Carpe Diem

More on America’s longest war: the cruel, costly, senseless and failed War on Drugs

1. LearnLiberty just released the video above (“Why Are So Many Violent Criminals Walking Free?“) that highlights just one of the tremendous human costs of America’s failed, expensive and cruel War on Drugs Peaceful Americans Who Use Intoxicants Not Currently Approved of by the Government: the diversion of law enforcement resources away from violent crimes with victims, which frequently go unsolved and allow violent criminals to walk free, towards law enforcement activities for arresting and prosecuting Americans for victimless crimes like possession of weeds.

2. If the War on Drugs was succeeding, wouldn’t that success show up in measurable outcomes that would include: a) a reduction in the supply of drugs available for sale, and b) increased prices for drugs in response to the reduced supply?

According to a new study published in the online journal BMJ Open, the international evidence suggests that exactly the opposite is happening, leading the six researchers from the US and Canada who conducted the study to conclude that the drug war is failing. Here’s a summary of some of the study’s findings from the press release:

The researchers analyzed data from seven international government-funded drug surveillance systems, which had at least 10 years of information on the price and purity of cannabis, cocaine and opiates, including heroin. They also reviewed the number of seizures of illegal drugs in drug production regions and rates of consumption in markets where demand for illegal drugs is high.

Three major trends emerged from the data analysis: the purity/potency of illegal drugs either generally remained stable or increased between 1990 and 2010; with few exceptions, the street price generally fell; and seizures of drugs increased in both the countries of major supply and demand.

In the US, after adjusting for inflation and purity, the average street price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis fell by 81%, 80%, and 86%, respectively, whereas the purity and/or potency of these drugs increased by 60%, 11%, and 161%, respectively.

On the basis of the data, the authors conclude, as previous studies have, “that the global supply of illicit drugs has likely not been reduced in the previous two decades.” They add: “In particular, the data presented in this study suggest that the supply of opiates and cannabis have increased, given the increasing potency and decreasing prices of these illegal commodities.”

And they conclude: “These findings suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing. It is hoped that this study highlights the need to re-examine the effectiveness of national and international drug strategies that place a disproportionate emphasis on supply reduction at the expense of evidence based prevention and treatment of problematic illegal drug use.”

HT: Morgan Frank

3. A Texas marijuana grower and a California man who might have been a drug dealer were killed by police in separate incidents last week. The two men become the 31st and 32nd persons killed in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

43 thoughts on “More on America’s longest war: the cruel, costly, senseless and failed War on Drugs

  1. Drug use has been in a deep depression for over 30 years.

    The “War on Drugs” not only stopped the steep rise of drug use, in the ’60s and ’70s, it reversed and contained it.

    The country saved trillions of dollars in social costs.

    The “War on Drugs” has been very successful.

    • “In the US, after adjusting for inflation and purity, the average street price of heroin, cocaine and cannabis fell by 81%, 80%, and 86%, respectively, whereas the purity and/or potency of these drugs increased by 60%, 11%, and 161%, respectively.”

      Yet, cocaine use is down substantially:

      Illegal Drug Use on the Rise in U.S.
      Sept. 8, 2011

      “The use of illicit drugs and the nonmedical use of prescription medications is increasing, and this is largely driven by an increased rate of marijuana use, a survey shows.

      There were also some glimmers of hope seen in the new survey.

      Rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs, hallucinogens, and inhalants are around the same as in 2009.

      The number of current methamphetamine users decreased by roughly half from 2006 to 2010.

      Cocaine use also declined, from 2.4 million current users in 2006 to 1.5 million in 2010.”

          • is the trollish way stronger master yoda?

            no, only quicker.

            unleaaaarn. you must unlearn your logic.

            feel the troll flow through you.

            ignore the difference in correlation and causality.

            ignore age chorts.

            ignore the effects of stricter laws on responses to polls.

            ignore massive price and quality signals from the markets and pretend that even though seizures keep going up, supply is really dropping and pretend you really are making a dent and the a country to cannot stop a flow of illegal immigrants can stop the flow of an illegal substance across the exact same border.

