There’s an important new book out by Damon Barrett called “Children of the Drug War,” available at Amazon, but also available to read for free online (it’s that important).
This collection of original essays looks at the impact of the war on drugs on children, young people and their families.
I knew right away in the introduction that the book was taking us in the right direction.
To begin with there is a basic need to take stockâ€”to count the costs. This necessitates a closer look at what really matters in terms of outcomes. Indeed, it is the way in which â€œsuccessâ€ has been measured in drug control that has led to some of the strongest criticism. The number of people who use drugs, the amount of kilos of drugs seized, prosecutions secured, and hectares of illicit crops eradicated are some of the key indicators in this regard. But while these indicators can be useful, they are, for the most part, indicators of means, not ends. This is not often recognized, and in the prominence given to such measurements, drug control has, over time, become self-referential and self-perpetuating; a positive feedback loop in which the fight against drugs is an end in itself.
Counting the costs to children is about breaking that loop as the process of investigating the harms of the war on drugs can help to delineate between means and ends and provide an insight into the question of meaningful outcomes. Childrenâ€™s and familiesâ€™ involvement in drug production and trade, for example, is a mix of coercive forces, often driven or even necessitated by poverty and social neglect. These drivers are all but ignored and even exacerbated by current drug policies that focus on eradication and interdiction, as some of the chapters in this book show.
I haven’t read the whole thing yet – just got the link to it today and wanted to share it with you as soon as possible. Here’s Javier, from Colombia:
The planes often sprayed our community. People would get very sad when they saw the fumigation planes. You see the planes comingâ€”four or five of themâ€”from far away with a black cloud of spray behind them. They say they are trying to kill the coca, but they kill everything. I wish the people flying those fumigation planes would realize all the damage they do. I wish theyâ€™d at least look at where theyâ€™re going to spray, rather than just spraying anywhere and everywhere. The fumigation planes sprayed our coca and food crops. All of our crops died. Sometimes even farm animals died as well. After the fumigation, weâ€™d go days without eating. Once the fumigation spray hit my little brother and me. We were outside and didnâ€™t make it into the house before the planes flew by. I got sick and had to be taken to the hospital. I got a terrible rash that itched a lot and burned in the sun. The doctor told us the chemical spray was toxic and was very dangerous. I was sick for a long time and my brother was sick even longer.
We were fumigated five times. I donâ€™t think they will ever stop fumigating. Theyâ€™ll keep fumigating because thereâ€™s still coca. They say they wonâ€™t stop fumigating until all the coca is dead. […]
I know if I go back there, Iâ€™ll see lots of people get killed. I saw two people killed right in front of me; Rebecca and her brother. They lived close by us. The guerrillas had been looking for Rebecca and caught her while she was with her brother. I was standing close by and saw the whole thing. They made them get down on their knees. They shot them many times in the head with machine guns, picked up their dead bodies, put them in chairs, put bags over their heads, and left.
Children of the Drug War. Counting the Costs.
Reading this brought to mind the struggle I had with the latest addition to my CafePress store. As I was designing this car magnet, the phrase just popped into my head, and seemed right.
I just got a note from my Mom, who is 89. She reads Drug WarRant every now and then to keep up with what I’m doing. She said:
Did you create this: “The Drug War Doesn’t Care About the Life of your Child. Legalize and Regulate for Safety.”? That’s an excellent message which will require some thought…
Couldn’t ask for a better recommendation.
Children of the Drug War. Counting the Costs.
Thanks, Pete. This just went to the top of my “must read” list
It’s infuriating, the lack of respect for human life that this failed war promotes. Bring a name and a story to that list of statistics and you’ll convince a lot more people that we’re not just blowing smoke. Thank you, Mr. Barrett.
Thanks for helping promote the book. I hope the book or some individual essays within it are inspiring and useful.
Your exactly right Brandon it’s Influriating!
It’s way influriating now that to keep going everyone’s mom and dad retirement is on the chopping block to keep”The War on Drugs”going.
