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Internet Drug Game Could Save Lives and Money 401

Posted by Roblimo
from the modest-proposal-in-the-tradition-of-Jonathan-Swift dept.
The war on drugs is expensive, and, like most wars, deadly. But it looks like it isn't going to go away any time soon. With that as a given, why not let those who want to wage war on drugs do it in an online gaming environment? The cost of setting up the servers for "Drug Czar" would be lots less than the cost of all those street arrests, border interdictions, and air intercept missions in Peru and Colombia. And, best of all, no one would get hurt.

It could be a wonderful game, with shoot-em-up segments, sim-style strategy, morbid scenes of decayed inner-city neighborhoods, jut-jawed cops and Federal agents, droopy-drawered street drug vendors, and plenty of other colorful characters. Add in politicians, TV preachers, Colombian kingpins, middle-aged parents trying to keep their kids on the straight and narrow plus a bunch of furtive teenage drug experimenters, and you'd have roles in this MUD-variant for everyone who is interested in the drug war -- from either side.

Some players' roles would be predetermined. The U.S. government's drug policy chief would obviously get the Drug Czar role. George W. Bush would play the President. Congressmen, Senators, and agency heads could also mirror their real-life selves. A few taxpayers might whine about these officials getting paid to play games, but isn't the drug war nothing but a silly game anyway? And if it must be played, shouldn't it be played in a virtual environment where keeping a non-violent drug offender in prison doesn't cost taxpayers $20,000 or more per year, and lives aren't ruined or lost?

You can even argue that this game would be the most effective anti-drug policy the government could possibly have. If, indeed, video games have the potential to turn young people into killers, then hollow-faced, chronically sick game avatar junkies constantly searching for a high "by any means necessary" should steer plenty of kids onto the straight and narrow.

There are other drug-dealing games out there, but they don't have the scope, power, and visual ingenuity it will take to wean government drug warriors (not to mention people on the lucrative "dark side" of the fight) away from the non-virtual version. "Drug Czar" needs to be truly overwhelming, a game so vast that only the government can afford to produce it and make it freely available to players all over the world.

How much would all this cost to design and set up? $10 million? $20 million? Even a billion dollars would be a trifle compared to the cost of the offline version. And if it was an Open Source project (I'm sure SourceForge would be happy to host it, especially if the government kicked in a little pocket change to help with server maintenance), I'll bet volunteers from all over the world would help with development.

But remember, U.S.government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, so this isn't going to happen unless you write your elected representatives to tell them that you understand how much fun they are having with their war on drugs, and that you don't want want to take that pleasure away from them but would like them to stop playing it in real life and move it onto the Internet, where it would be less dangerous and more fun than the current version -- and probably at least as effective.

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Internet Drug Game Could Save Lives and Money

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  • At least RobLimo is trying to put a fresh perspective on the WoD. What can one say, really, about this situation. 90% of Slashdotters, as of now, are agreeing with his point of view but saying that it wasn't funny and didn't make the point strongly enough.

    Isn't it more interesting that we agree so deeply on the nature of the WoD: that it's hideously expensive yet entirely futile to the point where it's just a game.

    Slashdot is made up of people who understand the nature of systems. Programmers, developers, enthusiasts, adminstrators, scientists, math geeks. People who understand that, for example, adding a layer of control can only harm something like the internet, where laws are hopefully made mostly by nature (i.e., physics, the speed of light, the nature of silicon) and what we hope are good, inviolate protocols that allow natural evolution. We show, technically, how a road is beneficial infrastructure but how a gate is only limiting.

    For /. then to agree on the destructive, insane nature of the WoD is really saying something. To find that 90% of intelligent people agree is fairly remarkable. To find that they understand that they agree to the point where they would prefer another Perl vs Python article. And yet, we also agree ending or even changing the WoD is politically impossible - to the point where we find it irritating to even bring up the subject.

    If they can spend so much money, expend so much effort, imprison so many people, ruin so many lives, and even take on expendable casualties [yahoo.com] with "friendly fire", while the intelligentsia disagrees so strongly, what else can they do? And isn't this disconnect between the politicians and the intelligentsia incredibly dangerous?

    Well, I think this is in some ways a war of apathy. It's pointless to try to change the system and we, as sensible actors, are not going to waste our time trying. Fight 2/3rds of the population? Too hard for too little gain. At what point does that gain become enough for working more actively against the WoD to become sensible? As /.ers, we have all of the elements to demand political change: a community, the tools of the infrastructure, the power to wield them. When do we as a community have so much concern that we work to change things? What parts of the political brew that are not present now will cause this pot to boil over?

    Just a few thoughts on a Monday morning...

  • At least he's not Jon Katz.
  • You know, a couple of my friends took X one night and now they're dead... after being hit by a drunk driver. A tragedy that could have been averted, although probably not by a War on Drugs.

    And then there's my grandparents, who started smoking cigarettes after the ads on TV in the 50's and 60's told them that "Doctors say... it's okay!". Since the drugs they used were legal, they don't count, right? That's just bad luck?

    Of course, it also doesn't count when someone stacks up their car after having 'one for the road' because liquor companies are Doing The Right Thing and would never stoop to the ethically dubious lows of target-marketing to underage or high-risk ethnic market segments. The drugs you buy in the pretty glass bottles are okay. The nice men on TV tell you so.

    We send the wrong message, alright. We tell people that a couple of missionaries on a humanitarian flight are a small price to pay for American self-righteousness, and we tell the rest of the world that we can't even see past the end of our own nose when it comes to reconciling foreign policy with domestic 'issues'.

    Now, if we legalized and taxed the hell out of marijuana (in spite of the thousands and thousands of people that undoubtedly die of the munchies each year!), it could fund a hell of a lot of rehab clinics for monstrous problems like heroin addiction and alcoholism. There'd be a lot more money in the budget to fund stings on crackhouses and meth labs, reducing those problems (while methamphetamine, or dextro-amphetamine -- close enough for most addicts -- is legally available, meth heads are some of the most violently psychotic people I've ever come into contact with; legalization is not, by itself, an 'answer' to their behaviors). And hell, maybe some of it could get routed into the public schools (HA! Buy bigger guns for the War on Drugs!). But that would send the wrong message -- it might seem like America had become some bleeding-heart socialist hellhole like Holland or Canada. God knows, we wouldn't want their problems! (lower crime, better medical coverage, etc. etc.)

    And it's an all or nothing prospect, you know -- we can't just have a few legal drugs (nicotine, alcohol, prescription painkillers and tranquilizers) and make others illegal, can we? Marijuana, for example, was only criminalized after Prohibition's spectacular failure (hmmm, no lessons about human nature in *that* debacle), and then only due to bigots like Henry Anslinger decrying its tendency to cause upstanding white women to consort with Negroes. (Really.)

    I've seen plenty of people destroyed by drugs, most notably heroin and cocaine. My godfather was a physician with a coke habit -- he's dead now. I've taken plenty of drugs in my day, but I got bored when I realized that I was no longer experiencing anything particularly novel. I don't regret either starting or stopping my experimentations. And no, I don't like to smoke marijuana. But I'd love to see those who do help pay for remedies to some huge, pressing social problems, the same way that gas guzzlers do in Europe. Nothing personal, guys...

    And I do feel like puritanical fervor misses the point of maintaining a healthy society, something that the War on Drugs has failed utterly to contribute to. If you feel that stepping back from a 'whatever it takes' mentality to evaluate the human cost of this war is Wrong, then perhaps you should ask yourself how you'd feel if *your* wife and child had been caught in the crossfire of this little War. Dogma is not particularly useful in shaping effective social policies.

  • The drug war is only necessary to those who are profiting from it. What makes you think that mainstream drug use is any worse than mainstream alcohol use? If it's done responsibly, it's not a problem. Millions of people smoke pot and do other drugs in moderation and manage to hold down a job and have a normal family life. Sure, you hear about drug-related deaths and such all the time. The same goes for alcohol. We hear about alcohol-related deaths pretty much every day as well. In the end it is up to you whether you want to ingest the drugs. It shouldn't be the government's decision. I'd rather we use the billions we spend every year on the drug war for treatment (which would cost less and accomplish a LOT more) rather than to further errode our rights in this country. In 20 years, we haven't made a dent in the amount of drugs coming into this country, despite the untold billions we've given our government to do so. I think there are really only 2 possibilities. Either the government doesn't want to win the drug war, or it can't. Either way, it's time to try something new instead of continuing to toss our money down this black hole.

  • I want to be free to raise my children without having to have them exposed to drugs. Simple as that.

    So, if your son or daughter in the midst of plans to go to a good college, having maintained good grades through school makes a mistake and tries pot, you believe the best response is:

    Lock them up for 3 to 5 years in one of the most violent places in the U.S. today, treat them like little more than animals for that time, then release them with little or no prospects for getting a decent job or a good education (due to that felony conviction thing).

    THINK ABOUT THAT! Not the kid down the street, not those kids in L.A., YOUR kid!

    Perhaps you think the death penelty would be in order? (You did advocate much harsher laws, like Singapore).

    Before you say they won't get in that situation, think back. I'll bet you (like most of us) committed a youthful indiscretion or two. How would you enjoy having a felony prison record and massive stigma following you around as a result?

    Now, consider the number of high school students who are willing to admit to an adult that they tried some drug or another (seems to be 10 - 50% depending on the drug). Now make a guess (non-zero) on the percentage who have tried drugs but won't tell an adult about it.

    Now, remember, posession can be a wide ranging sort of thing. If a joint is found in your child's car, it doesn't matter that it fell out of someone else's pocket. It doesn't matter that your child didn't even know his/her friend used drugs. All that matters is that it was in YOUR CHILD's car, and YOUR CHILD is going to jail.

    Sound good?

    That's one of the problems with the war on drugs. It's too easy for one mis-adventure to turn one of "US" into one of "THEM".

  • Point me to some studies showing the medical benefits of drugs if you can. And not ones conducted by fronts for organisations like NORML which advocate making drugs available to everyone.

    Marijuana is of known value for glaucoma, and the severe nausia that chemotherapy can cause. It may also help with some forms of anorexia. When medical use of mrijuana was legalized in Ca. a number of doctors prescribed it for their patients. That is to say, that in their professional medical opinion, it was the best drug for their patients. Then, various people in the federal government who have no medical training whatsoever began hounding doctor and patient alike. Effectively, they practised medicine without a license and got away with it in the name of the war on drugs.

    I don't have any studies handy. They are somewhat scarce since the federal government considers fighting the war on drugs more important than scientifically determining if there is anything to fight about or not.

  • You can't believe everything an pro-drug organization tells you. It would be very rare, almost impossible, to get three years for a first time pot bust, even dealing where it should be first shot go to jail.

    Perhaps not. On the other hand, manditory sentencing is getting more severe every year, and the post I responded to advocated more severity still. Other factors would include proximity to election time, and socio-economic status.

    Also keep in mind that with the funny new math used by prosecutors and law enforcement, anything to do with drugs at all tends to somehow add up to dealing.

  • Of course you're supposed to use drugs -- if you're a slashdot editor. If government gets in the way of your drug habit, that's no better than them getting in the way of your porn habit or your addiction to other peoples' copyright work.

    Damn the cost. We need freedom, and we need it now. If that freedom destroys society, destroys the economy, or even destroys us it's a small price to pay!

    --

  • This, uh, "editorial" took me back, oh, all of two days ago as I watched crowds of dirty, disorganized hippies play drums while the powerful forces of capitalism and western politics gathered to insure that as the Global Economy proceeded, Nice Guys would continue to finish last.

    Keep in mind, Western Capitalism made it possible for us to have life so good, we have time to worry about people getting high! (Or time to go from protest to protest...)

    Instead of protesting the best thing the US has given to the world, maybe those kids should protest the worst thing the US has given to the world, the War on Drugs. I'd join them, and so would many Americans, judging from recent polls.

