The Department of Justice just released the National Drug Threat Assessment 2010 and reading it is a Kafkaesque experience.
I started with the ironically titled “Impact of Drugs on Society.” Ironically, because just about all of it was really about the impact of the drug war on society.
The Consequences of Illicit Drug Use
The consequences of illicit drug use are widespread, causing permanent physical and emotional damage to users and negatively impacting their families, coworkers, and many others with whom they have contact. […]
Colombian Cocaine Producers Increase Use of a Harmful Cutting Agent. Since late 2007, cocaine has increasingly contained levamisole, a pharmaceutical agent that typically is used for livestock deworming.
Reality check… That’s pretty clearly an example of damage caused by prohibition and unregulated drugs, and a good argument for legalization.
Impact on Crime and Criminal Justice Systems
The consequences of illicit drug use impact the entire criminal justice system, taxing resources at each stage of the arrest, adjudication, incarceration, and post-release supervision process.
Reality check…. Uh, how is drug use taxing the system? Are the drugs making you arrest people? Then stop taking them. Are you simply arresting too many people who use drugs? Then stop arresting them. It’s really pretty simple, and a good argument for legalization.
Impact on Productivity
There is a great loss of productivity associated with drug-related premature mortality. In 2005, 26,858 deaths were unintentional or undetermined-intent poisonings; in 2004, 95 percent of these poisonings were caused by drugs.
Reality check. Really? You’re counting the lost productivity of dead people. But waitâ€”it gets better…
The approximately one-quarter of offenders in state and local correctional facilities and the more than half of offenders in federal facilities incarcerated on drug-related charges represent an estimated 620,000 individuals who are not in the workforce. The cost of their incarceration therefore has two components: keeping them behind bars and the results of their nonproductivity while they are there.
Reality check… Wow. They’re actually blaming the loss of productivity of drug war prisoners and the cost of prison itself on drugs. Amazing. And another good argument for legalization.
Impact on the Environment
The environmental impact of illicit drugs is largely the result of outdoor cannabis cultivation and methamphetamine production.
Reality check…. And why is that? Oh, yeah, because of prohibition. And yes, yet another good argument for legalization.
Some years back I was visiting an agrarian planet in the Delta Pavonis system, and they had an unusual policy that made being a redhead illegal. Whenever a ginger was spotted, they would send out government operatives to hit the person in the head with a glard (similar to a baseball bat but used for cooking). About once a year (7 earth months), the leaders would hold a special gathering of citizens and talk about the evils of redheads. This mostly involved stories of how their beatings wasted the time of government operatives, plus the problems of damaged glards, and the need to constantly clean up the scattered brain matter of glarded gingers.
None of them even considered the possibility of changing the policy, and when I tried to explain to them that their law made no sense, they sent for the glards, so I hoofed it out of there.
One month later, they were wiped out by a passing comet.
So, anyway, back to earth… just how is that drug war going according to the Department of Justice? Since they’ve been giving argument after argument for legalization, they must have some conclusion that shows that the drug war works. Right?
The growing strength and organization of criminal gangs, including their growing alliances with large Mexican DTOs, has changed the nature of midlevel and retail drug distribution in many local drug markets, even in suburban and rural areas. As a result, disrupting illicit drug availability and distribution will become increasingly difficult for state and local law enforcement agencies. In many of these markets, local independent dealers can no longer compete with national-level gangs that can undersell local drug distributors. Previously, state and local law enforcement agencies could disrupt drug availability in their areas, at least temporarily, by investigating and dismantling local distribution groups. But well-organized criminal gangs are able to maintain a stronger, more stable drug supply to local markets and to quickly replace distributors when individual gang members or entire distribution cells are arrested. Significantly disrupting drug distribution in smaller drug markets will increasingly require large-scale multijurisdictional investigations, most likely necessitating federal law enforcement support.
Without a significant increase in drug interdiction, seizures, arrests, and investigations that apply sustained pressure on major DTOs, availability of most drugs will increase in 2010, primarily because drug production in Mexico is increasing.
Congratulations to the U.S. Department of Justice. You are masters of self-delusion, completely oblivious to the obvious fact that you have met the enemy.
And he is you.