When is”ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.
This your Mom and Dad’s retirement that is in the talks to be cut!!!
I briefly looked at some news articles last night about the riots in London. Don’t these poor, unemployed, unskilled criminals know that there is a career path always open to them? All they have to do is sell drugs. It gives them something to do beside rioting; they could potentially make any amount of money. As a bonus to everyone that simply wants these people dead, they will kill each other for control of the market without even being asked and cops then have a moral cover for killing anyone involved. Its win/win for everyone!
“This your Mom and Dadâ€™s retirement that is in the talks to be cut!!!”
A point that needs to be hammered home, again and again and again.
Hey, Mom and Pop! We really need the ONE TRILLION that’s been wasted on the DrugWar (and kept out of your hands all this time; just think what you could have done with that) all these years, and now we have to make up for it.
Government costs money, right? Money doesn’t grow on trees, right? It costs money to lock up all those illicit drug users. Money that has to come from somewhere.
Sooooo, how about you give up your Medicare for that? How about your Medicaid? Getting any other Fed, State or local subsidies? We could use that too. The money to lock up a pot-head has to come from somewhere, right? It’s all so worth it to save the kiddies from drugs (kiddies who can get any damn thing they want, anytime they want; remember that wasted 1 Trillion you could have used?)..or do you believe in ‘free lunches’? Is a pot-head worth the price of your elder care? Is it?
Brass tacks, time, folks. Hard, sharp, mean times are upon us. Hard, sharp, mean questions are the order of the day…
Let’s not forget that we had to borrow that trillion with a T before we could squander it in the effort to make drugs expensive, significantly more potent, and to promote widespread around the clock availability.
Even better we’ve never come close to being able to fantasize about paying down the principal, so we’re still paying interest on money squandered decades ago.
With our current fiscal calamity we’re not even able to pay the interest on that borrowed and squandered money, so we have to borrow the money to pay the interest to the tune of between $55 and $60 billion every year. If we immediately stop, and never throw another dollar down the rat hole of prohibition the war on (some) drugs will cost us another trillion with a T in less than 2 decades.
Now that’s what I call a heckuva job. Can we please hang up the “Mission Accomplished” banner, declare victory, and stop spending money we just don’t have to spend? OK, I didn’t think so. Never mind.
One other question I never see being asked, yet it cuts to the heart of the hypocrisy:
Why is it that an illicit drug user’s life is worth more monetarily than a drunk’s?
We’ve spent a trillion on illicit drug users. We’ve spent a comparatively microscopic, no, an amount so small it could be deemed sub-atomic, in trying to dissuade people from drinking alcohol. If I was a juicer, I might be incensed.
All that money spent on people who didn’t want it spent on them…not in that way, at least. While those who might have wanted help couldn’t get it.
So, I ask again: why is an alcoholic’s life not worth as much as an illicit drug user’s?
Never fear Chicago Jesus the great defender of the little people will end the drug war and buy everyone a pony. Yes we can.
What does that mean? Do you actually have anything useful to say or are you just trolling? This isn’t a partisan site, so that kind of crap doesn’t work.
I’ve seen a lot worse crap pass without comment, Pete. Why pick on this comment? I know it’s your couch, but…
Daniel, it probably was a little petty, but it’s just the way it hit me. I may be wrong in this case, but I’ve seen a lot of the “messiah” and “pony” stuff around the net and it seems it’s often been used as a kind of dog-whistle code for people who are against Obama for the wrong reasons. There are plenty of good reasons to be opposed to Obama, because of his atrocious policies and indefensible authoritarian approach to governance.
To me, the dog-whistle politics are not only morally wrong, but practically wrong, because liberals see a certain kind of statement and think ALL opposition is racist/personal and are then blind to the real problems with this Presidency that they should join us in opposing.
I don’t need another pony.
I want a pony!!! Ok my wife wants one but…
Quit fibbing Jim. Everyone knows those are actually miniature horses that you’re trying to scam the public into believing are ponies.