    Infact, it is the War on Drugs that has kept a stanglehold on the Mexican economy. It has done so by totally corrupting government at all levels. Capitalism can't work with corrupt governments (infact, many economists argue that governments that support uniform and effective enforcement of property and contract law is more necessary than free trade for economic improvement in developing countries.)

    Elsewhere in Latin Ameria, the War on Drugs supports the last serious guerilla war there by keeping the FARC in business. Drug money is replacing US/USSR covert military support.

    FREE TRADE should include FREE TRADE OF DRUGS.
  • Recent NIDA studies have shown the immense addictive potential of marijuana, as well as the long-term health risks through the highly carcinogenic makeup of marijuana. Studies showing damage to the serotinogenic systems in the brain have been carried out several times, and recent evidence links MDMA usage with long-term memory impairment. And these are what you call the softer drugs!

    On the other hand, alcohol and cigarettes which are legal are amongst the leading causes of death in the U.S. either directly (lung and liver related diseases) or indirectly (drunk driving and second hand smoke).

    True, but a) Prohibition didn't work, we tried it before and b) alcohol certainly has medical benefits if consumed in moderation. Drugs don't. I will admit that tobacco is evil however, but it is a necessary evil to many farmers.

    Point me to some studies showing the medical benefits of drugs if you can. And not ones conducted by fronts for organisations like NORML which advocate making drugs available to everyone.

  • by Kha0S (5753) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:43AM (#271767) Homepage

    No, the war on drugs is expensive because there's money to be made off of it by our nations politicians and their croneys. This nation has a habit of declaring "war" on the most mindless shit in order to drum up public support. Since drugs are an emotionaly charged topic they get draged up around election time every year.

    Are you really this paranoid about your Government? Whilst the X-Files was fairly enjoyable to watch, it has to be remembered that it was a work of fiction, and not a documentary on the secret workings of those in power.

    Drugs are an emotionally charged subject because they kill people. It's as simple as that. Guns are also an emotionally charged subject because they kill people.

    Fundamentaly the Drug problem represents a choice that this country must make. The people clamor for the government to "protect" them from this menace, but how?

    Quite simply by ensuring that sentances are tough enough to make people think twice. People like Rockerfeller tried, but various liberals have been attempting to thwart such valiant efforts, making the penalties disproportional to the crime.

    Singapore doesn't have hardly any drug use after all. So much for those that say harsh punishments don't work.

    In short, you must choose between your freedom as it currently exists, or a drug free society.

    I want to be free to raise my children without having to have them exposed to drugs. Simple as that.

  • "Fully seventy percent of convicted hard drug abusers (by "hard", I mean "harder than cannabis") are admitted Republicans or Libertarians. Therefore, conservatives have in essence declared war on themselves."

    You make this sound like it's a bad thing!

    --
  • the jury is still out if legalization of illegal drugs would result in a similar situation

    It was tried - Alcohol Prohibition was a Failure [cato.org] and currently, canabis prohibition IS a failure. No matter how you look at it, the current stigma and treatment of people who like to cut off flowers and smoke them is a crime again humanity and nature. Period. Consider what prohibition gets you: an ounce of pot is worth more than an ounce of GOLD!!! If that isn't an invitation to for criminal element to step in I don't know what is.
  • There was a /lot/ of culture around canabis - problem is a catch-22, any expression of it gets one ostracised, persecuted, shunned - and for no real good reason! It's a self perpetuating myth - you can't dispell all the falsehoods surrounding canabis because it's been make illegal for false reasons! Like, did you know that once upon a time, tomatoes or 'love apples' were considered poisonious to eat? It took someone to make a dramatic show out of eating one to convince people that it can be a valuable garden vegetable. This is even worse, not only do people constantly spread untruths about something they know nothing about (such as your referances to 'excess use of canabis' - too much alcohol can kill a person (and it's legal remember) but 'too much dope' has no such effect) but you can't demonstrate it's harmlessness cuz of the damn stupid persecution! I can remember a time when "Wildwood Weed" was played on the radio, but the former Rep. Gov. of California during the 60's put an end to all that hippy stuff. I also think when the US banned canabis they were not only giving Dupont artificial fibers a political/financial windfall, but were waging a culture war on the 'lazy Mexican' Marijuana image!
  • Let me get this straight.

    Cops killing and destroying the lives of innocent people (aka "asset forfeiture", see http://www.november.org/essay1.html [november.org] for some more along these lines), drug dealers killing each other and other innocent people, insane amounts of money corrupting government and law enforcement, is all justifiable "collateral damage" to prevent a relative handful of abusers from killing themselves?

    Oh, wait, I forgot. Since our justice system is so overburdened that it can't provide justice (and actually punish people who hurt/maim/kill other people, drunk drivers for example), we have to assume that it never would work even with the source of the overburden (nonviolent crimes being prosecuted with higher priority than typical murder and assault cases) removed.

    I really suspect this is a Troll, too bad it's moderated up as "insightful", given that it's SO un-insightful.

    All you have to do is look at our attempt to prohibit alcohol consumption for a beautiful example of what is wrong with "the War on Drugs". Deaths due to poisoned product and gang war, as well as corruption of all kinds, escalated amazingly during prohibition, and most of those factors faded out after re-legalization of alcohol. People who just wanted to provide a product and make money became legitimate businessmen, in a regulated industry. Deaths still occur due to alcohol, but they are a significantly smaller percentage of the population than during prohibition, and reforms to have mandatory sentencing for things like alcoholic manslaughter would do a lot more to keep us safe than mandatory sentencing for a pot smoker caught in his own home.

    The primary thing that was left over after the end of prohibition, unfortunately, was the money and corruption, and if you don't think that money helped buy prohibitions of other things to keep the money flowing to the mob and such, you're the one smoking something you shouldn't.

  • Hell, families are torn apart because Daddy's doing the college-age babysitter, but that doesn't mean we're going to make sex illegal any time soon.
  • That argument doesn't hold much weight, given that alcohol is more toxic to the brain than most other illegal drugs.

    Also, it's worth noting that "psychological addiction" is a ridiculous bogeyman brought forward to justify draconian measures against drugs that couldn't otherwise be demonized very effectively. Hell, I'm "psychologically addicted" to chocolate, and it certainly doesn't do my health much good to scarf down a whole pint of Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate ice cream in one sitting, but I haven't heard anyone screaming for the prohibition of that.

    Please get some clues (there are a number of excellent books on these topics, in particular "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do" by Peter McWilliams and "The Case for Legalizing Drugs" by Richard Lawrence Miller) before continuing to demonstrate your ignorance.

  • I'm curious about your definition of "prove", and what specific statistics you're talking about. I'm sure your familiar with the quote about "lies, damn lies, and statistics". Given that the data I've seen indicate that drug consumption overall (including ALL drugs like alcohol etc) is pretty independant of drug war efforts, I'm skeptical about your "statistics" that claim to "prove" anything.
  • Of course I can filter pot just like people filter tobacco, and suddently it's not so cancerous. Or I can bake pot into brownies and other interesting food, and not take any smoke into my lungs at all. THC is not cancer causing.
  • That's a societal issue, not a medical one. What's your point?
  • I think it has less to do with centuries of one drug over another, and more to do with centuries of recreational escape from reality. While there are particular differences from one to another, the overall drive to alter consciousness is not going to change any time soon. Personally, if I had the choice between a joint and a beer, legally, I'd pick the joint (or better yet, an equivalent I didn't have to smoke), because back when I was ignoring the law I found that the hangover from pot was a lot easier on my body than the one from alcohol (i.e. almost non existent aside from being a little fuzzy headed).

    I think that having learned how to handle one intoxicant (alcohol), you're pretty much ready to handle the others, as long as you have good information on how the effects differ, i.e. duration, symptoms, etc. Perhaps harder drugs or psychedelics need a different approach, but pot is ultimately very similar to alcohol overall.

  • Drugs are a problem. It's a simple as that.

    I keep seeing this. Are *drugs* really the problem, or is the combination of drugs and the American eternally juvenile sensibility the problem? Drugs in combination with the drug war, perhaps?

    I would like one person to actually articulate, without being insulting, without assuming that because a particular person is stupid and can't control his/her intake or know their limits that NONE of the rest of us can, what the "problem" is.

    My experience is that alcohol is significantly harder to manage sensibly than marijuana or LSD. My personal research indicates that heroin and cocaine have risks associated that I will not tolerate, but they aren't as bad (in the ways commonly described) as the scare-mongers would have us believe--the risks in particular that I can't abide are ones that aren't commonly discussed.

    Nonetheless, there were times in history where all these things were legal, and we have data to show that people were able to deal with their effects or can be left to pay the price for not dealing with them, so I don't see where the problem is.

  • An AC wrote: The vast majority of Americans have mature sensibility, the only groups that don't are the libertarians and a small group just a little left of reasonable.

    So *that's* why we have such magnificently mature entertainments as "Married with Children", "Survivor", and the Howard Stern Show: the libertarians are in control of everything! How silly of me to not notice that the constitution was actually being honored to the letter.

  • That was the point of saying "they also take the responsibility for managing those risks, and can't whine to the government to bail them out". The person who damages property or people by driving drunk should lose either their rights to drink or their rights to drive for some period that is commesurate with the damage done. If they kill someone, they should lose the relevant right permanently.

    It's worth noting that there are plenty of people who have the opportunity to make informed (or not) decisions about things that can impact you today--cars are probably one of the best examples; nothing stops other people with cars from harming you pretty seriously, aside from responsibility, either enforced through licensure or through penalties for being irresponsible.

    All of that said, I don't think that providing assistance to people who request help breaking addictions necessarily qualifies as the government bailing them out, unless they request it repeatedly (at which point, again, rights to participate in the activity that leads to their problem need to be curtailed).

    I think that this does the least to curtail any given person's freedom while they are able to exercise their freedom responsibly, and allows for means to deal appropriately with those who show they cannot exercise their freedom responsibly.

    There is no way that you can a priori force anyone to behave responsibly or in an informed way, and making substances illegal only guarantees that those who use them are LESS likely to be responsible people. If your friends want to break their nicotine addictions, then there should be means to assist them with that, but if they choose to start smoking again after that, then it's their problem to deal with. And if that addiction were significantly dangerous to others around them, then there should be a means to make certain they can't get back off the wagon or harm people while off the wagon (licensing to purchase controlled substances or licensing to do whatever that dangerous activity is; in the case of drunk driving licensing to drive is the easy and in-place means).

  • by elmegil (12001) on Monday April 23, 2001 @09:24AM (#271810) Homepage Journal
    Cars kill. Heavy machinery kills. Drugs kill.

    The point? The way to use anything is with full disclosure of all the known risks and what can be done to mitigate them. If you find the benefits (which can be completely intangible) worth the risk, and you made an informed choice to take that risk, then you should be allowed to make the choice. (It's also worth noting that you then take the responsibility for dealing with said risks, and shouldn't come whining to Daddy Government to help you if you get bitten).

    That said, the comparison to tobacco isn't very relevant, since the corporate powers that be have gone far out of their way to hide the risks. Any legalization effort should be made with the understanding that FULL information be provided about the substance in question, not just marketing crap.

  • by Jethro73 (14686) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:21AM (#271822)
    Dope Wars [dopewars.com]: The ultimate drug game. Buy and sell, make a profit. Nobody has to die (you can run from the police rather than shooting), and you can even play it on a Palm Pilot [cnet.com].

    Jethro
  • Suggesting that this is is a waste of time is tantamount to saying that these children should be taking drugs!

    Please explain this amazing leap of logic. If only I could believe this, I would be in favor of the drug war. But it's ridiculous, which is why I'm against it. Tolerance != Advocacy.


    ---
  • by CokeBear (16811) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:04AM (#271827) Journal
    Reminds me of the Star Trek episode where two planets are fighting a virtual war, and the "casualties" have to report to places to be neatly killed. Would this be the same idea? Would people killed in the game have to die?
  • by CokeBear (16811) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:08AM (#271828) Journal
    Really good implimentation of SlashCode, and really good stories about the drug war at SmokeDot [smokedot.org]
  • Nice Troll... I'll bite.