          • The Morganovich Troll Crowd Methodology

            Morganovich and his worn out supporters still haven’t figured out round pegs go into round holes, and yet their delusions tell them they can put a puzzle together.

            When they pop their heads from their square holes in the ground, look around, see some reality, which contradict their beliefs, they shut their eyes tightly and shake their heads strenuously. When they feel comfortable in their ignorance, they go back to writing the same old fairy tales.

            Yea, I got them pegged :)

    • Clearly your DEA or part of some other entity that benefits from this idiotic policy of prohibition. This country has never had a problem with drug addiction or use. The problem is the policy of prohibition that we’ve been duped into supporting. Policies born from racist fear mongoring, hatred, and a desire to control those people seen as inferior. Drug use and addiction rates have remaind largely the same with addiction under 3% of all users. Claims of mass thefts, home invasions, drug babies, and violence allowed the masses of less informed citizens whom were concerned by images the government created of crack mothers, babies and prostitutes in the 80′s to side with the government in pursuing this offensive. Many law officials knew then how ineffective the policy would potentially be and didnt vigorously pursue drug offenders until the government began giving out millions via the Byrnes Grant to police departments across the nation based solely on drug arrest numbers, quantity, type or quality, or use of violence, being the user or being the dealer, playing no role in the determination of amounts of funds and military equiptment awarded to each successful department. Good policies and police work would be better reflected by fewer numbers of arrests as to indicate fewer users and dealers not by increasing arressts that clearly indicates no improvement or worsening of the issue. And by the way all your statistics are way off or either made up just like a agent would do and say. Morally empty individuals lie too perpetuate this BS. simply to line their pockets at the expense of human lives, destroyed families, billions of dollars and billions of years of human potential.

  2. “A few days ago, Portugal officially requested a $116 billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. This makes Portugal the third European nation to seek such a bailout in the past year (Greece got $157 billion; Ireland $122 billion). What most people don’t realize is that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the IMF. Therefore, U.S. taxpayers are paying for Portugal’s bailout, which — like the earlier bailouts of Greece and Ireland — was caused by too much government spending and borrowing.” — Daily Caller

    We could fund the “War on Drugs” for three years if the potheads in Portugal would just give us our money back.

    By the way, what’s Latvia been up to?

  3. “They chose to treat addiction as an illness, not a crime”

    So, now we are arguing that companies should deliberately create and market products that make their customers ill.

      • Tobacco, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, any and all OTC medications (not to mention prescription ones), bleach, soap, shampoo (any kind of cleaning compound, really), rat poison, bug poison…

      • When American went to Prohibition, one argument was that people lost free will when it came to alcohol. That may apply to members of my family, btw.

        I happen to favor total legalization of all drugs—but what if clever drug makers, in a free market, learn to create drugs that are even more addictive than alcohol or cigarettes?

        The drug makers will detect certain DNA types that will have a compulsion to use certain types of drugs, and offer lots of free samples. Eventually, the free market will create an addictive drug with your number on it….

        But even if the scenario I propose comes true, it still begs the question: Why are cigarettes and alcohol legal?

        There has to be principles or rhyme and reason to the legalization of drugs, not simple biases, or the self-interests of public employees who want lots of drugs to be illegal so they have jobs…

        BTW about 15,000 people every year are killed by drunk drivers….and alcohol is legal? That is five times the number that died on 9/11….every year….

        • Benjamin says: “Why are cigarettes and alcohol legal?”

          I think, one reason they became popular was people could still function in society using them.

          You can function drinking one or two glasses of wine, while smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

          However, when you smoke one marijuana cigarette, take one hit of LSD, etc., you’re higher than a kite quickly.

          And mixing alcohol with other drugs can shoot you into orbit.

          • Of course, we live in a society today where a large percentage of the population doesn’t have to function.

