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The Anti-Dobbs: Winning the War Within Through Drug Legalization

[As part of a series of programs on the drug issue by the CNN show Lou Dobbs Tonight, populist broadcaster Lou Dobbs this week penned an editorial titled "The War Within, Killing Ourselves" -- a piece he concludes by demanding the nation commit to "victory" in the drug war. But informed observers of drug policy understand this to be an unachievable utopian fantasy based on flawed premises. David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org, has written a response to Dobbs' piece that is modeled after it, paragraph by paragraph, but which tells the real deal.)]

WASHINGTON (Drug War Chronicle) -- We're fighting a war that is inflicting even greater casualties than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and which over time has cost as much money. We're losing the War on Drugs. Actually, we've had it all wrong from the beginning.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/dobbs-editorial.jpg
Lou Dobbs on the drug war -- he just doesn't get it.
That we can't win the drug war is a truth you won't hear from John Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, who spent last week trumpeting the Bush administration's anti-drug policies. He claims these policies have led to a decline in drug abuse and improvements in our physical and mental health.

While Walters focused on a marginal decline in casual drug use, he made no mention of the shocking rise in drug overdoses. According to CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week reported unintentional drug overdoses nearly doubled over the course of five years, rising from 11,155 in 1999 to 19,838 in 2004. Fatal drug overdoses in teenagers and young adults soared 113 percent." Hundreds of heroin users died last year when a batch of heroin laced with the powerful synthetic opiate fentanyl worked its way through several major cities.

If drugs were legal, users would be less likely to overdose, because instead of buying drugs on the street, where purity can fluctuate wildly and the batch one obtains might be adulterated, they would get them from licensed, regulated distributors and manufacturers and would know what they were getting. It's not surprising that people like Walters or Dobbs wouldn't like such ideas. But short of ending prohibition, lives could be saved even now by making the overdose antidote naloxone widely available. Tragically, drug czar Walters has opposed even that.

Obviously, John Walters and Lou Dobbs aren't facing reality. There is simply no excuse for causing the destruction of so many young lives through these counterproductive prohibition laws.

How can anyone rationalize the fact that the United States, with only 4 percent of the world's population, holds 20 percent of the world's prisoners? More than half a million of our incarcerated are there for nonviolent drug offenses.

Drug prohibition was enacted 93 years ago, long before former President Richard Nixon called drugs "public enemy number one" and pushed through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Since then the government has waged a century-long war of aggression on its own people, but a futile one. Though supply-side enforcement strategies seek to discourage use by making drugs less available and therefore more expensive, measures of drugs' availability have gone in the wrong direction: Heroin, for example, sold for $329 per gram in 1981 but $60 per gram in 2003. Cocaine prices have dropped to a similar degree.

As Dobbs has pointed out, "more than two million inmates in our nation's prisons meet the clinical criteria for drug or alcohol dependence, and yet fewer than one-fifth of these offenders receive any kind of treatment" even though "studies show successful treatment cuts drug abuse in half, reduces criminal activity by as much 80 percent." Too bad we use up valuable treatment slots on people who aren't really addicted but get "referred" to treatment programs by the criminal justice system anyway, many of them mere casual users of marijuana.

In the midst of the global war on terror along with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, illicit narcotics trafficking made possible by global drug prohibition is giving aid to our enemies through the easy, unregulated profits it makes available to them. We must repeal these abusive, self-destructive drug laws, while providing positive alternatives for youth, successful treatment for Americans struggling to beat addictions, and harm reduction programs like syringe exchange for those who are not yet ready to quit drugs.

Whatever course we follow in prosecuting other wars, we must commit ourselves as members of this great society to only one option in the War on Drugs -- victory through legalization.

Though Lou Dobbs calls legalization "ridiculous," the opinions expressed in this commentary are shared by many of the most thoughtful and respected people throughout the world including judges, attorneys general and heads of state.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Low Society?

Great society, Dave? You're drunk, right! It's a fucking black hole!