    The only thing I've been doing longer than going to AA & NA meetings is UNIX. After 10 years of watching people with various rates of success deal with addiction, I can honestly say that the war on drugs is the biggest piece of BS plaguing this country today.

    No amount of laws will stop addiction, no amount of police will change peoples behaviors. First of all, an addict doesn't care about the consequences too terribly much. Yeah, they don't want to go to jail, but that's more of a not getting caught issue, not doing drugs is not an option.

    One of the things that you first learn when dealing with addiction is that it is a disease and the drugs and alcohol are just a symtom of the problem. This disease is a spiritual, mental and physical one, which means you can't just take an antibiotic and be better, most people wind up addicted because of underlying emotional and mental issues which they haven't dealt with, most don't even know these issues exist. Recovering from addiction is more of a path of self discovery than simply keeping off the stuff.

    You essentially have to figure out how to replace the high of whatever your brand of poison was with something that is productive, be it a zen like balance in your life, your family and friends or a new hobby. Getting into a state of mind where these things are as good as drugs in your mind is really hard.

    Everyone I know who doesn't completely abstain from drugs b/c of addiction does drugs every now and then. My wife would rather smoke pot than drink a beer, as would most of our friends. The idea that more people will become addicted based on the availability of drugs is absurd, unless this country is full of people who are so unbalanced, emotionally and mentally that the second they try any drug they will become a bunch of junkies.

    The real problems in this country are the lack of strong social structures. You probably know everyone on Friends better than your neighbors, and that goes doubly so for their kids. Kids are expected to act like little adults (Zero tolerence and all), even though the essence of being a teenager is being able to make mistakes and fall back to a safe environment to learn from them.

    And why is it that we treat everyone like this? Cause we're all so busy chasing those short term goals, like the quarterly numbers, or we're working too damn hard cause our boss is chasing them. This society breeds addicts. It sets people up with the emotional and mental problems that will cause them to fall down that path.

    This country needs to look at long term goals. Think about the GDP in 10 years, what happens when our children are falling apart and dysfunctional cause we've instilled this whacked out sense of priorities and values. Even if you teach your kids differently, this is what society is putting in they're little minds.

    We need to treat addiction like a disease, rather than a character flaw. Ask anyone with experience in the area, professionally or otherwise (other than law enforcement maybe) will tell you that the issue needs to be treated as a disease not as criminal activity.

    Give the drug interdiction budget to the ATF. Regulate drugs like alcohol and tabacco are. After all these are drugs that are more addictive and physically damaging than most that are illegal. Provide for treatment centers and prevention programs for kids with the proceeds from sin taxes on the drugs. Americans are used to paying a lot for drugs, so the sin taxes could bring in enough cash to allow us to reduce taxes on other things.

    Continue with educating children about drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. Not that they will turn them into a bunch of addicts, but how they really affect people and how to deal with problems instead of covering them up with addiction.

    I don't know how we might change this country to make it less obsessed with short term productivity and more interested in long term goals, such as raising a generation who will not allow this country to fall in the manner Rome did. Otherwise we're teaching a generation to welcome the bread and circuses.

    We have to move from the self sufficient frontier attitude to that of a community, a society. Understand that in order to progress we must comprimise and cooperate, not banter around arguing why everyone should follow our holier than thou principles.

    Anyway... enough rambling... I don't have all the answers, but I must say that where this country is headed now is completely insane.... and I've dealt with my share of insanity. We must do something to stop this now... perhaps moving away from the war on drugs will make people less likely to give up freedom for security and get away from the us vs. them mentality that says only bad guys need to worry about laws that invade privacy.
  • by GC (19160)
    april 1st was 22 days ago matey.
  • This isn't even funny. Work on it.
  • It's funny that there have been so many replies to my post spelling out the evils of the drug war, and the benefits of drugs, and how I'm stupid for what I said.

    I'll say it again though, so people can understand: Rob's post shouldn't be a slashdot story. It certainly isn't 'news for nerds', it's editorializing at best, and isn't even a new idea at that (see the 'Cyberdiversion Movement' at Heat.net [heat.net]).

    I'm not going to jump into the holy war justifying or debunking the drug war or US policy narcotics, as so many here are eager to do. I will spell out what I think makes a good slashdot story though, and I don't think "Rob coming up with a nifty, half-joking idea" cuts it.

    Kevin Fox
    --
  • This is based on the premise that, given access to the information, people will gather that information and make an informed decision. I don't think that premise is accurate. I don't believe that it's valid to equate the availability of information with acquisition and understanding of that information, and I don't believe that the 'informed decision' model stands up to more complex issues like narcotic, neurological addiction. I have enough friends who state time and time again that they would like this cigarette to be their last, but they fail at quitting time and time again, and it's crap to say they fail because they're making an "informed decision."

    More to the point though (and to forestall the flames about totalitarian governments deciding what's best for the populace) my primary concern is when someone else is given the opportunity to make an informed decision about something that can impact me.

    They know that guns kill, and they buy them,though that gun can kill me. They know that driving drunk is dangerous, but they do it, even though they might hit me.

    Where's my informed decision-making ability?

    Kevin Fox
    --
  • by KFury (19522) on Monday April 23, 2001 @07:40AM (#271836) Homepage
    If that post were in a moderated environment it would be modded to -1 for troll. It's hardly worthy of a Slashdot story.

    If anything needs revamping it's the US Durg Schedules stating 'how bad' each drug is. This is a political document, fueling most of the problems in the drug war.

    While I'd agree that several items on the list need to be examined (marijuana for one) and several not on the list (tobacco) should be considered in an environment not tainted by politics or economics, I'm under no illusion that drugs like cocaine, heroin, and PCP are extremely dangerous, and should be kept out of the hands of children.

    Also, to everyone who's saying "Drugs kill? Funny, I'm still alive." Well, those that have died can't very well speak out, can they? It's the same game that big tobacco plays so well.

    Kevin Fox
    --
  • What's wrong with selfish and uncaring? I should have the right to be selfish and uncaring if I so desire, as long as I don't actively infringe on the rights of others. You want to give money to poor people? Go for it, it's your money. You want to help a junkie get off smack? More power to you. But don't require me to do anything. What's mine is mine. That includes my body. If I want to fuck up my life with drugs (not saying that I do), that's my choice to make.

  • Okay, I hate to do this, and I'm afraid of becomming a troll, but I'll take that chance.

    Your position is barely thought out, and you ignore one key fact: there is a serious drug problem in the United States and around the world. Okay great, you make a game. At best, this will distract people from the real problem at hand.

    Now, I disagree with how this "war" on drugs is being fought, but that doesn't mean that I don't think it has a noble, worthwhile end. Drugs are a problem. It's a simple as that. This game idea trivializes that fact into Cyberdemons being a problem on Phobos. Give me a break.

    You can even argue that this game would be the most effective anti-drug policy the government could possibly have. If, indeed, video games have the potential to turn young people into killers, then hollow-faced, chronically sick game avatar junkies constantly searching for a high "by any means necessary" should steer plenty of kids onto the straight and narrow.
    Umm, no.
    I don't think this position has any credence whatsoever. This position has been shown in a multitude of movies and other video games. <sarcasm>Haven't you noticed how most video game zombies appear to be high on something?</sarcasm> People know that drugs are bad for them. Ask anyone who smokes cigarettes, "Yeah, it's bad for me, but . . .". It's that "but" which makes all the difference. You can browbeat people with reasons not to do something, but the fact of the matter is that, with a single acceptable reason, or peer pressure, or a prior taste, that reason is meaningless to said person. Sometimes, the more you tell people not to do something, the more exciting and intriguing it becomes.

    I could rant on, and I have much more to say, but I think I've made my main point, so I'll stop and let this sink in.

    ---

  • It's no coincidence that the Left always resorts to personal attacks, smear tactics, and "digging up dirt" on their political adversaries. They can't win any other way.

    Three words: conservative talk radio.

    <sarcasm>
    I'm sure that such respectful, well-known conservative members of the media, such as Rush Limbaugh, have never stooped to character assassination. Why, it would be ridiculous to insinuate that their entire media empires are based off of namecalling and pigeonholing people into a nebulous, evil group known as "liberals" who can have their views safely dismissed as irrelevant for belonging to this group. They're just the nicest people who always stick to the issues and argue their points elloquently without rhetoric and blustering. In fact, they'd never stoop so low as to run comedy segments with people impersonating well-known Democrats and making fools of them.
    </sarcasm>

    Oh, and how about Attorney General John Ashcroft's [campaignwatch.org] character assassination attempts?

    You know, it's surprising to hear a conservative willing to call GWB's drug experimentation in 1972 "alleged" when it's clearly on record and to dismiss it as unimportant since it happened so long ago. Where was all this sympathy for experimentation when Bill Clinton admitted to trying pot in the height of the hippie era? You didn't see much sympathy from Democrats about Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct, about the Whitewater affair, or about his pot comment. Republicans were howling for blood. Oh, but now that a Republican is in office, they seem pretty quiet about his lying under oath [realchange.org], his stock fraud [motherjones.com], and his excessive seizure of private property [georgebush2000.com] for real estate profitteering [georgebush2000.com].

    What? You haven't heard about all this? Maybe the Left Wing just isn't as serious about muckraking as you say they are.

    There's a difference between personal attacks and revealing that a person has a history of corruption and bad leadership [georgebush2000.com]. Facts are facts. His record clearly shows [georgebush2000.com] that he is not the man to be leading the war on drugs. This info's all out there. It took me only about 15 minutes with Altavista to find this information. If this is all so clearly out there, why isn't the vast "Left Wing Mudslinging Conspiracy" promoting it more, like the Republicans did with Clinton's shady record?

    Your argument is false. Republican's have been far more prone to the use of lies and character assassination than Democrats for as far back as I can remember (the Reagan years).

  • No, it's not the only way. It's not best way. It's not even a good way. The democrats want to tell you how you can spend your money. They want to rob you to pay for their own agendas. Wouldn't you rather choose where the fruits of your labour go?

    If you believe that you should be making your decisions, instead of having politicans tell you how to live your life, then vote for a party who will let you decide how you want to spend your money and your time. Vote Libertarian.
    No thanks.

    I'd rather have someone informed, who has a better view of how things are (one beyond just their little circle of friends and family) making the important decisions that I can't trust my neighbors to make correctly. Thank you, but I'll keep drinking my local water thanks to the efforts of those who seek to keep people from deciding to dump poison in our rivers instead of choosing for themselves to save money.

    Liberatarianism is founded on one of two beliefs: (a) people are inherently good, sensible, and when given the opportunity will choose not harm one another; (b) let me do what I want and fuck everyone else. The first kind of people tend to grow up when they get in the real world and become Republicans or Democrats, depending on which issues of freedom are more important. The second kind of people are why we need lawmakers to protect the public with their own money.

    Anarchy/liberatarianism is counterproductive to the survival of the species. Get informed on global warming. That alone should be reason enough to see why letting people do what they want is a suicidal prospect for humanity and civilization. If you're in category B, then go live in the woods. Our collective needs are greater than yours.
  • I'm afraid that you are in dire need of a history lesson. The War on Drugs started in the Nixon years in 1972. It escalated during the Reagan years with the appointment of the Drug Czars, increased funding to the DEA, and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign. These are established, historical facts. This in not a "logical absurdity" as you put it. I remember all of this when I was growing up. I remember Reagan and Bush both taking very strong public stances against drugs. I saw the speeches on TV myself.

    Pro-drug sentiment has been highest among liberals, such as the Democrat, the Natrual Order, and the Green parties, and more centrist anti-government parties, such as the Liberatarians. Conservative parties, such as the Republican and Reform parties, and ultra-conservative parties, such as the (still living) Temperance party have very strong anti-drug statements.

