When recreational drugs are legal...

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Bill Mattocks, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just to be clear, what you're presenting aren't facts. They're anecdotal accounts that represent a statistically very, very small percentage of people who are actively using illicit drugs. I in no way mean to trivialize the work that you do. It's important and I am sure that few people here, if any, can describe the damage that illicit use of drugs can do to a person, family or community. But even though the videos are undoubtedly true, the conclusions you draw from them aren't "facts." They're based on your own anecdotal experience. Again, to be clear, because I worry that this might be misunderstood. You are undoubtedly an expert on what happens when drugs are abused. You are also closer than probably anyone here to the day to day issues that surround them.

    The question isn't whether use of PCP, Meth, Heroin or Crack is damaging. Clearly, it is. They are dangerous, addictive drugs. The issue is that we couple marijuana use in with these dangerous drugs, which really wastes a lot of time and energy. We may as well declare caffeine a dangerous drug and skew the statistics even more. The people you are dealing with represent a small but significant and destructive portion of our population. The people you're referring to don't even represent a fraction of the people who actively use illicit drugs. The lion's share use either marijuana or are abusing prescription meds. If we're really intent on helping society, pick the low hanging fruit so that we can then focus on the relatively small number of people who are like the ones in the videos you posted.
     
  2. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    They most certainly are facts its not a huge representation of all users but PCP here that's happens several times a day and that's just what I know about I understand the small sample size in the point your making. I never said all drug users act that way but its a direct response to "its my body I'm not hurting anyone so legalize drugs".
    The problem with marijuana is that it is harmful it does cause permanent issues mostly mentally and not to the severity of other drugs but it is harmful and as it gets more and more powerful with designer strains we don't know the effects it will have. Marijuana thc content is creeping up to 40 and 50% potency which is so much greater then the 5 to 7% it was 15 to 20 years ago. We just don't know what is going to happen I would at least like to see more tests before I even considered making it legal.

     
  3. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    I have found myself wavering in the legalize/not legalize argument, and the points Ballen and the other Law officers make a good case for not legalizing these drugs. From the front line perspective on the fight against illegal drugs, what needs to be done or improved in fighting illegal drugs? With the Mexican drug cartels killing without hesitation or fear from American law enforcement, what does American law enforcement need to do to stop them?
     
  4. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Our criminal-justice methods have decreased the violence associated with drug crimes, and the United States remains a far safer place to live than countries with less commitment to law enforcement. According to the Unified Crime Reports, only 5 percent of all US murders are committed because of drug trafficking and manufacturing, whereas approximately 25 percent are because the murderer was under the influence.

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  5. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    For my UK friends, do you recall this?

    "Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well. And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the "legal" addicts."

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  6. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    And in regards to the whole "imagine the tax benefits" argument. How much tax money do we bring in from Alcohol in the US? But how much does alcohol cost us in societal ills? I doubt that we will see any net financial gain.

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  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    how much would a prohibition on alcohol cost us? theres no question that the war on pot is costing us a fortune.

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  8. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    If it's legal, strength would be regulated. But no one us suggesting that pot is healthy. It's a recreational drug. alcohol isn't health food, either.

    And the vid s are fact, but your conclusions are anecdotal opinions b based on a snapshot and experience that is out of sync with the actual amount of use. (and thats a fact,). :) Ionce again, if e are taking about illicit drug use, we are largely dealing with pot and abuse of pharmaceuticals.

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  9. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, some areas have the tobacco tax flow into the healthcare system.
    And the systems suffer monumental losses as more and more people quit smoking....

    The taxes on Alcohol are really high. Much higher than in most countries (I think the Scandinavian countries are pretty much the only ones in the western hemisphere who beat the US in taxes in that area) and while abuse of alcohol always makes the news, many more people settle for a couple of drinks in the evening with no ill effects. So the revenue would surpass the cost.
    Of course there is the exaggerated enforcement of the alcohol laws that eat up some of the profits....
     
  10. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    What are exaggerated enforcement?
     
  11. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    the kind that you get when you criminalize benign things.

    Please don't tell me there is not a good amount of resourced dedicated to combat 'under age drinking'.
    Especially when it targets groups that otherwise can legally drive a ton of steel on public roads with 4 or 7 people as passengers....while on the way to die in a war or the voting booth, you know, people who are otherwise considered 'adult'

    or the ATF officer hanging out at the liquor store...
     
  12. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    For those of you who support the continued criminalization of drugs, how do we win the drug war? What does that look like?
     
  13. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    People keep on tossing that out...the cost of the "war on pot". From a LT. in the army fighting that war, I can tell you that our battles against the stoner opponents in my area of operations are not costing us anymore than our campaigns against stop sign runners, shoplifters or public urination offenders.