Prohibition only serves

Prohibition only serves those who profit from it not those it pretends to Protect. Enjoy Cannabis

lou dobbs

so, did you send this to lou dobbs?
is he going to respond?
i kinda like some of the stuff he comes up with, but, obviously, he hasn't done any research on marijuana prohibition

marijuana prohibition/ lou dobbs

does lou dobb`s know that you can tell a tree by its fruit? the fruit`s of the "drug war" tree are CRIME,CORRUPTION, VIOLENCE and DEATH . reality ain`t a show on tv.

The War on "Foreign" Drugs.

It's a war on non-american drugs! They'd sooner you kill yourself with booze 'n tobacco than have a good time playing with a safe foreign drug like marijuana.

World War

The War on Drugs Is truly a World War.
There are no good wars or bad peace, Benjamin Franklin.

Ideology!

Let's call it by its real name- the "global drugs witch-hunt"! The same superstitious shit-ideology powers this crap today, just as it did back then.
The Salem thing was localised; this stinking shit seeps into every nook and cranny on the the planet.

Bravo--I second your motion!

Drug warring morons should be jailed and their property confiscated. I think a lot of them are real section 8's! so looney bins would suffice!

Not "foreign" drugs

A large portion of the cannabis used in the US is grown in the US. But cannabis doesn't have lobbyists; alcohol and tobacco sure do.

At this point, though, I think cannabis possession is still illegal in the US because of bureaucratic inertia. It would be much harder to justify our huge police budgets if cannabis possession were legalized, because 80% of illegal drug users would no longer be illegal.

David Dunn's picture

Lou Dobbs & the War on Drugs

The War on Drugs creates the market for the sale of illicit drugs. "Loretta Napoleoni, an expert on terrorist financing, says the largest source of terrorists' income is the illicit drug trade." http://www.cfr.org/publication/10356/#2

Lou Dobbs is just another media lackey supporting the funding of terrorists. He is a defender of the Bush administration's failed War on Drugs and failed Iraqi war.

Big money and banks profit extensively when $1 to $1.5 trillion gets laundered through them. Being the lackey he is, why should anyone be surprised that he opposes legalization?

"The explosion of money laundering offers a glimpse of the total size of the world’s illicit economy. Money laundering has grown at least tenfold since 1990, reaching $1 to $1.5 trillion today [2005]." http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3270

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

- Thomas Jefferson

“Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

George Washington – 1794

Drug Warriors, their embarrassing ignorance, and shameless arrog

Drug warriors, prohibitionists, and especially the likes of Dobbs, O'reilly, and Limbaugh would be truly embarrassed of their ignorance and arrogance if they would take but 20 minutes to briefly scan the first five pages of "drug war" on the google searchbar. You won't find a kind word for their insane drug war anywhere near the first 1000 pages or so! And for such brain-washed, authoritarian, and pedantic pundits-- it might not be bad to spend more time researching the evil history of the drug war they ceaselessly extoll despite it's insanity, futility, and immorality. How can they be so very stupid?? Don't they care about what they are so passionately misguided about? Take 20 or 30 minutes you drug warring morons and do the googlesearch and lose the cement in your brains!

Prohibition!

Prohibition thrives on ignorance!!! Wise up, out there!!! With the net, there's no excuse!!!

Make War!

What we need is a global war on stupidity. . .'you listening George!

Yeah!

Right on! Make stupidity illegal!

More fitting. . . .

The "War on Drugs" is a tragedy. Prohibition is one big lie. Its supporters are criminals. Those fucks never pay! Damn their eyes!

LIGHT UP AND LIGHTEN UP LOUIE

DOBBS DUDE,

I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU MOSTLY. YOU NEED TO GET ONE OF YOUR JR. ADMIN. ASSISTANTS (WHO ARE PROBABLY ALL CLOSET TOKERS) ROLL YOU A FAT ONE. GO HOME TO YOUR DEN, PUT ON SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE TUNES, (WAGNER, RAY CONNIF SINGERS, HENRY MANCINI?) AND BURN THAT GREEN STINKY STUFF DOWN. THIS MY FRIEND WILL NOT ONLY MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON, BUT PERHAPS MORE INSIGHTFUL. THIS INSIGHTFUL STUFF IS ALWAYS GOOD FOR A PUNDIT. VICODINS MIGHT HAVE MADE RUSH DEAF BUT OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T MAKE HIM A NICER PERSON. SO.. GIVE RUSH A RING, HAVE HIM COME OVER AND SHARE...

