For Drug Warriors, It's Flashback Time 

  For Drug Warriors, It's Flashback Time 

Posted by FoM on May 13, 2001 at 07:21:45 PT
By Ann McFeatters 
Source: Post-Gazette 

The White House drug wars are heating up again. Woe is us. Having scolded the previous administration for laxness in fighting the war on drugs - a tired cliche that means kids go to jail, missionaries' planes are shot out of the sky, politicians get quick-and-easy sound bites and Hollywood has more movie fodder - the Bush administration is going back to the future.When in doubt about how to get a handle on the scourge of drugs by reducing demand, the ready solution seems to be to get tougher by building more prisons and filling them up with addicts and small-time dealers, although the pitiful case of actor Robert Downey Jr. shows that the threat of jail is not always the solution for addicts.
The truth is that presidents - Democrats and Republicans alike - are just like most people in that they don't really know how to confront the evil of drugs and are afraid to get too innovative. So they appoint "drug czars," use military lingo and give speeches to the effect that "this time we're really going to war against drugs." Sometimes their wives try - for a few years - to persuade children to "just say no."Former President Clinton made the drug war a centerpiece of a couple of his stupendously long State of the Union speeches. That creativity and zest changed the illegal drug landscape - for about five minutes. One of Clinton's last acts in office was pardoning 48 drug offenders, including his brother. That was not a big deal because most were small-time users who got trapped in their addictions; but it didn't help that one pardonee was a kingpin in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring.This president cares so deeply about the scourge of drugs that he has appointed as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., the man who led the impeachment effort in the House against Clinton. This, coupled with Hutchinson's hard-line views on curbing illegal drug use, is not exactly a smart move to ensure broad bipartisan support of the DEA as a new round of anti-drug warfare starts.At the same time President Bush has nominated John P. Walters to lead the Office of Drug Control Policy, the position known as "drug czar." Walters, a law-and-order conservative, is considered a bright star in the right-of-center firmament. His selection has prompted a rash of comments such as, "It generally looks like more of the same."The problem is that "the same" hasn't worked. Walters was the main author of "Schools Without Drugs." Marijuana is now widely available in middle school. The president's $1.95 trillion budget has $19 billion (up a whopping big $1.1 billion) earmarked for all forms of federal drug control. Some of it will expand waiting-room-only treatment facilities. But most of it will go, as usual, for interdiction - shooting down planes, paying mercenaries' salaries and burning crops in Latin America.One of Bush's new initiatives, besides setting up a data base for all the church-based programs that deal with drug users, is spending $5 million a year for five years on something called a Parent Drug Corps. That military thing again. It is to be hoped the worried parents trying to thwart their teens won't be wearing the Chinese-made black berets rejected by the U.S. Army.Bush wants to spend $11 million more on community efforts to educate children about how bad drugs are for them. A poster for every empty storefront? Yet the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is widely deemed to be flawed. Instead of being wiser about such drugs as marijuana, many adolescents regard it as innocuous - another parental control issue.Americans get their views on the anti-drug effort not from Washington but from Hollywood. The public doesn't so much believe the Clinton's administration statistic that youth drug use declined 21 percent in its last two years as it believes the grim movie "Traffic" and "The West Wing" episode that portrayed the anti-drug war as a futile waste of money.There are peaks and valleys in the never-ending effort to end the curse of drug addiction. The popularity of one drug ebbs, but inevitably another comes along. It seems to take a variety of costly tactics - from treatment to jail - to make a little progress. Putting society's stigma on drug use helps, too.Bush has given Hutchinson and Walters a chance to try their back-to-basics, lock 'em-away approach. As commander in chief of the war on drugs, Bush is banking that the nation has time, even if addicts don't, to see if this time one-size-fits-all works.If not, he'll talk about missile defense.Note: Bush takes a hard-line, old-fashioned approach to an intractable problem. Ann McFeatters is National Bureau chief for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. Her e-mail address is: amcfeatters nationalpress.comSource: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)Author: Ann McFeattersPublished: Sunday, May 13, 2001Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 PG PublishingContact: letters post-gazette.comWebsite: Articles:Appointment of Drug Czar Renews Old Debate Signals Shift in Drug War Emphasis President Names Congressman To Drug Agency

