Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
July 2009



What’s it like to get paid to perpetuate a disaster?

In war on drugs, Greeley smokes ’em
Oh, this is going to be good, I can tell already…

Greeley and Weld County undercover officers are taking more suspected drug dealers off the streets.

OK, and what happens when you do that?

The task force typically investigates about 185 drug distribution cases a year, with an average of 140-150 arrests, Jones said. In 2008, it made 154 arrests, which was up significantly from the 116 in 2007 but down from 162 cases in 2006.

And what happens after you make those arrests?

Local arrests usually don’t rise to the level of larger networks, but […] ‹If you’re getting someone dealing in ounces, and do something with them, you’re hurting four to five other people dealing for them. You certainly take out a small pocket of drug dealers” [said Lieutenant Mark Jones, head of the Weld County Drug Task Force]

And what happens when you take out those drug dealers?

Jones said while the big drug dealers are being taken off the street, someone’s always there to replace them. […]
‹But ultimately, someone will fill in the gaps. Unfortunately, as long as people in the county and city use dope, there will be a demand. Until people quit using and having habits, they’re going to be here.Š

So you know. You know that when you arrest a dealer there’s another one waiting in the wings ready to step in. So you know that even when you arrest hundreds of dealers, the drugs still reach the streets with very little disruption and someone is there to sell them. And so what do you do, Lieutenant Mark Jones, when you know this?

The arrests likely won’t decrease, however.
‹I think you’ll continue to see over the next three to four months, more of what you’ve seen,Š Jones said.

Because… why? Because spending lots of money and ruining lots of lives is good for the war effort, I guess. And that’s good for Jones.

What’s that White House agency called again?

President Obama:

“I just wanted you to know, as well as the new director of our office of — I always forget the full name of this — I call it the Drug Czar . . . “I’m fine with that,” Kerlikowske interrupted. “O.K., Gil”

It’s the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, […]

The Drug Czar Lies… but we already knew that

At the Drug Czar’s “blog” the news is that we should suddenly get all concerned and panicked about drugged driving, based on a new roadside survey from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More than 8% tested positive for marijuana, a clear sign that continued substance abuse education, prevention, and law enforcement efforts are critical to public health and safety. “The troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America, and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Drugged driving, like drunk drivingá puts us all at risk and must be prevented.”

…clear sign … critical … troubling data… puts us all at risk …
Must be some real damning info from the NHTSA, huh?
Not so much.
The NHTSA appears to have a lot more integrity than the Drug Czar. Their research note makes it clear that they don’t want people to do what the Drug Czar just did — make assumptions that aren’t there.

The reader is cautioned that drug presence does not necessarily imply impairment. For many drug types, drug presence can be detected long after any impairment that might affect driving has passed. For example, traces of marijuana can be detected in blood samples several weeks after chronic users stop ingestion. Also, whereas the impairment effects for various concentration levels of alcohol is well understood,
little evidence is available to link concentrations of other drug types to driver performance.

Good for the NHTSA. Maybe they’re actually interested in the truth or the science rather than the political grandstanding.
Update: In a rare move, the AP subtly slams the Drug Czar by placing the NHTSA caution right before his remarks.

… Researchers said the presence of drugs can remain in a driver’s system for weeks, making it difficult to know whether those drivers were impaired.
“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.