    Conservatives are people who wish to preserve traditional values. These include pro-life stances, anti-drug stances, censorship of "indecent" material, "zero tolerance" crime policies, expanded law enforcement powers, etc. Some of these can be construed to be liberty constraining. Listen, I don't usually advocate this kind of thing because I disagree with their views, but I think you really need to look into the Liberatarian Party. They seem much more in line with your beliefs on freedom at all costs then the Republicans.
    One can't be both totalitarian and pro-freedom at the same time. It's one or the other.
    That's untrue. Not everything is either Black or White. Haven't you ever heard of shades of grey? If this person can believe simultaneously in a restrictive view of one policy issue and and a freedom-loving view of another policy issue, then who are you to tell them that they can't?

    I'm very pro-government when it comes to environmental issues, but very anti-government when it comes to copyright legislation. I'm pro-life yet I don't have a problem with cloning research/genetic manipulation and would like government to stay out of it. These are alternating views of desiring the government to place restrictions and desiring them not to place restrictions. It's not a matter of one or the other, black or white. I'm free to hold these views, and they are self-consistent. I am neither an anarchist nor a facist. I am, like 99% of America, somewhere in between.

    The problem is that you are missing the basic fact that Conservatism is not 100% pro-Freedom. The strong involvement of the Christian Coallition in the Republican party means that certain religious "hot-button" issues will continue to dominate their politics.

    Freedom is a glorious thing, but too much freedom is dangerous when taken to the extreme. Should people be free to murder someone who is inconvenient to them? Should people be free to take what they want and only pay for it if they feel like it? Should people be free to drive on whatever side of the road they want and under the influence of whatever drugs they want to take? Should people be free to dump toxic waste in a stream to avoid the cost of safely processing it? Should people be free to sexually molest children and sell images of it to other people, encouraging them to do the same?

    Our founding fathers certainly disagreed with some of these, and probably would disagree with the others (pollution and drunk driving) if they were an issue in their day and time. The Constitution grants the government the right to levy taxes, regulate interstate commerce, and draft soldiers for war -- all of which are freedom-restricting powers. I think you yourself need to do some critical thinking about the nature of freedom, the views of your adopted party, and the facts involved in each case.
    Of course, you may not be capable of critical thinking at all. Your slightly soft-headed thinking here (I apologize, but I must call a spade a spade) leads me to suspect that there's a liberal arts education somewhere in your past. That would explain it: You've never been taught to think rigorously, logically, and critically, so you end up believing whatever you're told.
    You can dismiss things which are a matter of public record and thump your chest about "thinking for yourself" all you want, but all you're really doing is deluding yourself to justify your chosen viewpoint. At some point, you have to accept what someone else says about something you've never proven to yourself, or you can't get anywhere in life. (Certainly, you couldn't get anywhere in physics and chemistry classes if you had to reprove everything yourself!) You seem to ignore the facts about the heavy involvement of conservatives in the War on Drugs that others place forward to continue your attack on liberals. In terms of mathematical proofs, you are changing the postulates to justify your theorem.

    Incidentally, a liberal arts major typically includes philosophy, literature, and psychology/sociology -- all of which requires one to research and critically analyze the actions, words, and minds of others. They also typically try to teach you to be open-minded to the beliefs of others and to not dismiss them as "soft-headed." You really should've gotten a better-rounded education if this is honestly your opinion of those classes. I know that they've been an enjoyable change of pace from the heavy math and programming curriculum that I'm taking.

    (Of course, this is all assuming that this isn't all some beautifully crafted and tenacious trolling. If so, you got me. Look at how much I typed!)
  • The Bush Administration has the will, the moral committment, and the popular support necessary to put an end to the "War on Drugs". You'll see this in action within a year.

    Actually, the War on Drugs is pretty popular with the public, particularly the blue-collar rural populace, which is a strong Republican voting block. Years of Reagan activity against drug use has taken root in the heart of conservative voters. Bush can't and won't end the War on Drugs. If he felt that it needed to be curtailed, he would do it quietly, like he has done for environmental programs under the EPA and Department of Interior in his new budget proposal. There's a lot of research, investigation, and enforcement programs that got cut that the public doesn't know about.

    (I spent about an hour watching CSPAN when they had a conference one day on all the environmental budget cuts. I found it ironic that he said that the restrictions on arsenic in drinking water needs more scientific research while cutting several departments responsible for that kind of research and the departments that would've tested the drinking water for toxin if the research did pan out.)

    Anyway, if he wanted to cut drug enforcement, he'd do it quietly. However, the Bush administration is taking a tough stance on "renewing" [cnn.com] the War on Drugs. You can also note that the Republican-lead Congress last year approved more than $1.3 billion to fight drug trade.

    Irrelevant. This Administration is not corrupt.

    I believe that have adequately responded to this in another post. If you wish to close your eyes to the truth [georgebush2000.com], that is your problem. George W. Bush has committed perjury and stock fraud. He has been responsible to the condemning of personal property that was later given over as lucrative real estate to the owner of the Texas Rangers. He has been rewarding Oil and Mining companies by rolling back government programs intended to protect our people from pollution and to protect our land for future generations. He has opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform measure, the best means of reducing corporate/union purchases of politicians, and supported another bill which institutionalizes soft money in a manner that allows wealthy individuals (Republican backers) to contribute millions while restricting unions (Democratic Party backers). He is attempting a huge tax cut intended to profit the richest 1% of our nation, and he has used previous existing tax holes to get out of millions in property taxes in Texas. Hah! People think this is the "moral" candidate.

    Bush comes from the same stock as the man who was up his neck in the Iran-Contra affair, who was responsible for the S&L scandals, and who has an even higher body count surrounding him than Bill Clinton. He and his brothers [motherjones.com] have gotten their power through illicit business deals and use of the Bush family name. They were born into wealth and have ridden a train of Bush family supporters into power. Certainly, if he wasn't a Bush, the Harken oil fiasco would've taken care of him a long time ago, and we'd never be hearing about him now.

    Open your eyes! The Bush administration promises to be the most corrupt in years. It's Teapot Dome all over again, with government kickbacks for oil all the way. The Bush budget cut is rife with budget slashes for everything that Oil, Gas, and Mining didn't like. Bush's past business dealing, and his dealing as a Texas governor shows that he will be more than willing to do what it takes to preserve his own interests and keep his family wealthy.
  • The "Drug War" is a creature of the Democratic Party, and always was, so let's skip the propaganda for once.

    Oh .. my .. God. This is so completely off-base that it's almost funny. Let's talk facts:

    • The "Drug War" is (and always has been) a conservative movement. It is being brought to you by the same fuddy-duddies that outlawed alcohol in the 1920s, that outlawed dancing in small Southern towns in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and that, and that seek to outlaw birth control today.

    • Fully seventy percent of convicted hard drug abusers (by "hard", I mean "harder than cannabis") are admitted Republicans or Libertarians. Therefore, conservatives have in essence declared war on themselves.

    • There is no greater threat to liberty and civil rights than conservatism. Look at the movements that are present in today's society. It is the conservatives that want to ban certain books they don't like (i.e., Harry Potter). It is the conservatives that want to make attendance at Christian churches compulsory for all United States citizens. It is the conservatives that are calling for the criminalization of abortion, feminism, Catholicism, etc.

    • It is therefore perfectly clear that the only way to ensure the liberty that so many of our descendents have given their lives to protect is to support those with strong, progressive social agendas. Beware of the so-called "moderate Democrats"; the "Democratic Leadership Council" is nothing of the kind. These people are nothing more than conservatives in sheep's clothing, and their hateful message is to be eschewed in favor of the more compassionate message of the Democratic Left.
    Your arguments have been completely decimated. Have a nice day.
  • Alcohol has several problems as a recreational drug that make users (or those who do not use it) want to seek other vehicles: 1) it tends to promote violent behavior 2) in large doses, it induces vomiting 3) it supresses the ability to self-judge (you may have heard "pot heads" use the phrase "but, I *know* I'm **cked up").

    Yes, we have the one "grandfathered" recreational drug (not counting nicotine because, while it's addictive as all get-out, the "recreational" part is almost unnoticable). We allow its use, and note that the one time we did not was the origin of organized crime in the US.
  • According to a friend who just got back from Europe, Belgium had just removed all laws pertaining to less than a certain (relatively large for personal use) ammount of the plant-based "soft drugs" (marajuanna and psychoactive mushrooms). It's still not legal to sell it or use it publicly, true, but there are nearby countries where these things are easy enough to get. Please correct me if he is wrong.

    My point was that if the US would do 3 things, we'd see a dramatic drop in violence related to drugs:

    1. Remove all laws pertaining to possesion of less than "commercial quantities" (e.g. enough for 1 month of moderate usage for 2 people).

    2. Free everyone in prison who has committed no other crime (before or during prison) than the possesion of scheduled drugs.

    3. Place restrictions on drug sales such that licensing and taxation were possible (taxation to go to important things like FDA funding and medical/psycological application testing). Things high on my list of limitations: age restrictions, large volumes, no sales to DUI convicts.

    Imagine a world were no one overdoses because their strung-out dealer thought grams were milligrams. Imagine a world were we did not train the next generation of criminals by putting drug users in prison with violent criminals. Imagine a world where people on chemotherapy would not be thrown in jail for growing herbal remedies that work better than any available medication (nothing calms nausea, increases appetite and dulls pain like marajuanna without serious side effects). Imagine a world with truely renewable sources of paper and particle-board that did not require deforestation.

    All the cries of "but, our children" won't help either. Children have easy access to illegal drugs (even more so than alcohol in my high school days) because there's a thriving black-market. We will never be able to stop a determined child from getting access to these chemicals. However, we can do a much better job of controling access by regulating, not eliminating, recreational access for responsible adults.

    Regulation is the key. You don't dam a river by stopping the water flow. You control the water flow. Same thing with the drug trade.

  • This is, as you point out, a bad situation. History shows us that prohibiting access to alcohol simply makes the problem worse.

    Drugs that cause problems cause more problems when they are illegal. Sad but true.
  • Yes, the War on Drugs is expensive, but that's because drugs are so addictive that people can't seem to stop taking them.

    The only danger is sending out the wrong message. Drugs kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Let's just get this clear: drugs kill. Drugs like alcohol kill every day. We don't make alcohol illegal (thus forcing the creation of a shadowy underworld and black market), we punish those who use it irresponsibly. Is alcohol addictive? Oh yeah! Just ask anyone who's gone through alcohol DTs....

    Now, what would happen if we implemented restrictions on drugs (turning your back and saying, "you can never do this" is hardly an effective restriction)? Well, look at the Netherlands. Look at Belgium.

    These are countries with a crime rate that make most 4-person midwest towns seem like downtown L.A. Why? Are these deeply moral people who cannot be tempted by the evils of marajuana and psychadelic mushrooms? Nope. They are simply, creating a legal vehicle for recreational drug use. What a shock. It turns out that the Netherlands (which has allowed Marajuana in "coffee shops" since the 70s) actually has a lower cocain and heroin addiction rate than the rest of Europe as well. After all, if you can get some recreational drugs legally, why would you go off and use something that makes you a criminal?

    The "advocating their use is little better than a killer" line is just a little too over-the-top. Advocating the use of ANY substance without appropriate warnings is irresponsible, but certainly not "little better than a killer".

    A friend of mine once suggested (not offered) that I try raw opium. He told me the risks, and I opted out. I think he's a heck of a lot better than a killer.
  • all of the statistics prove that the government's legal crack down on drugs has reduced drug consumption.

    Possibly, but the side effects are that those who do make use of drugs are more likely to abuse and binge on them, and those in the supply business are more likely to be thugs with machine guns.
    It's not as if the negative effects of prohibition aren't very well known.
  • The way the WoD goes on, drugs are a huge scourge on the face of humanity, but the last time I looked, even the most evil of drugs (crack) killed only a few thousand people in the entire USA

    Crack is also the sort of drug which you'd expect a prohibition enviroment to produce, i.e. the most concentrated form possible...
  • When you make a substance illegal, you affectively place all control of that substance into the hands of the black market. You introduce aldulterants, you raise the prices to levels which require stealing to afford.