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Comment #10 posted by Kevin Hebert on May 14, 2001 at 09:38:26 PT:
The term "pothead" is indeed used to denigrate those of us lucky enough to know that marijuana is one of only a handful of mind-altering substances with few if any long-term side effects.If someone wants to call me a pothead, so be it. I can live with that label. It's the imprisonment of my fellow potheads that makes me mad.Call me whatever you want, if it makes you feel good. I am all for people feeling good.Just don't put me in jail for feeling good in my way.
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Comment #9 posted by schmeff on May 14, 2001 at 08:53:08 PT
Another example of the brainwashing that can be accomplished with a $20 billion annual budget.The Ministry of Progaganda has managed to "sell" the notion that mind-altering=dangerous. However, if "mind-altering" is defined correctly as anything that alters the chemical state of the brain, then our lives are one continuous progression of mind-altering events from birth to death.Think about it: sex, prayer, eating, sleeping, educating, meditating, medicating, loving, living...everything we do is mind-altering!!!!Mental stasis is what is truly dangerous. It has been said that humans (yes, FOM, we're human beings) are the only creatures that posess self-awareness. Having the ability to constantly monitor and evaluate our conscious state, it is simply natural to experiment with altering our conscious state. We have been given this ability, this self-awareness, for a reason. We alter are minds in order to learn, to seek, to evolve.Laws that seek to criminalize a state of consciousness, or attempt to define a standardized mental state are a perversion of nature and a Crime Against Humanity.
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Comment #8 posted by dddd on May 14, 2001 at 05:38:29 PT
Too late
Your right on as usual's too late to try andre-program the masses though...The derisive derivitivesof the antis campaign of villifications,has branded thepavlovian response into the brains of the media-indoctrinatedcommoners so deeply,that it is useless to attempt to help themovercome their semantical addictions.The best plan is to move ahead,and disprove these illusive meanings.Like I said,even reasonable people fall into the unintentional misinterpretationsof words.......Obviously,I must admit that my own use of words in these verbose ramblings is quite questionable.dddd
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on May 14, 2001 at 04:34:12 PT:
What is a "pothead"?
Seriously, we need to define this before we can chastise the antis for using it.In their eyes, all cannabis consumers are "potheads". And what is denotes a "pothead" to them?The mental picture, easily gleaned from their assinine commercials and literature, is that the pothead is a slacker, a ne'er-do-well. Someone without the ambition necesary to climb out of bed, much less climb the corp-rat ladder to 'success'. Someone as devoid of personal ethics and standards of conduct as they are of hygeine; the perennial stereotype of the "pothead" includes being in desperate need of both a bath and an intact, matching wardrobe. People whose domiciles are like a poor man's "efficiency" apartment: bedroom, living room and kitchen, all in the same dumpster.Well, I guess that leaves me out. As well as those who post here.So, we must not actually be "potheads".Perhaps we should define what a cannabis consumer is; why should we use the enemy's definitions?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 13, 2001 at 17:15:33 PT

My 2 cents
I am not a pot head. I am not a druggie. I'm a human being. I wish they would stop labeling us. We are people, just ordinary people. 
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on May 13, 2001 at 16:37:42 PT

Well Stated wades
It's like a label...."drug user"...."drug offender"...."pothead"..."druggie"..It is like they have formed a legal sort of "hate group" thing around theseterms....It's a 'Cult of Hate',or disaproval,once you have recieved the label.Welcome's good to see you....................dddd
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 13, 2001 at 16:17:34 PT

Welcome Aboard
Welcome wades,We sure do have good people here and I'm glad you are joining us. Thank You!
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Comment #3 posted by wades on May 13, 2001 at 16:05:07 PT:

RE: Even reasonable people...
Even reasonable people buy into the notion that anyonewho uses (some) drugs is an addict.It seems to me that the biggest hurdle we have to crossis changing that perception. People can make all ofthe relevant distinctions about the effects of various psychoactive substances, but it won't make any difference as long as the notion iscommonplace that all users are subject to the worst effects of whatever substance they consume.When these columnists who seem sympathetic to us startto write as though they realize that 90+% of all users ofany prohibited substance are perfectly normal people,then I will start feeling that there is some reason to celebrate.I've been lurking here for a long time, occasionally posting as "anonymous coward." I decided to come out, finally. Great site, FOM.
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Comment #2 posted by aocp on May 13, 2001 at 15:45:17 PT

You got it, dddd
The whole article is pretty well set-up, but your quote is exactly what i saw standing out, as if lit up like a neon light. As we learned in Technology Eduction, there is no right or wrong, just an impact. Drugs are not good or evil, they simply make an impact. Apparently, the antis wish that impact to be as negative as possible, then skirt the blame. Sick.
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on May 13, 2001 at 15:21:57 PT

Even reasonable people...
like this writer seems to be,cant escape the presuppositionsthat have been branded into the term "drugs".....>"The truth is that presidents - Democrats and Republicans alike - are just like most people in that they don't really know how to confront the evil of drugs and are afraid to get too innovative.""...the evil of drugs..",,once again the term "drugs",is left undefined,as if everyone understands that there is a certain "evil" that is universallyaccepted.The assumed meaning of the undefined term "drugs",is significantevidence of a successfully brainwashed public.all this is not to say that this article is not well done,and somewhat balanced.I think a large percentage of discussions concerning drugs,are flawed by theloose or ill-defined term "drugs".The nebulous definition,combined with suchpreconceived meanings,make coherent discussions akward as my own verbose commentary is........................................................................dddd 
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