    The tallying up of my hourly income, court costs and every cent to include the paper we print to book you is simply another silly attempt by the pot heads to frame the debate as some sort of money saving affair. Id wager my war on drugs tank that our expenses wouldn't change one iota if weed was legalazised at 0000 Zulu.

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  14. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    First to address a few questions posed to me specifically…

    I do not use anything other than alcohol. And since so many of you like to pop off about your personal experience and why it makes you “right”, let me enlighten you to the fact that I am a nurse. I’ve seen and treated addicts. But you don’t see me citing that as a basis for why I support the legalization of drugs. I also was in law enforcement in my youth and shared some of the same limited views that some of you presently have. It wasn’t until I got into healthcare and received more education and experience that my views changed. I suppose having an open mind helped in that regard. Contrary to others, I’ve been using logic, reason, and fact to support my position and not how I “feel” about the issue.

    You’d think that after 4+ decades of trying to put out a fire with gasoline that somebody would have figured out that not only does it not work, but it makes the problem even worse.

    Sure, the fire department has plenty of work and employs a lot more firemen. And those selling gasoline are making a killing; however, not only is the fire not extinguished but the damage is worse than it was than when you started.

    It is blind ignorance and tantamount to insanity to continue a failed policy. I’ve never disputed the harm excessive drug use has on a person and/or their family. I’ve only disputed the method in which the problem is addressed.

    Alcohol is legal and regulated; however, alcoholics still exist. They existed when it was illegal and they exist when it’s legal. The difference is that when it was illegal, there were more victims than just the addicts.

    The facts are out there to prove the War on Drugs is a failure. Many of these facts are the results of studies done by our own government! Yet, people ignore these facts so that they can feel good about themselves and feel morally superior. Well, while you crusade, people like Brian Terry become victims due to a failed policy. Do you feel good about that?

    Even when presented with these facts, supporters of the War on Drugs cite nothing but personal experience and limited personal perspective. Somehow thinking that they are the center of the universe and that their own unique and limited point of view should be the basis for how the rest of the world addresses the problem, in effect, adding fuel to the fire.

    They can’t actually cite any real evidence that the War on Drugs is working, because there is none. In fact, the very government that perpetuates the War on Drugs has evidence and has conducted studies that say otherwise. So instead, these supporters rely on how they feel about it. I’ve long held that emotion is the enemy of reason…

    There’s no denying that addiction is a problem, but addicts are overlooked along with their problems so that the self righteous can feel morally superior. Meanwhile, the addicts receive no help and those like the family of Brian Terry continue to suffer because of the collateral damage caused by a pointless, useless, and ineffective “War on Drugs”.

    There is no easy fix, but making drugs illegal and treating addicts as criminals instead of having an illness has not and does not work. I know that treating it as a healthcare issue instead of a criminal issue is a more valid approach and more accurately addresses the problem. Many have claimed to want to reduce drug use but are unwilling to change their support for the War on Drugs, even though it is an obvious failure and harmed more people in the process. It makes absolutely no sense.

    Even though “Prohibition” against alcohol proved many of my points many decades ago, for some reason many of you can not seem to see the correlation in regards to the “War on Drugs”. Countries that have legalized drugs, regulated drugs, and offer rehab for addicts have shown drastic decreases in crime, disease, and overall use thereby limiting and reducing the number of “victims”.

    I appreciate the idealists of the world, but the world does not exist in terms of black and white. In many circumstances, we can only hope to limit and reduce the damage. I understand that it’s human nature to want to control our environment, but without understanding that this is impossible we almost always cause more harm than good.

    FACTS: (And these aren’t from “some doc I don’t know”… many are the result of studies conducted by our own government as well as legitimate health care professionals)