    Also the people in the supply business are most likely to be those who don't care about any laws.

    You also make drug users feel alienated and so less likely to care if they violate societal mores.

    If supply is likely to be restricted you also encourage binge usage.
  • We need to immediately legalize weed, as it's far less destructive than alcohol or tobacco, and start working on serious education programs to kill the demand for hard drugs.

    You probably can't kill demand any more than you can uninvent something. The best you can do is reduce demand and encourage more responsible usage. Also note that tobacco should really be considered a "hard" drug.
  • I suggest you read the original that Rob refer to in the 'from' section. It was by the Jonathan Swift, who also wrote Gulliver's Travels, equally as savage a social satire in the day. It wasn't a kid's book then, it was a savaging of the social strata.

    At any rate you can read A Modest Proposal [utexas.edu] here.

    For those that cannot spare the time, the essay concerns his suggestion that, in 1729, when famine, overpopulation and poverty were in staggering proportion in Ireland, that the Irish eat their own children. The point being that the Irish had to do something about their problems, because the BRITISH certainly weren't going to help...
    ----

  • Nobody has ever published (that I know of) any statistics on the number of people killed as a direct result of WoD enforcement (Cops, Dealers, your mistaken guy on the freeway, the bad raids, etc), and indirectly (the pothead that gets stabbed doing his time) relative to the actual number of people that die because of drug consumption. The way the WoD goes on, drugs are a huge scourge on the face of humanity, but the last time I looked, even the most evil of drugs (crack) killed only a few thousand people in the entire USA (Pop ~ 300e6). (Pot has killed nobody, ever) (Deaths from driving under the influence excluded, alcohol IS legal, so this is indirectly condoned by the state). Cigarette deaths number in the hundreds of thousands.

    My point is this: Why is this such a international incident when I suspect this is a much more common occurance than you might expect?

    Freedom isn't without responisbility. That means responsibility for your own actions - in a truely free society, you should be allowed to destroy your own life just as you should be allowed to better it. If you want the state to run your life, then be up front with it rather than beating around the bush like the USA is doing - I'm sure you could more efficiently manage a prison or police state if you're up front about it.

    (for the sarcasm impared, you should have on your peril-sensitive sunglasses)

  • The United States and thousands of miles of coast line, most of which is totaly undefended. Substances move through our interior with virtualy no check on them.

    Excuse me? No check? [...] I live less than a half an hour away from the US/Mexican Border. I see firsthand this "virtually no check".
    Based on the effect that interdiction has on drug prices or based on the estimates of the amounts of drugs that slip through, "virtually no check" is a pretty reasonable way to put it.
  • Point me to some studies showing the medical benefits of drugs if you can. And not ones conducted by fronts for organisations like NORML which advocate making drugs available to everyone.

    Marijuana is of known value for glaucoma [...]
    And many therapists feel that MDMA, aka ecstasy, is a very valuable theraputic tool. Again, it's almost impossible to get permission to study these substances in the US unless you're on the "right" side.

    Given that taking a commercial airline flight is more dangerous than taking a tab of ecstasy (source: The Economist), it seems that health risks aren't the real issue. If you wanna make people healthier, ban twinkies.
  • And many therapists feel that MDMA, aka ecstasy, is a very valuable theraputic tool. Again, it's almost impossible to get permission to study these substances in the US unless you're on the "right" side.

    Oh, the original poster asked for studies. There are a bunch of them at the MAPS [maps.org] page on MDMA Research [maps.org]. There are a number demonstrating that it is a pretty safe drug, and others are underway to verify the anectotal evidence of theraputic use.

    This is not ironclad stuff yet, but it's a lot more sound than the science that backs those "nutritional supplements" that consume billions of dollars and a number of lives every year.
  • The only danger is sending out the wrong message. Drugs kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Now that you have that off your chest, maybe you can lean back in your chair, look at some facts, and think about things a little.

    The truth is that illegal recreational drugs, by and large, don't kill. The respected British newsmagazine The Economist [economist.com] estimates that a commercial airline flight is more likely to kill you than a hit of Ectasy is. The same goes for the most popular illegal recreational drug, marijuana. (Don't believe me? Get an almanac and compare drug usage statistics with drug death statistics.)

    Admittedly, some people do die from some street drugs. But many of them don't die from the drugs themselves; they die from poor-quality drugs or accidental overdosing, both mainly effects of the fact that the production is unregulated. The same thing regularly happens with alcohol in countries where it is illegal; some back-room brewer makes a mistake and fifty people are blind or dead. The solution isn't to ban alcohol; it's to regulate its production to make sure it's safe.

    And what about all the other drugs out there, the legal ones? It's a bit hypocritical to be telling kids "drugs are bad" when schools make money selling them caffeine and chocolate and the teachers are getting their nicotine fix in the staff lounge, right next to the government-provided coffee.

    Think these drugs aren't dangerous or addictive? Think again. Unlike marijuana and ecstacy, caffeine and nicotine both cause physical dependency and withdrawl symptoms when you try to quit. A quick MEDLINE search will show you far more emergency room incidents for caffeine overdoses than marijuana overdoses. And don't get me started on mouth, throat, and lung cancer rates.

    This, of course, says nothing about alcohol, which the majority of Americans use on a regular basis,and for which the body count, both direct and indirect, is orders of magnitude more than illegal recreational drugs. (Don't believe me? Again, take a look at your almanac.) Should we outlaw this too? We tried outlawing it before, and gave up because it didn't work. All it did was turn a lot of respectable, productive citizens into nominal criminals and channel vast sums of money into organized crime, who used it to build criminal empires and terrorize innocents. Gosh, doesn't that sound familiar?

    So if you wanna save lives, bravo. But spending billions of dollars to save the small number of people killed each year by street drugs? And "saving" them by putting them in prison for twenty-to-life? That's just silly. If saving lives is your goal, the time and money are better spent elsewhere.
  • This was a Star Trek episode. :)
  • I skimmed it quickly and my brain must have automatically filled in the word Jon Katz for the author slot. I must have forgotten to disble the paperclip.
  • rant() {

    You have travelled down the slippery slope to reach the conclusion that "the drug war is a waste of time" equals "children should be taking drugs".

    I for one, think that the war against drugs has been incredibly ineffective at its stated purpose (keeping people from using drugs) and incredibly effective at killing lots of people and generally being an economic drain. Billions of dollars are spent on the drug war, and the result is artifially raising the price of illegal drugs, and therefore creating periphery crime! (drug users/sellers commiting other crimes). I'd rather see a greater emphasis (more money spent) on educating people about the dangers of drugs and helping people who are addicted (rather then criminalizing them) then stopping drugs at the source. Even if the government could spend all its revenue collected from taxes on the drug war it would just have the effect of making it that much more profitable for the drug manufacturers/dealers and that much more desirable for rebellious individuals

    "The only danger is sending out the wrong message." I argue that people aren't getting the message now. My friends that use drugs truly aren't aware of the dangers. The immediate effects of using a drug like ecstasy aren't visible thus they don't seem to realize the consequences. The drug war has misfocused its efforts on keeping these drugs out of their hands and not at making these drugs undesirable.

    The problem is not "the drug war" but the way it is being waged.
    }

    Spyky
  • I completely agree with you, The US isn't a free country if you can't even decide for yourself if you want to poison your body.
    ---
  • Ok... appearently, an innocent bystander in the war on drugs was your sense of humor...

    I was making a (appearently lame) joke refering to the previous columbine/video game/movie post by Rob.

    You can watch all the violence you want, but if you have high regard for life, you're not going to take a life. If you DON'T have a high-regard for life, then taking a life will be easy.

    When I was in high school, there was a big witch-hunt on for kids that played Dungeons and Dragons, because a few kids got killed in the tunnels of MSU. I played D&D quite a bit, and never was I compelled to kill someone in a tunnel.

    No game or movie will teach you a regard for life, because by the time you are old enough to watch them, values and morals should already have a strong foundation...

  • by iceT (68610) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:10AM (#271891)
    Appearently, we need to create a video games and a movies about people NOT taking drugs, and we'll be all set.
  • He said: The United States and thousands of miles of coast line, most of which is totaly undefended. Substances move through our interior with virtualy no check on them

    And then you said: Excuse me? No check? Have you had your vehicle taken apart lately crossing the border just because they heard a report of a vehicle similar to yours that could have possibly been trafficing drugs? Do you cross a border patrol checkpoint on a daily basis where they check every car for... guess what? Drugs! (and illegal aliens). I don't know where you live, but I live less than a half an hour away from the US/Mexican Border. I see firsthand this "virtually no check".

    Perhaps if you had bothered to actually read the comment in question before firing off a kneejerk response, you'd realize that there are, in fact, no border patrol checkpoints in the INTERIOR of the US--those being at the border, of all places. If you read his comment again, perhaps you will find it to be quite insightful.

  • While am ethically in favor of legalization under the principle that it's my right to do what I wish with my own body, all of the statistics prove that the government's legal crack down on drugs has reduced drug consumption. In otherwords, while it is no solution, the war on drugs does appear to be reducing the roles of drug users.
  • I have two words in reaction to your first paragraph. Drive by.

    I don't have any illusions that depressed inner city neighborhoods were lovely gardens before "the drug war." They weren't war zones, though. Ultra-violent behavior, like drive by shootings, is about territory. That territory is largely guarded for drug distribution.

    It is true that members of minority groups were often not treated as full citizens in the past. I don't see how this justifies a general loss of rights. As I said in response to a similar post in this thread, why is it bad to infringe on the freedoms of minorities, but fine to do it EQUALLY?

    Let's have none of this false dichotomy nonsense. Law enforcement has never been so ABUSIVE to the general public, the majority.

    Please don't take the above as a dismissal of past (or even present) racism, but I simply will not lay down and surrender my rights because of past failures or because someone plays the race card.

    Let me also say that it is easy to sit here and judge past generations? mistakes, by today's standards. But let's face it, the "war on drugs" wouldn't seem so insurmountable if it weren't for single motherhood and divorce. And Communism was very seriously considered to be a threat to the American way of life. Remember that we were locked in a life-and-death struggle. Again, why should past failures to uphold freedoms justify abandoning them today?

    Some elements of the past were better, and some were worse. Should we take the existence of those that were worse as evidence that we should abandon those that were better?


  • So you are saying that the courts nullified the warrant element of the fourth amendment?

    Now, I am assuming that you are actually a cop, and not some subtle troll.

    I believe that you mean what you are saying, and that you are sincere in your work.

    Let me ask you, what to you do when people say no? If you are like the majority of your peers, you ask again. Most people say yes either because a. they think that you are going to hassle them more if they say no. or b. (and this is big) they don?t really think they can say no.

    When a cop asks ?Can I look in your car/house/bag/etc.? people often think the he is being POLITE by phrasing it as a question instead of a command. To illustrate, if you said ?Could you please put your hands behind you back?? and I said no, could (I said could, not would) I be charged with resisting? I think so. So, if you say ?Can I please come in your house?? how am I to know that saying no isn?t a crime too?

    Face it, it isn?t really okay with ANYONE if you throw all of their stuff out of their car on the side of the road. Let me put it to you a different way. Have you ever had someone stop you and ask you to sift through all of his personal belongings?

    I took some police training a while back. On of the lessons was on the escalation of force. The instructor defined the first level of force as ?presence.? He said, be in shape, in a clean, pressed uniform, with a shiny badge and shoes. Use a commanding voice, and you will rarely have to go to chemical irritants (level 2).

    Even if you make it very clear that it is okay to say no (which would put you in a disappearingly small minority.) you are probably saying something quite different with your body language.

