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June 2010
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Narcophobia

bullet image Rolling Stone reporter compares chance of victory in Afghanistan to losing U.S. drug war

HASTINGS: No. No, it’s a joke…Trying to stop corruption in Afghanistan is like trying to stop the drug war here. I think we should really choose our battles wisely and not waste our resources.

bullet image An interview with Tom Feiling the author of a new book: Cocaine Nation: How the White Trade Took Over the World — a call for legalizing cocaine.

I don’t see how it could get worse. People who are unable to control their intake are getting their drugs on the street in adulterated forms from people who are armed, with no provision or any kind of service to help them address their problems or take their drugs safely, This is the worst possible way to treat substance abuse. In any other social policy field, these things are subject to assessment: We see if these policies are working. But in the “War on Drugs” there’s an overarching moral imperative, so any cost-benefit analysis that you would apply to any system regulating a potentially dangerous subject is out the window.

bullet image The Drug Czar is touting Montana’s commitment to stop drugged driving: Prevention of Drugged Driving in Montana. And the article starts…

Montana has historically had one of the worst records in regards to fatal crashes by drivers under the influence of alcohol. We also have the highest per capita levels of alcohol consumption and percentage of teen binge drinkers in the nation. Alcohol abuse and misuse is clearly a public health issue in Montana.

Ah, yes, therefore we need to pass tougher drugged driving laws!

bullet image Is Drug Policy A Human Rights Abuser? — this review by Joseph Allchin introduces a word to me I had not heard used much: “Narcophopia.”

In Latin America, washed along by the flow of blood, a feeling that the ‘war on drugs’ may have been lost has stirred, and has caused a reassessment of prohibition, a policy that a new report claims “is driven by moralism rather than empirical research”.

‘Narcophobia: drugs prohibition and the generation of human rights abuses’, authored by Dick Hobbs from the UK’s London School of Economics (LSE) and Brazilian journalist Fernanda Mena, further states that drug “prohibition enforcement has hindered the advancement of democracy and led to violence and increases in human rights abuses”.

bullet image The Environmental Cost Of Growing Pot by Lisa Morehouse for NPR.

This is a really irresponsible piece by Morehouse. No cogent analysis of the difference of environmental cost between legalized marijuana and marijuana under a black market system — just an offhand remark that it might be different, but nobody knows for sure. This, in an article that starts out about the vote coming up and yet details only one specific aspect of environmental costs.

This is an open thread.

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10 comments to Narcophobia

  • Just Legalize It

    im so sick and tired of hearing about “drugged driving”…. not because i think people should be driving messed up or anything… but that term is used a lot when talking about marijuana and driving….

    and i think that term is used so statistics from other drugs can be lumped in with marijuana to make it look like there is a big problem when in reality, there isnt. as far as marijuana is concerned anyways.

    id gladly drive next to 50 high people instead of 1 drunk person… or 1 person that is sleep driving on ambien

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  • Captain Spaulding

    If I lived in Montana I would get drunk and stoned every day. Oh wait I do that here, Bwhahaha.

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  • Duncan

    Then there’s that double blind study released recently that shows that potheads drive as well as straight people. But what the heck do we need evidence for when everybody’s decided that the facts are what they think they are.

    So anyway here’s a fellow from AZ who got busted for DUI for cannabis. He wasn’t pulled over for erratic driving, they served a search warrant on his home and “Officers told Montes the search warrant included his blood and urine, which he provided. Montes’ urine tested positive for marijuana, so he was also charged with DUI drugs.
    http://tinyurl.com/25eweho

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  • mikekinseattle

    And, of course, we can’t comment at the site in response to the entry about drugged driving in Montana, because they don’t want us to post any facts that contradict their bullshit. Let freedom ring.