    • Over $40 billion in tax payer money is spent annually yet drug use has not declined
    • The availability of illicit drugs has more than doubled in the last few decades
    • Illicit drugs are more potent and cheaper than they were 20 years ago
    • The government receives no tax revenue from the sell of illicit drugs
    • Gangs chief source of income comes from the sell of illicit drugs
    • Since the inception of the “War on Drugs”, the instances of drug overdose and ER drug episodes has steadily risen
    • Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, yet has few adverse side effects. No one has ever overdosed from using marijuana and the long term health issues from its use are fewer than that of alcohol.
    • Over 57% of addicts who want treatment receive none and are instead jailed.
    • Each $1 invested in treatment saves $7 in societal costs
    • Treatment is 10 times more effective at reducing use than imprisonment
    • Over 60% of federal prisoners are incarcerated over NON-VIOLENT drug offenses. The US has more prisoners per capita than any other nation. Yet we claim to be the most “free”.
    • More than 47,500 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico over the last 5 years.
    • 60% of the societal costs involved in illicit drug use are related to the associated black market crime related to the illegality of illicit drugs; only 30% of societal costs are related to the actual ingestion of illicit drugs.
    • A Harvard study showed that the legalization of illicit drugs would inject over $76 billion annually into the US economy. Subtract the $40 billion spent annually on the War on Drugs and that’s a net increase of over $100 billion
    • Studies show that treatment would be 23 times more effective than the current War on Drugs
    • Only 10-15% of heroin and about 30% of cocaine shipments are intercepted by law enforcement. Over 75% would have to be intercepted to have any real impact on trafficker’s profits.
    • According to the FBI in 2005, despite spending over $7 billion to arrest and prosecute over 800,000 people for marijuana offenses, 85% of all high school seniors reported that marijuana was “easy to obtain.”
    • The Global Commission on Drug Policy recently released a report stating that the 4 decades long War on Drugs campaign has not only failed, but made the problem worse

    And there’s much, much more out there… Those were just some highlights!!!

    You asked for answers. The Global Commission on Drug Policy suggests the following:

    • End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do not harm to others;
    • Encourage the experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs (especially cannabis) to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens;
    • Ensure that a variety of treatment modalities are available, including not just methadone and buprenorphine treatment, abut also the heroin-assisted treatment programs that have proven successful in many European countries and Canada;
    • Apply human rights and harm reduction principles and policies both to people who use drugs as well as those involved in the lower ends of illegal drug markets such as farmers, couriers and petty sellers;
    • Countries that continue to invest mostly in a law enforcement approach (despite the evidence) should focus their repression actions on violent organized crime and drug traffickers, in order to reduce the harms associated with the illicit drug market;
    • Offer a wide and easily accessible range of options for treatment and care for drug dependence, including substitution and heroin-assisted treatment, with special attention to those most at risk, including those in prisons and other custodial settings;
    • The United Nations system must provide leadership in the reform of global drug policy. This means promoting an effective approach based on evidence, supporting countries to develop drug policies that suit their context and meet their needs, and ensuring coherence among various UN agencies, policies and conventions.
     
  15. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    The FBI begs to differ... feh
     
  16. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Your post brings up something I've thought about a lot and I apologize in advance because it's one of those things that is going to be considered offensive by a lot of posters.

    How can we listen to anything a cop has to say when it comes to the drug war when so many cop jobs are tied to it's existance?

    There is a vested interest to believe all of the hype and keep the status quo because paychecks depend on it. The same can be said of teachers and soldiers and a whole bunch of other taxpayer funded employees. I don't think the average LEO is so cynical that they consciously support the drug war as a jobs program, but the conflict of interest certainly seems to grease the wheels toward a certain ideological conclusion.
     
  17. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Of 130 sworn officers in my PD, 5 of them are assigned to narcotics. Aside from the feds/DEA, most departments will go on business as usuall if pot were legalized overnight. We would be just as busy locking up all the robbers, rapists, domestic violence suspects as we always were. With all the legalized dope I'd wager we would be busier than ever.

    How can we believe anything we hear from drug users and people with a television conception of law enforcement? Perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to discuss the topic either.

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  18. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    Forget how many are employed in the narcotics unit, that is irrelevent. How much money does your entire department recieve in federal dollers from the "War on Drugs?" That would be a more appropriate answer to his question.
     
  19. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Hardly any...we get some asset forfeiture money but that cant be spent on positions, wages or benefits, only equipment and training. I drive a Ford minivan with all the assest we bring in. Lol.

    Federal grant money to my PD strictly for dope? Nada. We have one detective on the DEA task force and they provide him with 6 hrs a week OT. Most federal funds are designed to fund gear and OT on initiatives like DWI checkpoints. 99% of it is directed at terrorism these days.

    Of course what metro pds like NYC or State/County coppers are getting I don't know.

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  20. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    I did some digging... and found this:

    John Lovell, a lobbyist for the police unions in California, recently bid to steer some $2.2 million dollars into a “Marijuana Suppression Program.” In 2009 and 2010. California police unions sought a $7,537,389 chunk of Federal money for police to conduct a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.

    The total amount awarded was $550,000, to be split between Shasta, Siskiyou and Tehama counties, which make up the Northern California Marijuana Eradication Team (NorCal-MET). Broken down in the agenda worksheet, the sheriff’s office is expecting to spend $20,000 on flight operations, $94,895 for the full-time deputy’s salary and benefits, $16,788 for the administration assistant salary and benefits and $29,983 to cover up to 666.29 hours of overtime.123
     

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