The House I Live In

Programming note: Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about over-incarceration in the United States and the drug war is the video of the week on iTunes and so is available this week only for a 99 cent rental.

The House I Live In

As America remains embroiled in conflict overseas, a less visible war is taking place at home, costing countless lives, destroying families, and inflicting untold damage on future generations of Americans. Over forty years, the War on Drugs has accounted for more than 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Filmed in more than twenty states, The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories from individuals at all levels of America’s War on Drugs. From the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge, the film offers a penetrating look inside America’s longest war, offering a definitive portrait and revealing its profound human rights implications.

While recognizing the seriousness of drug abuse as a matter of public health, the film investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have meant it is more often treated as a matter for law enforcement, creating a vast machine that feeds largely on America’s poor, and especially on minority communities. Beyond simple misguided policy, The House I Live In examines how political and economic corruption have fueled the war for forty years, despite persistent evidence of its moral, economic, and practical failures.

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12 Responses to The House I Live In

  1. Dante says:

    The War on Drugs is the American equivalent of “ethnic cleansing”. A distinct community of humans is targeted for destruction by another distinct community of humans.

    Didn’t we put people in jail for that? In the former Yugoslavia? Didn’t we call them “war criminals”?

    Why aren’t the Drug Warriors being treated the same?

  2. Matthew Meyer says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, Pete. I look forward to getting to watch this, finally.

  3. Servetus says:

    A new set of subcategories for drug users has arisen that feature others besides the poor and oppressed in ‘The House I Live In’:

    New research from the University of Cambridge has found that recreational drug users who have not developed a dependence have an abnormally large frontal lobe, the section of the brain implicated in self-control. Their research was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

    The study involves cocaine users distinguished by their ability to avoid addiction, but the observations probably apply to other drugs and drug users.

    The paper confirms that some people can handle certain drugs, while others can’t, which is what we observe.

  4. claygooding says:

    HighTimes cannabis cup will be Aug 20,21 in Denver,,,

    Sounds like a good place for a meet up.

  5. stlgonzo says:

    Obama Has Three Big Priorities This Term, and Ending the Drug War Isn’t One of Them

  6. stlgonzo says:


    Raldey has another installment about Hayne and West. Ready it if your ready for your daily nut punch.

    My Invesgitation in Mississippi – Radley Balko

  7. Mooky says:

    Just watched this last night! FINALLY!!!! literally been waiting months for this to be remotely accessible to view.

    Excellent work on all fronts. I’d love the opportunity to be involved with the making a documentary of this sort.

  8. Servetus says:

    Some things never change. In The House I Live In, the government’s orchestration of the drug war is a traditional eliminationist approach. Eliminationism involves techniques used to whack the poor as a final solution to poverty, except in this case it’s being used as a final solution to drug users as well. Population control guru Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766 – 1834) provided one of the first roadmaps for eliminating the poor, and of late the casual drug user:

    To act consistently, therefore, we should facilitate…the operations of nature in producing this mortality…. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns, we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshes and unhealthy situations. But above all we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and those benevolent, much mistaken men who thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders…. The necessary mortality must come, in some form or other, and the extirpation of one disease will only be a signal for the birth of another perhaps more fatal. We cannot lower the waters of misery by passing them down in different places, which must necessarily make them rise somewhere else; the only way in which we can hope to effect our purpose is by drawing them off. [Malthus 1803, 236], quote taken from Micheal Perelman, The Invention of Capitalism, 2000, 310.

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