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April 2012
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Videos to watch

bullet image Hardball with Chris Matthews. Chris did a nice job of putting President Obama on the spot regarding the drug war in questioning down in Cartagena. He shows that exchange, and then has a discussion with Ethan Nadelmann and Kevin Sabet. (I don’t really like to start my day with Kevin, so I haven’t watched that part yet.)

bullet image Al Jazeera Counts the Costs of the war on drugs. A 40- minute program from Sunday on the costs of the war on drugs, featuring interviews with the president of Guatemala, Otto Peres Molina; Kevin Sabet, formerly of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy; Armando Santacruz of the Mexican NGO Mexico United Against Crime; and Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs at Transform Drug Policy Foundation.

bullet image Unspeakable Harm Reduction – a new video by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, confronting the UNODC’s unwillingness to address even the words “harm reduction.”

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31 comments to Videos to watch

  • Peter

    sabet practising his usual tactic of talking over whoever is against him, aided and abetted by matthews who interrupted nadelmann while letting sabet speak. matthews interjection was to repeat the prohibitionist nonsense that one in a hundred alcohol drinkers will become addicted whereas everyone who tries crack once will be addicted… and this is the best that mainstream media can offer on this subject?
    Interesting too that Obama used the Sabet concocted “middle-ground” argument (only locking up some drug users) which Sabet then repeated on Matthews show as evidence of the new “balanced” approach to drug laws.

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    • Peter

      my mistake. that was santos who used the sabet pattented “balanced” approach to caging addicts. obama just sounds like hes reading from a script that knows is bs

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  • Duncan20903

    Whether starting, ending or just as a part, a day without Kev Kev is like a day without vomit. Mr. Sabet doesn’t reason, he regurgitates.

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  • kaptinemo

    It’s the Alphabet Disease at work. In America, anyone with a string of consonants after his/her name is considered by the corp-rat media as an ‘Expert’ and thus Must Be Listened To because they are assumed to Know What They’re Talking about.

    In Ol’ Kev’s case, that assumption proves the old Army rule about the dangers of assuming. His Doctorate is pure ivory tower: Doctor of Philosophy, Social Policy. His thesis: “Toward reducing total harm: Analyzing drug policies in Baltimore and New York”. He even hijacks the terminology for his own use while arguing against the concept. Typical DrugWarrior.

    When you look at his resume, you realize something. Kev’s pure hype, no substance. What a baby bureaucrat looks like after he’s ‘all growed up’ after spending all his adult life clamped to the Gub’mint teat. An glib but empty suit. Perfect for the corp-rat media, which feeds you the equivalent of puffed rice for news, and then it wonders why so many go the Internet for the information equivalent of meat and potatoes. But if all you need is a sound-bite to answer some brightly vacant-eyed, blow-dried, lobotomized newsreader, then Kev’s your man. Which is why we’ve seen a lot of him, lately.

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    • darkcycle

      Not so much “Alphabet disease” as it is where the Corporate press places the “Overton Window”. The Window of allowed coverage today is so far to the Statist Authoritarian side of the spectrum that these implausables like Kev, and even more so, Robert DuPont are positioned artificially within that window. In any rational discourse, their positions would be dismissed.
      Better, maybe “The press will give anybody with a diatribe that fits within their artificially proscribed spectrum a platform”

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    • Curmudgeon

      Sabet meets my definition of expert. Everyone knows an ex is a has-been, and a spurt is just a drip under pressure.

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  • Francis

    From the third link: “Several governments, including the US, claim this term [harm reduction] is ambiguous and can be interpreted as legalization – so they refuse to use any reference to it.”

    Gosh, that almost sounds like an admission. Of course, the truth is that the term “harm reduction” doesn’t actually imply legalization. (The term for THAT would be “harm minimization.”) But it’s further proof of my contention that prohibition is the opposite of (and thus incompatible with) a harm reduction approach to drug policy. The drug warriors appear to agree.

