusations that the drug war excessively targets and prosecutes drug users and minor offenders. "The idea that our prisons are filled with people whose only offense was possession of an illegal drug is utter fantasy," he wrote in a March op-ed for The Weekly Standard. However, according to the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 25 percent of America's 2 million prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.  Walters remains one of the lone critics of expanding drug treatment strategies. While he supports "coerced treatment" and "faith-based treatment programs" for convicted drug offenders, he has called voluntary treatment ineffective - recently mocking the reoccurring drug problems of actor Robert Downey Jr. "It's hard to imagine a worse advertisement for the effectiveness of drug treatment than Robert Downey Jr.," he wrote. Recently, former Drug Czar McCaffrey sharply criticized Walter's disregard for drug treatment in The New York Times. "Some of his positions in my own view need to be carefully considered by the confirmation committee," he said, referring to Walter's resistance to embrace treatment over incarceration.  "Walters is another white male from the conservative Washington, DC think-tank crowd who supports the 'shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later' approach to the drug war," Stroup summarized. "He is out of touch with the attitudes of the American public and an extraordinarily poor choice to serve as the nation's Drug Czar."  For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, Executive Director of NORML, at (202) 483-5500 or Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Title: Drug Czar Candidate's Record Out of Step with Public, Health ProfessionalsNote: Bush Pick Supports Jailing Marijuana Smokers, Peruvian Shoot-Downs; Criticizes Drug Treatment, Medical MarijuanaTough Conservative Picked for Drug Czar New Bust for Downey Over The Andes News Bulletin Index NORML Archives 

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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on April 29, 2001 at 11:47:05 PT:
I can't help but wonder sometimes
Where to begin?Since I sincerely doubt that Joyce will ever directly answer anyone posting responses to her here, I sometimes wonder why I should even bother addressing anything to her.But for the sake of the spirit of debate, I'll offer the following.Joyce says that someone who purportedly died from drug abuse (mind you, I said 'abuse', not use) blames Mr. Stroup for the loss. Of course, she doesn't say who is making that claim. But...who ingested the unnamed substance?Joyce says that this was a young person. Then this young person had drug education in his school. Granted, as stilted and occasionally fraudulent as it is (courtesy of the efforts of parents who, in lieu of being straight with their children, sought to frighten them with lies in hopes of deterring them) it nonetheless existed.Which means he had exposure to it. He knew of the existence of these substances, and had a rough idea of their effects. But because of the disinformation generated by the lies, he sought to find out for himself. And voluntarily ingested - as 99.99% users do - the substances he was curious about. Voluntarily ingested. Not tied down and injected. Not forced to swallow a tablet at gunpoint/knifepoint/kitchen egg-beaterpoint, whatever. He did it to himself, as he did right up until his supposed departure from this life.An act of volition. No different from lifting a glass of whiskey and swallowing the contents. And repeatedly doing so until coma and death are the results. Volition. Choice.To blame another, when the fault so clearly lies with the actions of the person engaged in the destructive behavior, is sophistry of the worst sort. Because it is always used as the backbone of any prohibitionist argument... in denying the concept of free will and the responsibility inherent in exercising it.Take that away, and you reduce free human beings to the level of sheep...which, not surprisingly, many pols privately view the citizenry of this country as being nothing more than. Sheep. And a nation of sheep begets a government of wolves. Wolves...that have killed little children in order to save them from illicit drugs. While much more destructive ones - legal ones - are advertised in magazines and on The Tube.Mr. Stroup is no more responsible for the supposed death of that young man than I am. Ultimately he did it to himself, and has only himself to blame. That parents seek to blame others for their own failures in being honest with their children about both their own use and their children's curiosity has reached what seems to me to be a national epidemic. And the hopeless DrugWar is a symptom of that failure.
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Comment #9 posted by Willy on April 28, 2001 at 21:07:12 PT
The death of a child....
In the little town I live in several years ago the high school began a drug testing program. At the same time law enforcement began a crackdown on teens using pot. The result of these actions was that some of the kids went to their drug dealer to get marijuana but there wasn't any. The drug dealer suggested heroin. It doesn't show up on the random and it's easier to hide from the cops. Cool, said some of the kids. One of the kids was a young girl who was sweet, friendly and beautiful. Now she's dead. She died the day she was released from jail on a possesion of heroin charge. Instead of treatment she went to jail. As soon as she was released she found a drug dealer.If marijuana and drugs were legal and regulated access to them by young people would be much more controlled. That young girl would probably still be alive.Stroup's comments didn't cause her death, the war on drug users did.Mary Friend, I grieve with you for the death of your son and for the death of my young friend but put the blame where it belongs. The death of these young people is a direct result of the war on drug users.Thanks 
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Comment #8 posted by skeezix on April 28, 2001 at 09:30:47 PT
Biker Chick is to Joyce Nalepka,as heroin is to ______________A.SwedenB.WafflesC.HamstersD.MarijuanaThe correct answer is D.Marijuana            
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 28, 2001 at 09:01:41 PT