    • Well then, let’s ramp up production:

      Flesh-rotting ‘krokodil’ drug emerges in USA, USA Today

      “The average life expectancy among krokodil addicts in Russia is two to three years, according to Time, which called the narcotic “the most horrible drug in the world.” Gangrene and amputations are common, and the toxic mix dissolves jawbones and teeth, much like the methamphetamine that Walter White cooks in Breaking Bad.

      As with all intravenous drug addicts, krokodil users are susceptible to HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases, and have compromised immune systems.”

      Just like wine, beer and alcohol.

      • I would think we could legalize Marijuana and Cocaine. Possibly have a legal government run source of opiates as well (may as well buy the opiates from Afghan farmers, so they don’t collude with the Taliban – instead of poisoning their fields)

        But some of these others do pose problems. But then if some of these other drugs were legal then maybe folks wouldn’t have to try to get Krokodil in the first place. Drugs like Meth and Crack were developed because Cocaine was so expensive due to crackdowns.

    • “So, now we are arguing that companies should deliberately create and market products that make their customers ill.”

      that’s a gross misframing.

      almost any product can harm you if you use it badly.

      many, many people manage to use beer responsibly. shall we punish them because a few cannot?

      why are other drugs any different?

      eat too many cheetos and it will make you fat and sick.

      you could probably choke on a nerf ball if you tried hard enough.

      it is not the place of government to tell us how to live our lives, what to value, and what choices to make in our consumption. so long as you do not violate the rights of others, it’s up to you.

      if you want to eat nerf balls or drink beer or smoke cigars or smoke pot, that’s on you.

      you may make choices i do not agree with, but they are none of my or the state’s business.

      too much beer, pot, cocaine, onion rings, or even exercise is harmful.

      where that point lies and how to value the benefit of such things vs the harm is up to you, not the state.

  4. “Landmark legislation in Uruguay is set to make the country the first in the world to create a state-run marijuana industry — fixing the price at a point low enough to squeeze the black market and allowing the government to control cultivation and distribution. The bill has the backing of President José Mujica, who has dismissed charges that legalizing marijuana could lead people to try harder drugs.” — Huffington Post

    Wow, and I thought that continued welfare payments are an incentive to vote. This will take it to the next level. Well, you do have to admit that socialism will go down a lot easier …

    Wait until some enterprising young socialist starts handing out samples in Portugal.

    • Could be a price war. Marijuana smokers may flock to Uruguay.

      Of course, marijuana, which grows like a weed, is much easier to produce than a glass of Cabernet sauvignon.

      • There are definitely tricks to getting the potency. Harvest too early or too late and you got junk on your hands.

        I also believe there are some other tricks, like not wanting the plants fertilized.

        It isn’t just planting in the ground if you are serious about growing the stuff.

        • One guy with a rifle watching a field of marijuana growing in U.S. national parks is “serious about growing the stuff.”

  5. There are 18 million alcoholics in the USA and every one of them should be in prison…alcohol pushers, such bartenders, should e horsewhipped.
    Opium is okay though. Under USA auspices and tutelage, Afghanistan has become the global powerhouse of opium production. Go USA and Afghanistan! We spent trillions of dollars to make it happen and Americans can be proud!

  6. I don’t know how prevelant this really is. Many states are no longer putting pot heads in jail – unless they did something else and pled down to pot head.

    In California, a bust for minor drug possessions leads to a sentance of treatment at a drug program – and you had to seriously annoy the police to get arrested in the first place – basically drugs with Anger issues will get you into the program (eg you got onto drugs and started beating your girl/boyfriend) and in that case the punishment is usually too light.

    That guy in Louisiana last week had a long criminal record and pled down to drug charges as well. It wasn’t like he was just sitting in his home getting stoned bothering no-one.

  7. My latest thinking on this issue is as follows:

    1. If you grant the government the right to tell you what you can and can’t put in your body, you have then completely relinquished your individual liberty and resigned yourself to be a slave to, and subject of, the state.

    2. If you support the government’s authority to lock your neighbor up in a cage if she ingests an intoxicant, plant, or weed not currently approved of by the state, you have become in effect, through the authority you have granted the government, a cruel, ruthless dictator and tyrant.

