Important stuff

There’s been so much going on, it’s hard to keep up with it all, so here’s a quick round of stuff…
“bullet” Today’s Washington Post article on the increasing drug war: Russian Drug Unit Criticized Over Dubious Tactics, Priorities. This is an amazing article. Frightening. It’s also a reflection of our own DEA and ONDCP and Justice Department and Congress. Think of those while you read it. Baylen has commented on this story. (Thanks also to Alexander for the tip.) Vice Squad has been following the drug war in Russia for some time.
“bullet” Speaking of Vice Squad, slightly belated congratulations are due to Jim and the rest of the gang for their one year anniversary. They’ve been a wonderful, fun, and informative part of this corner of the blogosphere.
“bullet” Baylen points us to Paul Armentano’s article on the government’s drug war statistics. I couldn’t resist adding my own comment (based on the government’s actual statistics):

99.88% of people who have tried marijuana are currently NOT using heroin.

I guess this must be what the government means by the gateway theory.

So remember, if you want your kids to have better than a 99% chance of not being hooked on heroin, make sure they smoke pot. [just making a point]

“bullet” Radley Balko reporting on some amazing drug war stats from Eric Sterling:

  1. In the last 20 years, the number of people who have died from overdoses of illicit drugs has doubled.
  2. According to surveys of high school seniors, heroin and marijuana are more available to high schoolers today than they were in 1975.
  3. In 29 years of those surveys, the number of high schools seniors answering that marijuana was “readily available” has never been lower than 85%.
  4. The price of all illicit drugs has dropped almost every year for the last 30 years, while the purity of those drugs has gone up (oddly enough, the ONDCP admits as much in its new campaign against “crack marijuana”).
  5. The drug trade is now worth an estimated $50 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, up from $1 billion 25 years ago.
  6. Last year, 1.6 million people were arrested for drug crimes, more than all violent crimes combined.
  7. Every year, we arrest about 300,000 people for drug trafficking. Yet even after taking those offenders out of the trade (at least temporarily) we’ve still increased drug war spending every year since the onset of the drug war, to the point where last year we spent about $60 billion at the local, state, and federal level. It’s hard to think of a legal industry that thrives, even grows, despite losing 300,000 of its workers every year.
  8. In 1986, the federal prison population stood at 36,000. Today, it’s at 180,000. Twenty-five years ago, the conbined state prison population stood at 250,000. Today, it’s at 2.1 million. One-fourth of those are drug offenders.

“bullet” I’ve been meaning to link to this post by Andrew at Caffeine Dreams. Very nice fisking of farkers’ view of mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.
“bullet” I’ve been getting some nice letters from candidates who have received Drug WarRant endorsements.
Al Barger, Indiana Senate candidate writes:

Thanks for your endorsement for US Senate. Let me re-iterate that not only do I think the drug war is a bad idea, it is also flatly unconstitutional. As a candidate for federal office, there is absolutely NO authority under the US Constitution for the federal government to outlaw or regulate drugs. None.

Another note:

Thanks for the endorsement! Kevin Fleming Indiana District 4

And Jerry Kohn (Illinois Senate candidate) writes:

Thanks for the endorsement on your blog.æ Perhaps in years to come, we will be able to convince more and more people of the insanity of the “war on drugs”.æ Our children will look back on the “war on drugs” era in the same way that our generation looks on the era of alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s – as a foolish mistake not to be repeated.æ Thanks again.

Nice notes. Means a lot to me.
Interesting that I’ve only heard from Libertarians so far, and I’ve endorsed a greater number of Democrats and Republicans. Not sure if it means anything. Are they just more polite? Or perhaps they’re just grateful to get any publicity, since the media so often neglects them. Or they actually feel politically OK acknowledging a drug policy endorsement, while the Dems and Repubs aren’t as comfortable about it. Or, they’re better at Googling.

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