I think we need a new government agency to preserve the integrity of our pony supply.
Thanks Pete for continuing to spread the message.
I am a child of drug dealers. A family of narco-traffickers. My earliest memories are of near constant travel, new schools regulary, home schooling intermittently. There were lot’s of us in my extended “family”. Other kids, some younger and some older. At age 9 I counted my first brick of $100s in a silver Haliburton case to pass the time in a hotel room. That was 1982. By ’85 it was over. 12 years of living with drugs, guns, loving parents and aunts and uncles. By ’85 everyone was in jail, dead or disappeared. Would I trade it for some Ozzie and Harriet TV dinner life? Never. I am glad for the travels, midnight dashes, scares and horrors. Is it excusable to raise children in that lifestyle? No. Does it happen still? Every day.
Stamp Out Prohibition.jpg
Protect Our Youth
Save Our Children
Kids from grow-op homes healthy, drug-free: study
While it doesn’t condone home-grown illicit substances, the research from the Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto goes on to question the frequent seizure of children from those homes as it found most kids to be healthy and free of drug exposure symptoms.
But with all the profits in Forfeiture, Confiscations and Foster Child Care it would be folly for child welfare agencies to not intervene.
Grow op kids need help
Editorial: Calgary Herald 30 Jul 2011
With questionable reasoning, a study by Motherisk, a respected research unit at Torontoâ€™s Sick Kids Hospital, suggests that children in marijuana grow ops should not be automatically removed from their homes because they face no adverse health risks. While there may be no medical justification to automatically separate them from their parents, it would be folly for child welfare agencies to not intervene.
The world hunger problem:
Facts, figures and statistics (present)
Afghanistan, Iraq, Collateral Damage and the Banality of Killing
Six people were killed and 14 were injured in the Arizona shootings, including a woman who was shot through the head and a 9-year-old girl whose life was snuffed out. Everyone is shocked over the horror, which is detailed on the front page of every newspaper across the country.
But letâ€™s face it: Such killings go on every week in Afghanistan and Iraq and have for some 10 years. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, friends, brides, grooms, and wedding parties. People are killed in those two countries every week, and the killing has now expanded to people in Pakistan.
For the kids, by the adult Neo-kids? Dung Worriers are so far past Hypocrisy it would be easier to think of them as wide eyed children waiting for Santa Claus. There is absolutely no doubt what their mission is…
Ganja and Hemp are Jobs Jobs Jobs. Take back the out sourced pesticide poison factories and fossil fools fiber and construction products and bring them home to organic family farmers and mills for feeding, clothing and sheltering we the the people. Without international or washington bottom line insanity. The Drug Tzar is the Assassin of Youth. The W.T.O. just kills them slowly. Both in the name of saving them.
Starving Babies and Illegal Food
Pro Life? Not even anti abortionists
Think of the message being sent to the kids?
How many more kids must we sacrifice before DEAth lies stop? The poisons eradicating the hemp, does more harm than smoking a bong, and removing hemp ditchweed doesn’t do a whole hellava lot for the kids finding cheap white powders profiting the same chemical and lab equipment supplies…
Fearing the message
Drug Warriors say “We need to protect the children!” as they smash open the children’s door, scare the living daylights out of the children, explode “flash bang” devices upon the children, and finally, shoot the children.
The Drug Warriors/Police are always talking about protecting the people from “threats”.
This new book should help expose the Real Threat to children. Hint: The Real Threat wears a badge.
Pa. Judge Sentenced To 28 Years In Massive Juvenile Justice Bribery Scandal
A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state’s juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presiding over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as “kids-for-cash.”
For every person arrested on drug charges, for every person gunned down by the morality police, there are dozens of innocent victims tied in some way to that same unfortunate individual.