YOU'LL BOTH BE BETTER PEOPLE FOR IT.

UNCLE BUSTER

Good Weed

I can score good weed anytime, and great weed sometimes, if there was no prohibition I'd be smoking great weed all the time. Those cunts $£%£"!

Prohibition

You don't need to be a constitutional authority to figure out that this drug prohibition era has the same flaws as the alcohol prohibition era. Making something criminal simply because of a potential for abuse results in otherwise law-abiding productive citizens, their families and friends, having their lives destroyed by the oxymoronic "criminal justice" system. If they don't have the social/political/financial wherewithal to circumvent the charges, that is. As a criminal defense attorney, I see it regularly; the poorest and most debilitated of our citizens suffer most. I have never represented a person accused of using or possessing marijuana who could rely on "I didn't inhale" as a defense. If convicted of a felony drug charge, the accused loses his/her right to vote, to bear arms, and to benefit from certain federal programs (like student loans). Those in the best position to comment on, or criticize, this "drug war" are thus deprived of their voices. Follow the money; it is not bureaucratic inertia that is to blame. It is the money to be made in this misbegotten war--by the corrections industry, the drug treatment industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the black market volume dealers, and our politicians--that keeps prohibition alive.

Anonymous

marijuana a foreign drug?

your wrong marijuana is grown here dumbass

Leave us alone.

I could care less if there was or wasn't and legislation that says we can burn our green. All i want is an end to the persecution and quit trying to tell us what we can and can't do. We dont hire people to pull you over and harass you for being a pompus prick, but you go ahead living that way don't you? If its our home, our time, then its our fucking choice. I know people who have gotten busted for crumbs of weed. I also know someone who was molested by her dad for 10 years, and when she finally got the courage to prosecute, the case was dismissed because the prosecution took too long. In the same system there were multiple small possession charges that went smoothly. Does anybody else see a problem with this "JUSTICE" system?

Wrong!

You're just plain ignorant. Marijuana is an asian plant. Get googling, for fuck's sake!

Opium

the poppy plant comes from Afganastan, big money maker for them, I say legalize Marijuana for chronic pain so we can stop taking harmful drugs. We could and some probably do grow their own in the U S and I say this is great i feel this would be safer for those who have chronic pain like M S I heard and read a talk show host uses it for M S pain, and I have tryed over 30 narcotics for pain the past five yrs after a moron Dr used a drug off label on me and disabled me and others , and the FDA lets this bull go so I say go for it I hope they legalize M, thre will be less crime with it because I think those who use it legally need to prove they need it, and so what if they do not it cannot be as bad as mixing methadone and Oxicontin and dying from it .I just hope all do not mix their drugs and alocohol, I SAY BE SAFE LEGALIZE M AND DO AWAY WITH POISON PHARMACY DRUGS THIS SHOULD HELP KEEP THE FDA AND DRUG CO FROM MAKING SUCH BIG BUCKS. THEY WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SELL THEM AND HARM AND DISABLE PATIENTS

Marijuana

Marijuana may have originated in asia, but humanity originated in africa, it doesnt matter. Marijuana has grown in almost all geographic locations for hundreds if not thoudans of years. George Washington encouraged americans to use and grow the "indian hemp seed". The feds don't care where a drug comes from as much as who uses it. Alcohol is used by evreyone, while weed is considered (erroneously) to be popular only with the counter coulture, the natural enemy of any government. But marijuana hasnt been a foreign drug in so long that it totaly an american drug. It belongs to the whole world.

"It's hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

prove the drug war is winnable

Challenge your elected reps and those up for a vote:

Q: "Please prove the drug war is winnable"

A: "I cannot do that"

Q: I can prove the drug war is unwinnable. Most prisons have drugs in them. The only ones are the really draconian ones. If you cannot keep drugs out of a prision without draconian measures, how can you keep them out of a free society, without turning it into a draconian society?"

A: "ummm ... kids ..."

Q: "Why do you want all of the dangers (murder, robbery, etc) of the drug war when it is easier for kids to get pot than alchohol? Why do you want a high murder rate?"