Hello Mary Friend
Hello Mary,I don't know anything about what Keith Stroup has said. That is his right. I am not for children using Marijuana but if they do I don't want them denied financial aid or want to put them in jail. Do you want to put minors in jail for smoking Marijuana? I sure don't.I lost my former brother-in-law to a Heroin overdose. He was a Navy Seal in Vietnam and that's when he become an addict. He fought the addiction many times but he lost in the end and it broke our hearts but Heroin and Marijuana are totally different substances.
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Comment #6 posted by Rambler on April 28, 2001 at 07:25:54 PT

Mary Nalepka
Joyce Friend. I hope you will forgive me for respectfully suggesting that youstep back,and take another look at your zealous crusade.It seemsto me,that you have gone overboard to the point of having a rabidobsession with your quest.What began as a genuine concern,hasnow become a compulsion to hate.You have fallen into a world ofdisproportionate hate of anyone,or anything that has the term "drug"on it.I think that you should attempt to develop a bit more balancedand realistic approach to your crusade.Keep an open mind.If you keepa closed mind,you will end up being alone in your own small world.
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Comment #5 posted by observer on April 28, 2001 at 07:00:18 PT

FYI: Mary Friend = Joyce Nalepka
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on April 28, 2001 at 05:23:06 PT

Wow Mary Friend,you have said alot of very contaversial things.One thing that really stands out though,is;"In our view, as parents' Stroup is one of America's most dangerous men. We believe he traffics in misinformation which is equally dangerous as a drug trafficker. Because kids believed his misinformation, we feel Stroup is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths among young people as they were killed in automobile accidents or went on to other combinations of drugs -- overdosing in the process. We have no idea how many kids are now in mental institutes or living on the streets as a result of Stroups' zeal to legalize pot."This is some wild stuff....Speaking of "disinformation",do you feel that the drug prohibitionists have never disinformed young people about drugs?You say;"In our view,as parents...",who are the "our" group that you are referring to?Who are you?dddd
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Comment #3 posted by Mary Friend on April 28, 2001 at 04:56:37 PT:

NORML's news bulletin
It is no surprise that Keith Stroup opposes John Walters. Stroup is know among parents and grandparents across America as the "Father of the Adolescent Marijuana Epidemic in America. He started in the late l970's telling kids things like, There is no evidence that even those few young people who use a great deal of marijuana necessarily hurt themselves academically or otherwise. (High Times 9/79,p.12)Earlier, March 14-16, l977, he testified before Congress in the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control that he "would favor an absolutely open market, with no age controls, no street controls., (Publication SCNAC-95-1-8, P.394)IN NORML's 10th Anniversary Issue, Stroup says, "Most drug sellers today are decent people. They should not be treated like violent criminals." P. 8In the Emory University student newspaper, Stroup told students, "We are trying to get marijuana rrrrrrreclassified medically. If we do that, we'll be using the issue as a red herring to give marijuana a good name." The Emory Wheel, 2/1/79.In our view, as parents' Stroup is one of America's most dangerous men. We believe he traffics in misinformation which is equally dangerous as a drug trafficker. Because kids believed his misinformation, we feel Stroup is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths among young people as they were killed in automobile accidents or went on to other combinations of drugs -- overdosing in the process. We have no idea how many kids are now in mental institutes or living on the streets as a result of Stroups' zeal to legalize pot.A mother who recently watched her son slip from a coma in his now twisted and knarled body into death told me, "Stroup is lower than a snake." My son is dead. He started with pot at the Boston Smoke-in, quickly advanced to snorting heroin--and never woke up. We watched him die week by week. Stoup should be sentenced to life without parole or made to stand by these kids bedsides and change their diapers and wipe the uncontrollable slobbers from their once healthy lips. Stroup cannot call himself a man--he appears to be crazed from his own years of drug use.
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Comment #2 posted by idiots on April 27, 2001 at 10:37:23 PT

why did anybody vote for bush?god they must have been completely out of their minds or just extreme idiots!
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Comment #1 posted by Darb on April 27, 2001 at 09:56:44 PT

Just like daddy
"Walters, who served as Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under the previous Bush administration, is a staunch proponent of incarcerating drug offenders" Awww... isn't that sweet. Bush Jr. is following in daddy's footsteps once again. There's a slight problem with this (besides the immenent re-invigoration of the war on civil libertes), the American Public's view has changed since daddy was in charge. We had the horrible 'crack epidemic' that the media created to fuel his daddy's war, now we have some reasonable discussions on drug policy. His appointee's mentality does NOT fit into the current drug war at all. I foresee even further disenchantment of the drug war due to this appointment. I remember reading a comment a few months back about how a staunch anti-drug drug czar will hurt their cause much more than help it. I agree 100%, the drug czar is not a position designated to be for the people, when it seeks to incarcerate 12% of it's citizens. The next 3 years and 6 months left will be very hard to stomach for reformers, but at the same time it will be hard to stomach for the general public as well. This guy will do more to help our cause than almost any reformer could dream, unfortunately he has decided to send the message using force, rather than through rational discussion as we would all like to see."Incredibly, Mr. Nader has said that, if forced to choose, he would vote for Mr. Bush -- presumably as more likely to cause a backlash in the environment's favor." RFK Jr., environmental activist, 08/10/00 NYTSubstitute Drug War for environment, and I believe it's right on in this case. Not to say that the original quote itself hasn't already been proven correct
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