Prohibition affects more than just the people who get busted. It can wreck entire families. Itâ€™s capable of killing all levels of human potential and human relationships by utilizing dozens of different, ideologically-based rationalizations. These tragic stories need to be told. The collateral victims of the drug war rarely, if ever, get mentioned during the glittery 6:00 oâ€™clock news spotlight featuring the latest, spectacular, action-packed drug raid. Glory seeking by prohibitionists, cops who pad their police reports with false estimates of the retail and wholesale market value of drug hauls, prosecutors who seek higher office by legitimizing state sanctioned crimes against humanity in the form of drug penalties; these agendas command the news mediaâ€™s attention instead.
Damon Barrettâ€™s book, Children of the Drug War, fills an immediate need in that regard. Other titles fitting the topic might be, â€˜Orphans of the Drug Warâ€™, or â€˜Terrorist Agents of the Drug Warâ€™, or things similar. Prohibition creates such horrendous grief and political turbulence in the world that there seems to be no limit to its unintended outcomes. Mr. Barrett would find plenty of material for a sequel should he choose to expand upon his present topic.
Children of the Drug War its on my List to read,here is another Link to book from Reason Magazine on a book titled:Joint Ventures- Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry.
Really getting sick of Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette carry on with this drugged driving crap, in addition to trying to screw up the law I helped pass and am currently benefiting from now. He’s been doing that since before he was elected.
Look, I’m from a younger generation and I can state the obvious without any hesitation. Marijuana can impair driving, but to regular users with tolerance small amounts do nothing to impair driving. I think we can all agree that zero tolerance laws for metabolites are ridiculous, but I am not afraid to go further. Most people I know who smoke do so while driving or before driving with no hesitation and cause no accidents. Everyone is surrounded by high drivers all the time but they’ll never notice because those people are simply not impaired.
I used to avoid driving high, but then one time a friend got me baked then went to lie down. This was right after he showed me his deep cut he got while working. So, I had to leave right then. Heart pounding, driving down the highway in one lane traffic. I had to pay more attention to what I was doing, but it wasn’t difficult. I went home, but my mom was in my apartment so I left immediately and went over to my aunt’s house. We were both high, but didn’t know that at the time. Later, we smoked together for the first time!
So I went from being completely against it to being used to it. Unless you’re using edibles, what I first experienced was about as hard as it can get. Since then I take a few hits of my vaporizer (I just got a car adapter for it). Instantly, I get a smile on my face and am suddenly not as worried about getting home quickly or that the traffic is annoying me. I cruise home from work on a 75 minute commute while impatient people who can’t restrict themselves to the speed limit rush around me.
I realize why no marijuana legalization organization will ever come out and say that it’s completely fine to use marijuana and drive, much like how they handle medicinal marijuana. That’s fine, because they do whatever they have to in order to reach their goal of legalization. I’m just being honest here.
Chris, I remember a discussion on Pete’s couch I had with Alan and DC about Cannabis and driving. I think some info was found showing that when using Cannabis there is initially a decrease in risk of an accident, but as dosage increases beyond this initial level so too does impairment.
I believe Canada are going to conduct a study into this by sampling after accidents? Do you have any studies that prove its ‘fine to use marijuana and drive’? Whilst I fully support the end of the drug war across the board and in all its forms, I also believe in the ‘absent harm to others’ bit when it comes to drug use. We can’t rely on anecdotal evidence when it comes to something such as driving impairment – especially as an anecdotal claim proved false would be far more damaging than a pragmatic/safe-use policy position…
I’ve been conducting research into whether or not it’s safe to drive after enjoying cannabis for just over 34 years now. There’s more than one correct answer.
People that have been enjoying cannabis for as long as I have are perfectly safe drivers unless heavily dosed with edibles. There does come a time when I wouldn’t consider going out driving. I admit it’s easier for me because I can afford a taxi if I really have to get somewhere. I vividly recall being stuck in a Wal-Mart parking lot for almost 8 hours because I misjudged the edibles and was stoned to the bejeezus belt. I slept for 5 hours sitting straight up because I was sure that if I laid out prone that the cops would arrest me even though I had the sense to secure my car keys in the trunk. That is good enough to avoid arrest in Maryland as is sleeping in the back seat.