    Let me frame this in a different light. If I was a person in authority and/or carrying a gun, and I asked your daughter to perform a sex act, and she said yes, how can that be wrong? ?Hey, you can say no, baby.?

    Both scenarios sound equally hollow to me.

    Anyway, if you pull me over and search my car, a judge is going to be involved. Before or after, it?s up to you. If after, be ready to defend you PC.


  • Of course the difference is that murder has a victim.

    You seem to believe (as I do) that a secondary effect of drug use is crime (that is, crime with victims, like burglary.)

    My question to you is: when has legislation EVER been effective at controlling secondary effects? EVER!?

    I would speculate that prohibition on drugs has caused as much secondary crime as legalization ever could. The "war on drugs" basically created gangs. It turned safe (if depressed) housing projects into battlefields.

    Money currently spent on interdiction, incarceration, and prosecution could be spent on treatment and education.

    What we have to face, if we ever want to improve this problem, is that the only way to make a difference is ON THE DEMAND SIDE. We can?t stop EVERY drug sale. EVERY smuggler. In the end laws and law enforcement is a waste of effort. The drug war can only be won in the hearts and minds of potential drug users.

    Now that I have said all of that, let me tell you how this affects me.

    I don?t use any illegal drugs. I never have. I don?t have any reason to lie about this.

    The reason that I care about this is freedom. Not the freedom to use drugs (which I think we have the right to, but as I said, this is not a right I choose to exercise) but more fundamental freedoms.

    Before the ?war on drugs? the police didn?t kick the doors of private citizens? doors in on a DAILY basis. There weren?t places (like airports) where simply by being there your gave up your freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. It wasn?t okay for law enforcement agencies to confiscate your property, liquidate it, and add that money to their treasuries WITHOUT DUE PROCESS.

    Ask your grandparents if, when they were your age, a police officer or sheriff?s deputy could pull you over, throw all your possessions in the street and still have his job the next day if he didn?t find anything.

    We are going down the road of trading freedom for safety. It seems we might end up with neither. Do you think the streets are safer than they were forty years ago?

    -Peter


  • Deaths From Drugs in the US
    • Tobacco ~400K deaths/year.
    • Alcohol ~100K/year, not including car accidents, maybe another 10-30K
    • Prescription Drugs ~20K - includes suicides, accidental deaths from recreational use, deaths from non-recreational use.
    • Caffeine [thinkgeek.com] ~5-10K/year - contributes to heart attacks, strokes, blood pressure. My personal favorite.
    • Cocaine ~2500/year (~1990 figures) - a major contributor is quality differences in street drugs, which can be blamed on the Drug War, and also bad synthetic cocaine relatives accounted for 1/3 in ~1990, again blamed on the War.
    • Heroin ~2000/year -Again, quality differences due to the War On Drugs are a major contributor to death rates, but additionally there are serious nutritional problems related to spending your money being a junkie. Since medical opiates cost Meth, PCP, etc. - ~700 in ~1990 - meth is probably higher today - partly a popularity thing, and partly it's a substitute for cocaine, which is overpriced due to the war on drugs.
    • LSD - Zero. The major health risk to LSD is well-intentioned bad treatment by medical personnel, primarily with Thorazine or other dangerously strong tranquilizers. LSD can occasionally lead to Confused Behavior, which has its dangers.
    • Marijuana - Zero. The stuff isn't toxic. You can't kill yourself by consuming mass quantities - it's been tried. Marijuana can lead to Stupid Behavior, which *can* be fatal, and can lead to Pizza Overdoses and similar bad health effects - but the appetite increase can be a major health benefit for people with cancer, AIDS, and some other diseases. Some research suggests that smoking burning marijuana leaves can cause lung damage, particularly cancer, just as tobacco does, but high-quality modern marijuana (the stuff that D.A.R.E. tells your parents is ten times as strong as the stuff Cheech & Chong smoked which your parents could never score any of) uses much smaller quantities of burning leaves, and since marijuana doesn't have the addictive properties of nicotine, it's *really* hard to smoke two packs a day. Also, lung damage can be reduced by using bongs instead of those little easily-hidden pipes (but the War On Drugs bans this harm-reduction technique) or by consuming your dope in brownies or tea.
    • Summary - 99% from legal drugs or misuse (possibly legal) of prescription drugs.

    Deaths from the War On Drugs:

    • Gunshots - Some high fraction of the 30000 US gunshot deaths are from the War On Drugs and Drug-War-funded gang activity.
    • Heterosexual AIDS - almost entirely transmitted through needle sharing or sex with partners who share needles. ~100-200K/year, entirely because the War On Drugs prevents most junkies from buying clean needles at the drugstore. (It's been shown that junkies with diabetes don't get AIDS - because they can use clean needles.) Some fraction of the homosexual AIDS epidemic is also drug-related, and enough heterosexuals have AIDS at this point that the drug can spread epidemically even without the needle-sharing that catalyzed it.
    • Bad/Variable Quality Street Drugs - as noted, this is a high fraction of the drug deaths.
    • Latin America murders and civil war deaths, from drug cartels, drug-funded rebel armies, and US-drug-war-funded government armies.
    • Lack of medical marijuana for cancer and other diseases where appetite is a problem.
    • Inadequate quantities of painkillers and substitution of inadequate or more dangerous painkillers for opiates, primarily morphine but sometimes also heroin. This is primarily a quality-of-life issue rather than a death-causing issue, but it's a serious problem for many elderly people, cancer patients, and people with other serious injuries or diseases. It's partially driven by medical concerns about avoiding addiction, but primarily by the political correctness enforced by government and medical standards bodies against the use of opiates.
    • Lives wasted in prison. Being in prison isn't as bad as being dead, but it's still slavery - and if you lose 10 years of your 70-80 behind bars, that's a major loss, affecting your family as well as you. Some US states do have the death penalty for selling large enough quantities of drugs (even marijuana), and some other countries like Singapore are much more enthusiastic about killing you for it. (The US Prison Growth Industry would rather have you as one of their customers than dead.)
    Deaths from legalization


    Then there's all the scary "but if drugs were legal, more people would use them and die" crap. If you look at government figures on death rates and numbers of users, it's 4-5 times safer to be a heroin user than a tobacco user, and about equally dangerous to be a heroin addict as a tobacco addict (the difference between the two figures is that most heroin and cocaine users are not addicts, just occasional users, while 95% of tobacco users are addicts.) Some people who aren't junkies or potheads would waste their lives that way if it were convenient and legal, just as some waste their lives as drunkards. On the other hand, most people would treat marijuana as an occasional drug to use, just as most people consume small quantities of alcohol but aren't frequent drunks. There would be some increased deaths from car accidents - the right way to deal with that is increased enforcement of driving-under-the-influence laws, and it's balanced by the reduction in shootings, drive-by and otherwise.

  • The point of the drug war is not to do anything with drugs. It is the largest bit of pork spending, ever. It is, at best, white trash wellfare, dumping jobs into the laps of american's under-educated white population, at the expense of a huge percentage (Nearly 50%.) of our black males.

    Here is a short list of companies/people profiting from the drug war:

    -All of the cops out there who are just worthless scum that like having a badge and a gun. Review the LAPD Rampart scandal for a good look. Also review the last 40 years of the Philadelphia police.
    - Gun manufacturers.
    - Ammunition manufacturers.
    - American car companies, who provide the police with vehicles.
    - Uniform companies (Police and prisoner.) and the textile/dye manufacturers that make the fabric for the uniforms.
    - Construction firms. Someone builds prisons.
    - Prison management firms. Very few prisons are run by the states anymore.
    - Prison guards, and the firms that contract them to the prisons.
    - Defense contractors, who sell items to the US armed forces to use attacking drug manufacturers in other nations.
    - Lawyers, mostly defense, as prosecution offices in the US are mostly so understaffed that even without drug cases they would still have more cases than they could handle.
    - The people who came up with DARE.

    The list goes on and on. Name an industry, they have a hand in the drug war. And like all companies, they have a list of politicians they have bought off. No politician would take much serious action against the drug war at a federal level, because he would likely not recieve further campaign funds from many of the companies that put him in office.

    If you really want to fight against the drug war, call your legislators and have them support campaign finance reform. Get the money out of the game, and there is no longer a need for the drug war.
  • How many families and lives are ruined by alcoholism? Millions. Should that that take away my right to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner?

    Prohibition DOES NOT WORK. If we want to end drug abuse, we need to do it by giving people better things to do. We need to give people better educations, and better jobs, so that they are less likely to be seduced into the shady world of cheap street drugs. We need to break down this culture of media and money addicts, seeking out designer drugs and cocaine as new forms of instant gratification.

    The drug war has been going on for decades. Drugs have come and gone, popularity rises and wanes, but prohibition does not, and has never worked. It did not work for alcohol, or pot, or crack. The only way to keep people off of drugs is to show them that there is a wonderful, caring society out there willing to help and embrace them, to employ them and enjoy them. Not to simply exploit them as resources in for our great corporations, bastions of capitalism, and then throw them away into prisons that make no attempt at rehabilitation.

    The drug war is a sick joke. It will never work.
  • Singapore has just as much drug use as most other nations. People just learn to hide it better in fear of beatings, and the government pretends that their harsh penalties work.
  • Well....

    A study was done in switzerland a couple of years back. They did a study on "what happens if we sell clean heroin to addicts at a price comparable to what it would be if it were legal (prohibition tends to greatly inflate prices), and gave them a safe place to use it".

    The study showed a great reduction in the crimes commited by this group of people. In fact, (I forget the number 60%-80% range) a huge reduction in the illicit activities (as gauged by the amount of money they were taking in from illicit activities) within a very short period of time.

    They were able to hold down jobs, and lead otherwise normal lives. All because they didn't have to pay overly inflated black market prices (where its cheaper per gram to buy gold than most drugs).

    Cig smokers are no less addicted than the worst heroin addicts (actually, by all accounts, its easier to quit heroin). Can't remember the last time I heard of someone being mugged so that a junkie could afford a pack of cigs.

    As far as I can see, legalizing (which is the same as decriminilizing, because if its not criminal, then its legal) and regulating seem to be wins for everyone. Wins for parents (since now the drug dealers are licensed buisnesses and can be controlled and stopped from selling to kids), a win for users (clean drugs at fair prices, no fear of arrest and jail time).

    The only people its not a win for are the prisons (they would lose a signifigant portion of their population, as the number of prisoners in jail for non-violent drug offences dwarfs all violent crimes) and the street level pushers, who would no longer have a profitable buisness.

    -Steve
  • While prisons themselves may not be very profitable, they are profitable to the people that they employ (corrections offciers). They are profitable for companies that sell supllies, and contract companies that BUILD prisons (or do any sort of upkeep work)

    Also, who runs the "jail store". I didn't know about this till a friend got arrested recently (underage girl lies about her age... need I say more?) this may vary by state but the inmates have to BUY soap, shampoo, razors etc. They can't bring their own, they have to bring money to buy them at the prison store! (this friend is in rhode island btw)

    So sure, running a prison costs money, but there are plenty of vultures willing to make a buck from it.

    But yea, firearms dealers selling guns to the police. Not to mention helicopters with infrared cameras (used to detect indoor pot growing setups based on heat emissions - check out the Frontline Episode on the war on marijuana to see them in use by police)

    Lots of people are profiting here. Not to mention police who participate in the DARE program. Sit around talking with kids about drugs (gee doesn't it seem like a DOCTOR would do a better job of that? Since when does becomming a cop require one to go through med school?) instead of doing real work - like catching theives, murderers, and rapists.

    -Steve
  • The only danger is sending out the wrong message. Drugs kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Yet another person who is venomously opposed to drugs without getting the facts. I don't know about LSD but I know for a fact that after decades of study the health risks of marijuana are still debatable and there are few if any documented fatalities related to marijuana abuse.