BROOKHAVEN NAT'L. LABORATORY

Paul Freedom wrote:

Here's the place the guy on Lou Dobbs works at.

It figures, it's a DOE government lab.

BROOKHAVEN NAT'L. LABORATORY

http://www.bnl. gov/world/

Sorry, Had a broken link

Paul wrote:
It figures, it's a DOE government lab.

BROOKHAVEN NAT'L. LABORATORY

http://www.bnl.gov/world/

Dr. Dewey is not a cannabis expert.

Dr. Stephen Dewey and Brookhaven Nat Lab may have done some small animal behavioral work with F-PET scans, but has no published data on cannabis sativa(Marijuana). This researcher is a canned tool and merits very little respect in so far as cannabis is concerned.

Here are the PubMed article search Results: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&itool...

LEGALIZE MARAJUIANA

OF COURSE THIS MAN PROBABLY MAKES BIG BUCKS WITH THE FDA AND DRUG COMPANYS AND OF COURSE BY THEM LEGALIZING M THEY WOULD LOSE MONEY IF U WANT TO CHECK OUT A HARMFUL DRUG CHECK OUT DEPO MEDROL IT IS AN OLD DRUG STILL USED AND DISABLES PATIENTS CAUSING A DEBILLIATING PAIN THERE IS NO CURE FOR, AND THIS IS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN, AND THAT IS WHY WE NEED MARAJUIANA, FOR PAIN THEY ARE AWARE THIS IS HAPPENING AND WILL TAKE NO ACTION AGAINST THE DRUG CO OR PUNISH THE DRUG COMPANYS / MFG OF.THIS DRUG, AND THE FDA FROWNS ON PUNISHING DRUG COMPANYS BECAUSE THEY WOULD LOSE MONEY THEMSELVES, ITS A DOG EAT DOG WORLD OUT THERE-

Inequitable and unfair drug testing policies

I was terminated from my job and deemed "impaired" after having tested slightly above the threshold level for cannibanoids. I had not smoked marijuana for three weeks. Had I been using much more dangerous substances (heroin,cocain,meth, etc) after ceasing their use for the same time period I would have tested squeaky clean (for urinalysis anyway). If my blood alcohol content had checked out to be up to 0.039% I could not have been terminated. I have no problem with being terminated for being "high" at work but being called impaired for metabolized cannibanoids leaching back into my bloodstream from out of my fat cells is patently unfair. This policy seems to encourage the use of potentially deadly drugs over a benign one. It is a gotcha policy and a blatant invasion of privacy. Legislation must be inacted for the testing of THC only! Shame on you ignorant bastards for allowing such injustice and inequity. When the self-righteous are excised from this earth there will be righteousness indeed!

Busted!

Unfair treatment doesn't even begin to describe what they did to you. Years ago, the cops found my grow-op; some indicas and some *magic* sativas---33 plants in all, some mature. They got my scales too, and confiscated the halides and sodiums. Losing the plants was bad enough, being fined the equivalent of $200 was sickening. I was treated sympathetically though; they gave the impression that the laws had to be applied even if no one agreed with them.
I'd probably have done time if I lived in the US, and boy, am I glad I don't.
Emerald Isle toker.

Lou Dobbs Drug War Nonsence

After a written dissertation on the failure of the war on drugs, Lou Dobbs wrote “Whatever course we follow in prosecuting other wars, we must commit ourselves as members of this great society to only one option in the War on Drugs -- victory.” This is just plain amazing to me!!! It seems that he still wants to persecute and prosecute as the way to conquer a personal problem.
Now step back a moment and look around. Does not the TV promote drug use? Does the war on drugs distinguish the deference between legal and illegal drugs? How can you justify a war on drugs when there are drug stores on almost every corner and shopping center?
If you think hard you might realize that the basic problem is that absolutely pure drugs are absolutely deadly. But the pharmaceutical industry would not like the public to realize this because they think it might cut into their sales. I say one of the first steps we should take as a country is to outlaw the advertising of all drugs. We used to have a reliable system for the distribution of pharmaceuticals to the people that need them. What happened? Did doctors become so lazy that they need the patient to “Ask your doctor”?
DaveMan

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