I recall my first year or so. In hindsight it’s clear to me that I was lucky that I didn’t cause an accident back then and that I was in fact a menace to highway safety.
Neophytes = unsafe. Experience = safe unless ridiculously high.
I recall my first occasion with a Volcano or any vaporizer. That was at a dispensary in Hayward in 2005. I can’t recall the name but it was the one next door to the 12 step clubhouse. Jesus christ I was stoned that afternoon. After leaving with my purchase I had a cop follow me for almost 2 miles and I was flippin’ petrified. When he finally got a chance to pass me, well if looks could kill I’d have been on my way to the morgue. Apparently he didn’t appreciate being unable to exceed the speed limit.
It’s still a loser of an argument. The people on the outside use drinking alcohol intoxication as their benchmark. Even though all of the regulars here know it’s not a good comparison it’s how outsiders see it. Frankly I’m confident enough in my ability to either drive safely or to remove myself from the highway in times of extreme cannabinoid saturation that I’m perfectly willing to use this particular issue as a planned throwaway in negotiations with the Know Nothings. If they’ll leave me alone when I’m not driving they can make it felony with a 5 year mandatory jail term if it makes them feel better. There isn’t an accomplished negotiator that doesn’t carry planned throwaway “demands” into a negotiation. Since after 34 years I’m fully convinced that I’m not going to get pulled over or even noticed it’s really not worth arguing about.
You’ll never hear me argue with a Know Nothing that driving after enjoying cannabis isn’t a hazard. It’s a total loser of an argument. It’s simply inconsequential whether or not it’s true or false. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t gotten even a traffic ticket since 1997 and that ticket was because my tires were almost due for replacing which resulted in my causing a fender bender in a traffic intersection when it was raining. IIRC total repairs to both vehicles was just over $500 and even back then you could cause $500 of damage to a vehicle just by farting in its general direction. They won’t care that I’ve gotten a letter from my auto insurance company every year since 2000 telling me that I’ve earned their lowest rate available because of my exemplary driving record.
But finally we may get some honest research on the subject. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it will be at least 2016 before the research study is completed.
I’m sure that it will come as a shock to these researchers when they discover that their question would have been more accurately phrased “If you smoke two joints, what is the actual [risk] of being in a crash and how much lower is it than if youâ€™re sober?â€
Duncan, firstly apologies for not including you in my original post as I’m sure you, like now, gave a lot of very informative info to that debate.
In some ways its strange that there has never been a study as large as CARBC study, as surely if someone wanted to further stigmatise Cannabis then ‘drugged driving’ (not ‘metabolite driving’) would have been a great way to conclusively prove it (as with Alcohol).. or were they aware that the results would be more ambiguous than for Alcohol..?
Your point about experience and knowing when to not drive is a valid, if not contentious, one. I’m sure there are some drivers who are as experienced/good as yourself but who will take the risk instead of deciding not to drive. This really gets to the crux of the issue – how does Cannabis impair a driver. What isn’t needed is metabolite readings but better field impairment tests http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article703671.ece. Here in the UK they aren’t talked about that much. But as that article mentions, use doesn’t necessarily imply impairment on the ‘standard test’ – I’m pretty sure I’ve read about fighter pilots being given amphetamines to stay awake on long missions, so if govts are willing to entrust $30m of military hardware with certain drugs but not others, use, or metabolites of use, cannot be the sole factor. I wouldn’t presume to say I know how this hurdle can be overcome but something has to be implemented that actually judges the impairment fairly so the roads stay safe and people aren’t either penalised or let off unfairly. Personally I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving under the influence of any drug so avoid mixing the two..
p.s. 5 hours sleeping sitting up and 8 hours in a walmart car park, bet it took you a while before you could laugh about that! :-p
I saw you post on mlive, but I figured that’s how you felt Duncan. I understand why it’s clearly not a argument that one should ever use, but I can’t help but be honest about the reality of how safe and commonplace driving high actually is.