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October 2008
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Drug Czar celebrates productivity of drug users

In announcing some annual celebration of work through the Department of Labor, drug czar John Walters notes:

75 percent of the nation‰s current illegal drug users are employed.

So much for Pete’s couch.
Thanks, John, for taking the time to acknowledge the contributions that drug users are making every day to save the economy that your administration has destroyed.
(Another thing that’s inspiring about that number — since the drug czar keeps saying that young people are the ones using drugs, then young drug users must be particularly motivated to be getting jobs at an early age.)
Drugs: motivating the young to work at real jobs that don’t have “czar” in the title.

Finally, now we’ll get that drug war in Mexico solved.

Condoleeza Rice is going to Puerto Vallarta.

The future of the troubled ONDCP

Jag Davies has an excellent post at the ACLU blog: Cascade of Reports Condemn Drug Czar‰s Office
Certainly, I’d like to see the drug czar’s office disappear into a sink-hole caused by the office’s own black-hole-like lack of integrity.
However, if the ONDCP is to continue, Davies is absolutely right that we must advocate for new metrics for measurement.

Rather than measuring success based on slight fluctuations in drug use, the primary measure of ONDCP‰s effectiveness should be the reduction of drug-related harm. If ONDCP is reauthorized, it should be charged with reducing problems associated with drug use itself (overdose, addiction, disease transmission) and problems associated with drug prohibition (over-incarceration, collateral sanctions, loss of civil liberties, racial disparities in enforcement, prosecution and sentencing).

That’s exactly right. Although, I would, just to make things as clear as possible, modify that statement slightly with a few word changes:

Rather than measuring success based on slight fluctuations in drug use, the primary measure of ONDCP‰s effectiveness should be the reduction of drug-related harm and drug-war-related harm. If ONDCP is reauthorized, it should be charged with reducing problems associated with drug use abuse itself (overdose, addiction, disease transmission) and problems associated with drug prohibition (over-incarceration, collateral sanctions, loss of civil liberties, turf violence, corruption, law enforcement trust, drug safety, environmental damage, breakup of families, racial disparities in enforcement, prosecution and sentencing).

Could still stand a bit of tweaking, but perhaps a coordinated effort to pass on such language to Congress, when the ONDCP is up for reauthorization, is in order?

The drug war continues to wreak havoc in Mexico

Sometimes I wonder if I have anything new to say about this. The constant litany of articles about the drug war in Mexico are depressing:

Soldiers beheaded in Mexico, drug war suspected
Violence Escalates
At least 21 dead in Mexico prison riot
Mexico’s deadly drug war takes its toll on children
9,000 ‘ordinary people’ flee Mexican drug war
Mexico’s Drug War Turns Into Terrorism After Grenades
Drugs kidnap of child shocks US

One of those articles above actually made a connection between the violence now and the violence in the alcohol drug wars, but generally, there is no attempt made at any kind of perspective other than “Isn’t this terrible. Gee, I guess we’d better crack down some more.”
And, of course, the news naturally gets some people worked up …

What‰s worh Going to War For? Iraq – No, not in my opinion. Drug Lords from Mexico that Kidnap little children from their homes, yes this is worth going to war for. This is worth losing the Iraq war. This is worth pulling the troops out of Iraq immediately to protect our borders. Isn‰t this something that we need Federal Troops for.

… somehow unaware that we’re already at war. Have been for decades. That’s what brought us to this mess. That’s what caused this mess.
Scott Morgan makes it clear

If our drug policy made sense, 6-year-old children wouldn‰t be kidnapped in blackmarket business disputes […]
Cole is safe now, thankfully. But as long as the drug war continues, these kinds of things will never stop happening and they won‰t always end peacefully. There‰s a reason Anheuser-Busch and R.J. Reynolds don‰t kidnap children when a retailer is late on a payment.

Unless the news media is willing to do its job and make the historic connections clear, each escalation of violence will continue to be met with a further escalation, and the people, uninformed and uneducated about the economic laws relating to black market economies, will continue to push for more gasoline to be put on the fire.