The real Red Ribbon

I haven’t commented on Red Ribbon Week – the DEA promoted event to encourage a drug-free life. I have no problem with people deciding to pursue a drug-free life. That’s their absolute choice and I support it. And I have no objection to commemorating the life of Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. However, the DEA and the drug war is the problem, not the solution.
The best response I’ve seen to Red Ribbon Week so far comes from Michael Fitzgerald in today’s Stockton Record: Bleak news from the drug war

To me, Red Ribbon Week is a time not only to make the good arguments against drugs to kids, but time to salvage what shreds of national sanity remain after decades of America’s war on drugs.

Next to solving every foreign policy problem militarily, the war on drugs is America’s No. 1 bad idea.

The illogic, the staggering cost, the ruinous toll in human lives — all for a campaign that arguably is a boon to drug cartels and which hasn’t banished drugs. […]

Ironically, President Nixon created a commission to get to the bottom of the marijuana problem and, against all odds, it did. Naturally, its conclusions were rejected. […]

“Many see the drug as fostering a counterculture, which conflicts with basic moral precepts as well as with the operating functions of our society,” the report said, nailing it.

In other words, pot isn’t pot; It’s the ’60s. It’s dropping out, loafing around the bong, promiscuous free love, dissent against conformity, militarism, capitalism — the whole far-left hippie-flippie-dippy rejection of the established value system. […]

“Our youth cannot understand why society chooses to criminalize a behavior with so little visible ill effect or adverse social impact,” Nixon’s commission said about pot.

“And the disrespect for the possession laws fosters a disrespect for law and the system in general.” […]

If you want Red Ribbon Week to work, tell kids the truth: Some drugs kill you, some addict you, and a lifestyle that revolves around drugs is one of higher risk and lower achievement.

But some drugs don’t kill you, some don’t addict you, and some people have the capacity to do some drugs in moderation and lead productive, happy lives. Millions, evidently.

Admittedly the ability to tell good choices from bad takes critical thinking skills. Some kids lack these. But critical thinking — not the party line — is what schools are supposed to teach. …

Good article (other than failing to note the complicity of liberal politicians), and it’s worth thinking about Nixon’s Shaffer commission report again.

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