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    • Peter

      As has been discussed before on the couch, the prohibitionists favor a “harm increase” policy; the more addicts found dead on a restroom toilet the safer their jobs as drug warriors. Remember the refusal of authorities to identify a batch of toxic ecstasy tablets, maintaining that doing so would “send the wrong message” (i.e. imply their approval of other brands of ecstasy) so they were happy to allow people to continue to be poisoned. Drugs are bad and we need deaths to prove it!

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      • Francis

        Something I just learned today: almost three-quarters of the drug overdoses in 2008 were from opioids. (Side note: I couldn’t find any stats for cannabis overdoses which seems like a strange oversight on the CDC’s part.) I also learned about naloxone, an amazing and life-saving drug that’s reversed over 10,000 overdoses since 1996.

        “Why didn’t I know about this when my child was alive?” That was the question raised over and over at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing on Thursday by parents whose families make up the terrible statistics on opioid overdose, which now kills some 15,000 Americans each year.

        Opioid overdose kills by slowly stopping a person’s breathing, so typically there is time to intervene — and often there are other people around when a drug user overdoses. Even though most opioid overdoses involve mixtures of drugs, not just opioids, naloxone is effective even in these cases, and it is not harmful if given in error. Even if used at doses 700 times higher than what is recommended, “you will not see any adverse effects in opioid-naïve patients who are not in pain,” testified anesthesiologist Greg Terman on Thursday.

        It’s safe, non-addictive, cannot be “abused” (i.e., it’s not fun), and it could save literally THOUSANDS of lives every year. So… it’s probably available over the counter right? And the ONDCP is probably using a big chunk of its budget to educate at-risk populations about this drug’s existence and importance? Not so much. The FDA is finally holding hearings on making naloxone non-prescription, but the fact that it’s taken this long (and that it’s still “controversial”) is a testament to the corrupting influence of drug war priorities.

        Peter, I think you’ve found the answer to the question posed by those grieving parents – why didn’t you know? – “because drugs are bad, and the drug warriors need the deaths to prove it.”

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        • Matthew Meyer

          So lemme get this straight: Naloxone is available *by prescription*? There is certainly a sick joke in there, but really, do they prescribe it to opiate/opioid users so they’ll have it on hand? Are there other uses?

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        • darkcycle

          No, Mathew, it is not allowed to be prescribed to opioid users. It is reserved for doctors, nurses and emergency personnel. It is not in their program to provide it to users, no matter how safe or effective it might be. It (Naloxone) is even part of the formulation of some of your more potent pain killers like transdermal Fentanyl (that is in there to keep people breathing when they put the patch on). But to have in the medicine cabinet, where it may actually save some lives? Not so much.

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        • Emma

          From 2008: “Dr. Bertha Madras, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, opposes the use of Narcan in overdose-rescue programs… More importantly, she says, Narcan kits may actually encourage drug abusers to keep using heroin because they know overdosing isn’t as likely.”

          http://www.drugwarrant.com/2008/01/heroin-users-prohibitionists-critics-and-enablers/

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        • Peter

          yes every time someone like whitney houston dies the prohibs rub their hands in anticipation of sensationalist headlines: drugs! drugs! drugs! (job security!)

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        • Peter

          emma
          dr madras obvious has no clue about how the average heroin addict thinks if she thinks the absence of narcan is going to disuade anyone from their next hit.

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  • Kirk Muse

    When alcohol was illegal it was
    unregulated, untaxed and
    controlled by criminal gangs.

    Just like marijuana is today.

    Suppose a million “yard signs” with the above wording were placed where other political signs are. Would it
    change the public’s attitude toward marijuana?

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  • phatpooch

    VANCOUVER / ADDICTION / HOMELESS / CHAOS / POVERTY

    THE HARSH REALITY OF ADDICTION

    The producers of this short film are both recovering addicts who have both spent time living and indulging with drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Today they are both clean and sober with multiple years of recovery

    Addiction: Chaos in Vancouver

    http://www.archive.org/details/VancouverAddictionHomelessChaosPoverty

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  • Servetus

    Sabetists talk about the resilience of the cartels as if the cartels are the kingpins of all the crime that exists throughout Latin America. I think of crime as being more individualized, disorganized and entrepreneur-like.