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  • denmark

    There is a growing amount of Pro’s for ending the war on drugs. How Prohibition has survived this long is a mystery. And yes, I understand the greed and moral crap end of the debate is hugely responsible.
    My morals are just fine and I do believe the very thought of forcing morals on anyone, and in this case the drug war, is archaic, outdated, and ridiculous. Therefore, those who are promoting continuing the drug war are deluded and lacking in meaningful morals. In fact they lack proper ethical behavior.

    Recently heard that the governor of Washington state cut the corrections budget by 175 million. Or something to that effect.

    We left a military base in Utah, we lived there as civilian employees for the Dept. of the Army. Sorry if that dissappoints some of you, that being working for the g’ment. Have decided typing the name of the army base online wouldn’t be a good idea, but will tell you it was west of Salt Lake City.
    So relieved to be out of there.

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  • strayan

    I don’t get it, it is acceptable to give amphetamine type stimulants to pilots flying fighter jets, but not drivers?

    And if they’re so concerned about drugged driving, why don’t they test drivers for caffeine too?

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  • strayan

    Holy hell, I just found this: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/prominent-leaders-speak-out-on-marijuana-in-california-97303409.html

    Highlights:

    Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:

    Legalizing marijuana would saddle the government with the dual burden of regulating a new legal market while continuing to pay for the negative side-effects that are associated with an underground market.

    —-

    Joe Stewart , Executive Director, California Narcotics Officers Association:

    If the (Tax Cannabis 2010) initiative passes, transportation companies would be powerless to prevent employees who had tested positive from driving busses or taxis. Imagine your child being on a school bus driven by someone who has tested positive for being under the influence of marijuana. If this initiative passes, even inmates in prisons and county jails will be permitted to possess marijuana.

    —-

    Bishop Ron Allen, President of the International Faith Based Coalition:

    I had a good year in 2009; I only buried six youths related to drugs and drug overdoses. I can certainly tell you, if marijuana is legalized it will be a dark day in the State of California. If marijuana is legalized in the state of California, crime will increase, murder will increase.

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  • sign on to the the Vienna Declaration:

    Vienna Declaration

    The Vienna Declaration

    The criminalisation of illicit drug users is fuelling the HIV epidemic and has resulted in overwhelmingly negative health and social consequences. A full policy reorientation is needed.

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  • Emma

    For more on narcophobia, see Prof Frank Dikotter, co-author of “Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China”, on the myth of the Chinese opium plague: video lecture, essay, book. Under prohibition, global per population use of cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA, psychedelics, cannabis, etc has increased. The only possible exception is opioids: Around 1909, opioid use in most of the world was about the same or lower than today, but in China it was much higher (UNODC, 100 Years). Dikotter details how 80-90% of Chinese opium use was for medical purposes (before aspirin, quinine, and anti-biotics) and how biased Christian missionaries greatly exaggerated the harms of opium and levels of addiction (because sick people used opium they falsely claimed that opium inevitably led to sickness and death). Thanks to narcophobic lies, every year millions of cancer patients die in terrible pain without access to opioids (see WHO Access to Controlled Medications). Yet the UNODC continues to use moral-panic fears of the “opium plague” as the primary justification for prohibition.

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  • Opponents of legal markets have a hidden deontological agenda. For people subscribing to this it is most important to follow the rule whether it be moral og legal. They are not – despire some feeble window dressing – interested in the results of their moral/legal stance. It’s about “following orders” and “it’s the thought that counts”.

    Wiki: Consequentialism refers to those moral theories which hold that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action … Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence.

    That, simply, is why WE are so eager to count the costs and why THEY ignore practical outcomes. Parallels are obvious in other debates like sex education, condom use, food taboos, religious clothing, and prostitution.

    It could be said that harm reduction is consequentialist in nature. No one in HR would accept a solution that had adverse outcomes. Drug warriors will see the world burn (and at a hot temperature too) before considering alternatives.

    They simply find it SO WRONG that they won’t even discuss practical outcomes, and as long as they set the agenda those immense costs of the drug war won’t be counted. It’s quite absolutist.

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