    In either case, you have become an enemy of personal freedom, and an enemy of the people.

    • If steroids does great physical harm later in life, should the authority allow unrestricted steroid use for all players to level the playing field?

      • Well, should the supreme authority of the state allow its slaves/subjects unrestricted access to cigarettes, cigars, beer, wine, alcohol, fried foods, sugar, donuts, bacon, fast food, football, excessive exercise, etc., even though those activities and products do great harm later in life?

        If you’re thinking like a free human being, the answer is Yes. But if you give up your individual liberty, and accept your status as a slave/subject to the supreme state, then your answer is No.

        • Dr. Perry,

          I could not agree with you more. Some people however are afraid of freedom. They don’t want to have to make those choices and they don’t think other people should either.

          Morganovich and I have repeatedly asked the above poster various versions of the same basic question, how much do you value your personal freedom. He refuses to answer these questions. So, like all the logical arguments that we have thrown at him, he just ignores the question and continues to post the same bs and lies over and over. I am afraid that you are wasting your time with him.

          • Givemefreedom, I answered you and Morganovich’s question over 10 times in 10 different ways.

            So, don’t play cute games with me and pretend you didn’t see at least some of my answers.

            I value my personal freedom, that’s why I’m against creating millions of responsible and millions of irresponsible drug users.

            I value good policies, something an anarchist like you wouldn’t understand.

        • It’s not a choice when you have to do something.

          Freedom is not doing something you wouldn’t otherwise do.

          Why promote something that’s unnecessary, including through marketing, peer pressure, addiction, etc., that causes great harm to both the individual and others?

        • “I value my personal freedom, that’s why I’m against creating millions of responsible and millions of irresponsible drug users.

          I value good policies”

          See what I mean? He has proven me right yet again.

      • “If steroids does great physical harm later in life, should the authority allow unrestricted steroid use for all players to level the playing field?” – PT

        Depends on who you mean by “the authority”. If you mean the government, then my answer is “Yes”.

        If you mean the players’ employer, and the employers’ leagues, then my answer is “it’s none of our business”. The NFL can choose to allow steroids, or not, and I’ll choose to watch, or not, based on the NFL’s decision.

        “In either case, you have become an enemy of personal freedom, and an enemy of the people.” Describes you to a ‘T’.

        • Brotio, my steroid example implies it’s all inclusive. You’re just anti-government and don’t give a whit about other people.

          • I give a whit about liberty. Mine and other people’s.

            Just like all the best in history. FDR’s Uncle Joe. Joe Kennedy’s Uncle Adolph. Barack’s Uncle Fidel. Uncle Peak thinks you should go to prison for ingesting a substance Uncle Peak thinks is bad for you. It’s obvious that your love of liberty is extended only to people who do what you tell them to.

    • My problem is this – I really think most people in jail for what seems to be minor drug charges really did something else. California is a good example. The police won’t even bother if you are a pothead, but if you rob a store to support your habit, or freak out and beat your girlfriend you will get charged with something serious – plead down to pot possession and use, and then take your anger management class. Smoke some meth, and ignore your baby for three days falls under the same category.

      I don’t think folks just sitting at home minding their business tokin’ a bit are getting arrested for doing just that. Now maybe this is another issue. Maybe there should be truth in sentencing. You beat your girlfriend, don’t call it possession of pot. Call it misdemeanor battery.

  8. About 10,000 Americans are murdered every year by drunk drivers.

    That is three times the number killed in 9/11. Except every year drunk drivers so their thing.

    Since 9/11, about 120,000 Americans have been murdered by drunk drivers.

    Terrorists have killed a handful in the USA since 9/11, if that.

    So…why is alcohol legal, and why are we spending $1 trillion a year to fight terrorists?

    • You seem to believe drinking a glass of wine is equal to taking a hit of LSD.

      If “120,000 Americans have been murdered by drunk drivers,” then we should legalize drugs to double or triple the amount, right?

      And, imagine how much more irresponsible they’ll be when drugs are added to alcohol.

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