    The same goes for MDMA which is the primary ingredient of Ecstacy which has practically no ill after effects either in the short term or in the long term. Ecstacy is one place where regulation can help because the major problem with it is that most sellers cut it with harmful drugs to either enhance its effects or to short change buyers. Pure MDMA is thus hard to find so the Ecstacy consumed by most of the raver culture is actually more harmful than it has to be.

    On the other hand, alcohol and cigarettes which are legal are amongst the leading causes of death in the U.S. either directly (lung and liver related diseases) or indirectly (drunk driving and second hand smoke).

    Anyway, the War On Drugs is an acknowledged failure. As large a percentage of the U.S. population uses drugs [infoplease.com] as those in countries where the usage of certain drugs is not as frowned upon [frw.uva.nl]. The only successful thing about the war on drugs is that it has enabled the government to pass laws abridging due process (various seizure laws) and circumvent the 4th Ammendment [findlaw.com].

    This response is paraphrased from an earlier response on kuro5hin.

    PS: If you want to read insightful discussion on the War On Drugs, I suggest reading one of the following articles and a few of the comments posted, Why Drugs Should Be Illegal [kuro5hin.org] or More Cluelessness In The War On Drugs [kuro5hin.org].

    --
  • True, but a) Prohibition didn't work, we tried it before and b) alcohol certainly has medical benefits if consumed in moderation. Drugs don't. I will admit that tobacco is evil however, but it is a necessary evil to many farmers.

    Interesting arguments. You realize that the Prohibition is exactly like the War on Drugs with regards to the minor drugs like Ecstacy and Marijuana. Here are some [byo.com] articles [cato.org] about the war on drugs.

    I'll just mention the major similarities
    • Increased consumption of substance (currently a third of Americans have used Marijuana [infoplease.com])
    • Expenditure on substance increases because a.) demand for it is inelastic [google.com] and b.) it becomes more scarce.
    • Violent gang wars over illicit profits.
    • People criminalized for activity that harmed no one but themselves.
    Point me to some studies showing the medical benefits of drugs if you can. And not ones conducted by fronts for organisations like NORML which advocate making drugs available to everyone

    I didn't argue that drugs are medicinal. I just said they aren't as harmful as the government propaganda has lead people to believe and there are a few that are not as harmful as some of the stuff that is available legally.

    --
  • Police kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Pain releivers kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Automobiles kill, and anyone advocating their use is little better than a killer.

    Electricity kills, and anyone advocating it's use is little better than a killer.

    Life kills, and anyone advocating it is little better than a killer.

    Yup, no matter how you apply that argument it is dirt fucking stupid.

  • Hello Roblimo,

    Today is April 23, 2001. This article should have appeared on April 1, 2001. Please change the timestamp.


  • In short, you must choose between your freedom as it currently exists, or a drug free society.

    Actually, that's not really the choice either, because regardless of how the drug war is escalated, it still is not going to create a drug free society. The real choice is between having your freedom, or giving up your freedom for the warm and fuzzy feeling that you are "doing something" to stop illegal drugs.

    I'll take my freedom, thank you.

  • You've never met a crack baby have you?

    Poor example, I'm afraid. The "crack baby" scare is little more than a myth. A number of studies, most prominently one from last year out of the U. of Toronto, have found that "crack babies" are, in terms of intellect, statistically indistinguishable from other individuals in the same population. I have also read studies indicating that, while they start out distractable etc., they seem to grow out of it just fine when they hit adolescence.

    The best set of references on this that I have offhand is the bibliography off of this set of slides [24.113.25.116]. Some browsers don't like it, though.

  • I think the jury is still out if legalization of illegal drugs would result in a similar situation, or if legalization in other countries is a good indication of how legalization would work in the U.S. I do think that we should start working on this question, rather than consistantly ignore it. We should have more scientific studies on Schedule A drugs and their long-term effects, so that we can make decisions based on facts rather than politics and prejudices.
    It doesn't matter how "legalization would work" in the United States. If you care to have a legal system that is just and moral, then the appropriate question to ask is this: Is it morally permissable to punish consenting adults for using (insert your favorite mind-altering substance here)?

    I offer this humble (not original) proposal for deciding when it is OK to make something a crime. Find a victim. Oh, and the perpetrator and victim may not be the same person.

    Before you start to point at the children of addicts as victims, be ready to answer exactly how possessing or using drugs victimizes them directly. If your answer that it causes neglect or abuse, note that child neglect and abuse are already crimes. Also be ready to answer why it should be a crime for people with no children to use drugs.

    Disclaimer (and a little bit of a troll): I don't have this opinion because I want to be a pothead or junkie. My drug of choice is an occasional Guinness.

  • You've never met a crack baby have you? That's a victim right there.
    While it is not a slam-dunk, I think you can make a case that it should be illegal to knowingly use crack while pregnant. The same case could be made for overuse of alcohol leading to fetal alcohol syndrome. How does this apply to the general laws against drug use? How does this justify making crack use illegal for those people not pregnant?
    It is a crime for some meth head to get aggressive and assault me. And I'm a victim because you obviously have never had a physical altercation with someone on meth have you?
    The crime is assault, which is already illegal. How does this justify making meth use illegal for those folks who do not assault people?
    Give you a hint: you can hit some guys while coked out of their head with a bat in the face and it wont phase them.
    Here is a hint back at you. If a guy is wearing appropriate protective headgear, you can hit him in the face with a bat, and it won't faze him. Should protective headgear be illegal?
  • Unfortunatly, there is already legal precedent that goes against your logic. How exactly does speeding/driving without your lights on at night/driving without a license victimize anyone directly? It doesn't, however it's still illegal. It increases the chances of victimizing someone though, just like drugs.
    There are two answers for this.

    First, one can argue that public roads are provided by taxpayers, and so, driving behavior on the roads can be regulated by the representatives of those taxpayers, namely the government.

    Alernatively, one can appeal to the idea of criminal recklessness. If I am driving at 120 MPH down Main Street, then there is a clear and present danger that I will kill someone.

    Now one might be able to make the case that certain kinds of drug use fall into this category. A previous poster talked about folks on meth being dangerous. One might be able to argue that using meth in public, without taking precautions to keep yourself from killing someone, should be illegal. But that is not what drug prohibitionists try to argue. They just argue for making some drugs illegal all the time, not just to use, but even to possess.

  • Is it moral to make something illegal just to keep it away from kids? Maybe not. But I still can't quite swallow the Libertarian line of "If it doesn't hurt anyone but me, it's OK". I haven't really decided on the alternative, but that's OK - I don't make laws, I just vote on them.
    You have good points, and as a father, I worry about kids too.

    It is good and proper to keep drugs (including nicotine and alcohol) away from kids until they are old enough to make an adult choice as whether to use them. I have no problem whatsoever with laws that forbid selling drugs to minors.

    But is it moral to make something illegal just to keep it away from kids? I say not just maybe not, but absolutely not. Kids die in motorcycle accidents, from drowning in swimming pools, from poisoning from household products, in gun accidents, etc. Should all those things be made illegal because they can potentially harm children? I think not.

    I urge you to think through whether or not the "Libertarian line" is what ought to be practiced. As a voter, you share responsibility.

  • Are you purposely trying to miss my point?

    You brought up a person being high on coke being able to take a bat to the face without being fazed. I pointed out that there are other things that can make a person more resistant to trauma. We can argue whether a good helmet would protect against a bat swing, but that really isn't the point. The point is that wearing the helmet is not the crime. Assault is the crime. Taking coke is not the crime. Assault is the crime.

    No, I can't say I have been assaulted by someone on drugs. Does that mean I cannot reason about crime? If anything, being assaulted by someone on drugs would tend to make me more emotional about it, and less able to reach a valid conclusion.

    Why would you think I advocate gun control? For the same reason that possessing drugs should not be a crime, owning firearms should not be a crime. Advocating gun control would be absolutely inconsistent with my position on drugs.

  • Bear with me if I am not understanding...eventually things sink in past my thick skull.

    Drugs alter behavior. The altered state induces activities that the subject would not do under sobriety.
    Agreed, on both points. However, sober, drunk, or high, a person is responsible for his actions, and should be punished for crimes committed.
    Just the facts. Besides, I'm not emotional about it.
    I won't imply you are arguing from emotion, if you don't assume that I cannot reason about crime because I haven't been assaulted. If my experience is lacking, enlighten me.
    I just realize that A) I wouldnt have been assaulted by said coke-headed-fiend and B) if he would have assaulted me while being sober the blow I delivered to him (which I wouldnt have done if he was sober anyway) would have stopped him.

    So, yes there is a crime. But no, it is far from victimless because people suffer *MORE* if there are drugs involved.

    I don't argue that he might not have assaulted you if he had not used cocaine. However, the cocaine use was not the crime. (If he had not happened to cross your path, you would not have even known he had used cocaine.) Only because he committed a real crime, assault, did the cocaine use become an issue. He should be punished severely for the assault. If it was a particularly brutal assault, then he should be punished even more severely, whether the brutality was because he was high, or just because he was pissed that day.

    Perhaps cocaine also made the fiend more "fit" for assaulting people. So what? Carrying a gun, working out with weights, and becoming a martial arts master all also make someone more fit for carrying out a successful assault. Should those things be illegal? No, because they are not in themselves the crime. Assault is the crime.

    It is possible that a great many factors will make one suffer *more* from a crime. But if those factors in themselves do not create victims, then we are not justified in restricting them, whether they are guns, drugs, or weight training.

    As for gun control, your sentiments on drugs mirror many people I know who advocate gun control. Most people who use your drug argument say that owning a gun is only for killing, so it is not a victimless crime. Where as, using drugs is just for the high. Which is bullshit, how many homes get broken into or people mugged so some crack headed junky can get his next fix.
    Wow, you hang out with some addle-brained pro-gun-control folks. But then again, most of them are... ;-)

    I claim that a consistent position would be either pro-gun-control and for drug restriction, or pro-RKBA and against drug restriction. In the first case, one is claiming that restricting activities that do not have immediate victims is OK, if we think it might reduce some kind of crime. In the second case, one rejects restricting activities that do not have direct victims, whether that activity is gun ownership or drug use.

    So in a way, I claim your position is as inconsistent at that of the pro-drug gun-controllers.

    Do you live in Suburbia with white picket fences, and ever family having 2.3 kids?
    More or less. Does that keep me from having a brain?
  • You are right that I have very little experience with violence. I grew up in a small town, and now live in a very low-crime part of Kansas City. I can't do more than listen to accounts of folks less fortunate and try to understand as best I can.

    But that does not let me off the hook when it comes to making moral decisions, and whether to invoke the awesome force of law to impose our will on people is an extremely important moral decision. I'm sorry, but I can't just delegate my opinion to you because you have had experiences I have not.

    The bad things you describe can all arguably be made crimes, without creating any "victimless" crimes. The concept of "criminal recklessness" I brought up earlier would apply to meth labs near populated areas.

    It's a lot easier to argue about how something is a victimless crime when you dont see all the innocent people get shit on because of other peoples desire to have drugs.
    It's also easy to argue about having money/sex/fame being a victimless crime when you don't see all the innocent people get sh*t on because of other people's desire to have money/sex/fame.

    Should money, sex, and fame be illegal? People hurt innocent people for all kinds of reasons. Whatever the reason, hurting innocent people is a crime, and should be punished. But being a reason for crime does not make something itself a crime.

    I agree, all drugs can be bad to one degree or another, including alcohol and nicotine, and legal prescription medicines. Abusing drugs is stupid. But let's take your logic to its conclusion. You mention your own recent problems with alcohol. Perhaps I should be forbidden to have the 1 or 2 beers I have in an average month. After all, some people have severe alcohol problems, and cause untold misery of innocents. Are you for alcohol prohibition in addition to the drug prohibitions we have already?

  • by ruin (141833)

    When I saw the headline "Internet Drug Game Could Save Lives and Money," I thought to myself: How is Everquest gonna save anyone's life?