    To hear Sabet argue, it sounds as if the only thing standing between civilization and its takeover by these über-cartels is the drug trade, which makes no sense. Weakening a cartel, eliminating its easy profits and forcing it to do riskier and far less rewarding crimes, does not make it more dangerous. It makes it vulnerable.

    There’s a pattern to the prohibitionists’ argument: Why eliminate the illegality of drugs when it won’t stop the cartels—why eliminate the cartels if it won’t stop crime—why eliminate the crime if it makes prohibs look stupid and eliminates their job?

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    • “Sabetists” = sabeteurs ?

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      • or… because Kev is just a sprout after all, maybe more along the lines of “sabeteers” to fit his Jr Prohib status?

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        • kaptinemo

          More like “Sabetage”.

          ‘Sabeteers’ sounds more like he has his own corps of sycophants. Like groupies for prohibs.

          Ack. What a thought. Need to medicate before I retch…

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        • Servetus

          How about, “Following Kevin’s drug policies and imitating his career is committing ‘sabeticide’.”?

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        • kaptinemo

          Here is something that is only generally related, but it helps to define the process of what I came to call ‘sabetage':

          From an NPR interview with Ethan Nadelmann:

          “And I should also just say, Amy, I agree with the previous speaker: this is going to be very difficult to sort of bring this—keep this discussion going in an above-ground way. You know, there is a prison-industrial complex. There are vested interests and powerful bureaucracies that have spent decades trying to suppress and ignore this discussion. Already, the U.S. is trying to find ways to maneuver this discussion into places where it will get stuck in sorts of intellectual quagmires and go nowhere.” (Emphasis mine – k.)

          This, then, is ‘sabetage’. Designed to bog things down in with pointless, pseudo-intellectual ‘nAngels > heads of pins’ sophistries to deflect the realities that would otherwise cause the fence-sitters to come down on our side. The old “Baffle ‘em with bulls*t!” maxim.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          kaptinemo, the sad thing is that Mr. Sabet almost certainly does have a cohort of sycophants. Goupies too, I’ve heard that he can’t get Linda Taylor to stay away.

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        • kaptinemo

          Duncan, I was going to try to eat my lunch today, as it’s been quiet at work. Then I read that bit about who Kev’s groupies might be. Now, my gut’s turned sour, and all I want to do is medicate, and I can’t do that here.

          If you could bottle the absolute revulsion the image provoked, you could make a killing in the diet industry.

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        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          It could be worse…she could have her eyes on you! Or even worser, me!

          worser? more worse? worster? Cheezus the English language is hard. I’ve actually got a fairly good command of it too. I just wonder how the illiterates manage to get along. But I think I’m going to start speaking Vietnamese. They don’t allow multi-syllabic words, at least so I’ve heard.

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  • primus

    Notice how they framed the question; lock ‘em all up on the one hand or legalization on the other, with decrim offered as the middle ground. Really it should be lock ‘em up vs. total free market, with legalization and regulation offered as the middle ground. When seen through that lens, it’s less radical to the viewer.

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    • Peter

      to sabet and obama decrim is an extremist position. they want jail as a threat to force drug users into “treatment” regardless of whether their using is problematic. that wouldnt work if personal use was decriminalized

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    • Francis

      I’d go further. “Lock ‘em up” should be outside the Overton window. (Thanks for teaching me a new word, darkcycle!) It should be beyond the pale. “We will not lock people in cages for what they choose to put into their own bodies” shouldn’t be the starting point for a conversation about drug policy. It shouldn’t even need to be said.

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      The problem is the low regard that a significant percentage of the people hold those who earn money as vendors of substances on the naughty list. I believe this dynamic occurs because people blame the dealers for any problems caused or experienced by those who use and for some reason think that being that way is required for anyone who would produce or distribute a substance on the naughty list. Their hare brained conclusion is that supply causes demand rather than the reality that supply rises to meet demand. So the poor user is blameless and it’s all the dealer’s fault.

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