    --
  • Due to their capacity for critical thought, Engineers are almost invariably Libertarians, as that is the only logical and intellectually critical political philosophy presently in wide circulation.

    Well, I guess I'm just an anomaly then, like so many other people I know. Or maybe computer science isn't engineering, I don't know.

    Let me just get straight what you're saying. Libertarianism is the One True Philosophy, because it constantly claims to be more logical and intellectual than other philosophies. Also, the Blessed People, engineers, are more likely to follow the One True Philosophy, because of their more enlightened nature.

    I guess I can't argue against that, since I don't subscribe to libertarianism and therefore suffer from a reduced capacity for critical thought.

    On a side note, why is it that Ayn Rand's opposition to religion never seemed to eliminate religion's more slavish qualities in her ardent followers?


    --

  • I lived with 5 guys that took about 3 hits of E every weekend for a year. They were all the happiest bastards you ever saw, even when they weren't high. No mood swings at all. Anyone who's actually seen people on E will tell you the same thing. Firsthand information is a great thing, you should try getting it some time.

    Look, I didn't say that ecstasy immediately destroyed a person's mind and gave them chronic depression. Initial studies indicate ecstasy has a neurotoxic effect, and some people have observed long-term psychological damage (esp depression) resulting from heavy use. Even the most drug-happy [hippiesfromhell.org] source will at least mention this. [hippiesfromhell.org]

    I think if some of you anti-drug mouthpieces just tried taking some drugs a few times, you'd realize how much bullshit you're spouting, and why people who have actual firsthand experience with drugs and drug users laugh at your ignorance.

    Huh? I'm an anti-drug mouthpiece? I think the drug war is just another aspect of the class war, and that drug use should be decriminalized, and drug manufacture regulated. It wouldn't solve all our problems, but it might solve a couple of them.

    Every drug that you take into your body, whether legal or illegal, is going to have its positive effects and its side effects. Drug users may laugh about studies of drugs that show potential harmful side effects, but only because their experience is limited, and of an informal basis. It's hardly the same as conducting a rigorous scientific study of a drug. I drink, but I don't go around claiming that heavy alcohol use doesn't damage the liver, just because neither I nor my friends have ever experienced that.


    --

  • by ruin (141833) on Monday April 23, 2001 @08:26AM (#271974) Homepage
    The negative experiences with any drug seem to happen when people don't respect the drug's power and fail to take account of their 'set' (mental state) and 'setting' (physical environment). Dr. Shulgin's essays on his life, his relationships, and his experiences are truly beautiful and, unlike the anti-drug propaganda, actually true!

    Actually, the negative experiences with ecstasy come when after enough exposure to it, the body's regulation of its seratonin levels becomes disrupted. This results in profound depressions and other psychological disturbances. Oh, but one guy did some drugs once and wasn't negatively affected in any way he could discern. That must mean that anyone should be able to do drugs without any negative consequences, right? I'm sure any doctor who treats drug-related illnesses would be able to give you far more information. Oh, but that's just "propaganda."


    --

  • You can stop any crime by legalizing it. I honestly believe that the best way to tackle the war on homicide would be to legalize it.. Put strict taxes on all murder-for-hire operations and sell services at gun shops.

    One little difference, drug use doen't have a non-consenting victim.

    It doesn't matter whether that gang member is car-jacking me for money to buy dope from the street dealer or for money to buy dope from the neighborhood pharmacy--people under the influence of drugs are dangerous and stupid.

    So are people under the influence of alcohol. People get addicted to that stuff too. Have you ever been carjacked for money to buy alcohol or tobacco? No. It's so cheap and widely available that it would make more sense to simply beg/buy some at the store.

  • The war on drugs (at least in my mind) is the worst sort of self-perpetuating, interminable game.

    Roblimo's game metaphor adequately describes many of the absurdities of the drug war. But let's reflect for a moment. If the war on drugs is a game, who are the winners?

    - Short-sighted legislators who willingly swap constitutional liberties for "hard on crime" rhetorical jingoes such as "zero tolerance" and "mandatory minimums."

    - The increasingly privatized and profitable prison industry. In some states, new prisons are welcomed with open arms as "growth industries" requiring lucrative construction contracts and hundreds of jobs for correctional staff and support personnel.

    - The tabloid media, including such glossy shitrags as TIME magazine and superficial "in-depth" reporting shows like 20/20. Just think about how many hysterical articles/broadcasts these paragons of journalistic objectivity have devoted to perils of Ecstacy tainting the purity of our nation's red-blooded youth.

    Sincerely,
    Vergil
    Vergil Bushnell

  • Roblimo, think, if you had a daughter, and we stopped the war on drugs, as you would like to see happen. Now they are everywhere. Easy to get. All her friends do them, and despite you teaching her that they are bad for her, when she is 14 years old she cares about what her friends say, not what you say. She starts doing drugs with her friends, and they do them a lot since they are so easy to get. One night she gets high enough that she doesn't know what she is doing. She starts to have a seziure. Her friends are all high too, and they don't know what to do. They are afriad to take her to the hospital because they would get in big trouble and are in no position to drive. It doesn't matter because she is dead right there on the floor in her own vomit before they could have made it there.

    And you want to make scenes like this common by making it easy for kids to get drugs? I hate you.

    What you don't seem to understand is that although you were a lot smarter than most when you were in middle school, there are manny, manny kids that age who are much less intelligent. Young kids can NOT make the right decisions on their own. Thats why their parents need to keep them away from situations that could be bad for them by doing things like funding programs that make it hard for kids to get drugs.

    Someday, when you have middle school age kids who aren't as smart as you were at that age, you will look back on what you wrote and realize how short-sighted you were.

  • Thank you! This is the realization most people don't make: drugs are not bad, the drug trade is bad. I don't have any problems with smoking a little pot with my friends, but I do feel bad for supporting all the crime and violence that is associated with it. When I'm toking up with my friends it's almost impossible to believe that all this fuss could be over what amounts to some dried out leaves.

    -antipop
  • Well, alot of these folks are not Gamers. Heck GWB even got rid of Email from the Whitehouse because of the legal ramifications.

    So the only way to make this work is to make Gaming mandatory. You will put in 4 hours per day gaming. Maybe we could do it as doctors orders.

    Doctor: "Here's your prescription for 4 hours of Doom per day. Later on, we'll move you up to Quake"

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by Luminous (192747) on Monday April 23, 2001 @08:53AM (#272010) Journal
    The scary thing here is the drug war has a racial bias built into it which affects a lot more than a few people's lives. In fact, it could have very well decided who the President of the United States was. Some states (Florida) do not allow felons to vote, even after they have served their time. The drug war has been a war against black males, disenfranchising them for drug use, even after it was clear that drugs are addicting.

    I do not support the legalization of drugs as a whole. I laugh at the people who want to legalize marijauna on the basis hemp can be useful for other things. I don't laugh at medical research on the use of cannabis for pain relief and nausea relief. I do support the decriminalization of drugs though. We need to create a society that allows this problem to be dealt with straight on, with users able to come forward for help if they want it.

    We as a society are paying for this drug war in increased costs of running prisons, increased cost in emergency room visits by people taking poison instead of "USDA" certified drugs.

    I have to kind of agree with those conspiracy theorists who say that if we really wanted to end rampant drug use in this country we could, but it is politically beneficial to have a universal ethnic enemy (i.e. Drug Lords, crack dealers). I'm not that simple that I think it is completely a race issue, but I can't help wonder if tobacco was grown by Columbians instead of wealthy white Southern gentlemen, that that part of history would be different.

  • by NineNine (235196) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:47AM (#272051)
    Drugs kill

    Damn. I didn't know that. I should be dead by now.

  • by shyster (245228) <brackett@@@ufl...edu> on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:29AM (#272062) Homepage
    Don't legalize drugs, decriminalize drugs. Don't tax drugs, because anything taxed eventually finds its way to the black market.

    Not to say that taxed products aren't on the black market somewhere, but tell me which is easier? Finding a black market dealer to buy your carton of cigarettes/bottle of Jack Daniel's/tank of gasoline or just buy it at your local Qwik-E-Mart? Obviously the latter, which is why it's an effective solution. Tax the products heavily (since drugs don't cost that much to actually produce), but not so heavily as to make it unreasonable to purchase. Once there's a smaller profit margin in it, the drug dealers will be put out of business the old fashioned capitalist way. Then use the tax money for rehab and education programs.

  • What on Earth have you been smoking Roblimo? What makes you think that the War on Drugs is nothing more than a silly game? For the millions of people whose families have been torn apart through the destructive nature of drugs, trivializing their plight is hardly sensitive is it?

    How were these families "torn apart"? Is it because their loved one went to jail (a pretty common occurrence, considering half of the US's prisoners are in for drug-related charges)?
    Is it because they were killed in a drug-related crime (once again, all too common. Everything from robbing a store to get money for drugs, innocent bystander shootings, or gang rivalries could fall into here)?
    Or is it because they overdosed (surprisingly, not all that common relatively speaking. Especially on the softer drugs such as marijuana, which make up a large percentage of drug use, or Ecstacy, which the only "overdoses" reported so far are from heat exhaustion/dehydration from dancing too long or from other chemicals that purported to be Ecstacy. The harder drugs also cause less deaths than alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal and noone complains about tearing families apart.)?
    Drugs, in most cases, do not kill. Our nation's policies on drugs, however, do kill and cause side effects that leads to killings.

  • by the real jeezus (246969) on Monday April 23, 2001 @06:02AM (#272069)

    I blame the media.

    Virtually all anti-drug people I have ever had a conversation with will spout an endless litany of lies and half-truths. Most of this 'info' comes straight from the media and is parroted by its reporters/editors on a regular basis.

    Case in point: Ecstacy. Last summer a group of four people was arrested here (Gainesville,FL) for selling Ecstacy. The DEA said that the group dealt about 10,000 doses in town over the previous year. We have about 60,000 students and as many regular folks. Every article on the bust and resulting court cases used the phrase "the deadly drug Ecstacy" over and over. Near the end of the saga, towards the bottom of one article, was the total number of deaths in Alachua county due to Ecstacy or imposters: 0. Yep, nobody has died here from Ecstacy. Many people have died in other cities, but due only to imposter drugs--which didn't exist until after Ecstacy was banned--and from intentially overdosing, which people have been known to do on alcohol or their own prescriptions.

    Recently there were hearings in Washington on the "Ecstacy problem" (sounds like Germany early last century...). A couple of high-school kids gave patently false testimony about being caught in the grip and it being the worst drug, yada yada. What they said has nothing to do with reality. Sure, some people become psychologically addicted to the feeling, but these kids made it seem like crack, which the user has to score & use constantly. That is 100% impossible with Ecstacy. I've only done it twice, but have been in the company of people who, IMHO, abused the fuck out of it. Their experience was nothing even close to what the kids gave testimony to in Congress. For Congress to get a fair picture, they should have interviewed Dr. Alexander Shulgin, author of PIKHAL: A Chemical Love Story [amazon.com]. Dr. Shulgin synthesized Ecstacy and hundreds of other drugs and tested them in his home with close friends--all with very few negative experiences. The negative experiences with any drug seem to happen when people don't respect the drug's power and fail to take account of their 'set' (mental state) and 'setting' (physical environment). Dr. Shulgin's essays on his life, his relationships, and his experiences are truly beautiful and, unlike the anti-drug propaganda, actually true!

    You have been warned. The pols and the media are lying to you. Next time a bunch of thugs in body armor bust in to a home in your city armed with submachine guns and riot shotguns to bust the 'evil drug dealers', pay close attention. The cops always say that they have to out-arm the drug dealers, and the media concurs. Nevermind that the dealers are virtually always unarmed (except street-level crack dealers) and the media will report them as armed if any weapon is found, even locked up in the nightstand. When was the last time the cops got into a gun battle with dealers? Anywhere?

    The sole purpose of the media is to write outrageous stories that sell newspapers (sorry Dr. Wilson...).



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