The War on Drugs

...now browsing by category

 

The War on Drugs

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Author: Matthew C. K.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Some say  the war on drugs is a lost so legalize it all. They make the argument  that we should be free to do as we wish, but is there a point in which  we need to try to make this world a better place? The problem is that  the approach that we have been taking isn’t helping anyone.  The total  cost of the war on drugs is at $25,357,900,000 and rising.  Worst than that is the cost of lives;

In 2002, 45.3 percent of the 1,538,813 total arrests for drug abuse  violations were for marijuana — a total of 697,082. Of those, 613,986  people were arrested for marijuana possession alone. This is a slight  decrease from 2000, when a total of 734,497 Americans were arrested for marijuana offenses, of which 646,042 were for possession alone.

 

Marijuana Arrests and Total Drug Arrests in the US
Year Total Drug Arrests Total Marijuana Arrests Marijuana Trafficking/Sale Arrests Marijuana Possession Arrests
2002 1,538,813 697,082 83,096 613,986
2001 1,586,902 723,628 82,519 641,109
2000 1,579,566 734,497 88,455 646,042
1999 1,532,200 704,812 84,271 620,541
1998 1,559,100 682,885 84,191 598,694
1995 1,476,100 588,964 85,614 503,350
1990 1,089,500 326,850 66,460 260,390
1980 580,900 401,982 63,318 338,664

 

I don’t believe in legalizing pot, but I do believe in  decriminalizing it. What is the difference? One way incarcerates and the  other rehabilitates. We need to look into the reasons for the drug  abuse and try to correct them.  This link might be of some help.

Drug War Distortions - link to home page

 

 

 

 

Distortion 1: Drug Use Post-Prohibition

Distortion 1: If drugs were legalized there would be an explosion of drug use.

Incorrect.   The available research, as affirmed by a recent Federal analysis of  drug policy, indicates there would be little if any increase in use.  From 1972 to 1978, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession  (covering one-third of the US population) and 33 other states reduced  punishment to probation with record erased after six months to one year.   Yet, after 1978 marijuana use steadily declined for over a decade.  Decriminalization did not increase marijuana use.

[National   Research Council, “Informing America’s Policy On Illegal Drugs: What We  Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us” (Washington, DC: National Academy Press,  2001), pp. 192-193.]

The   Netherlands decriminalized possession and allowed small scale sales of   marijuana beginning in 1976. Yet, marijuana use in Holland is half the   rate of use in the USA. It is also lower than the United Kingdom which   had continued to treat possession as a crime. The UK is now moving  toward decriminalization.

[Center   for Drug Research, “Licit and Illicit Drug Use in The Netherlands 1997”  (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands: CEDRO, 1999; Netherlands  Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, “Drug Policy in the Netherlands:  Progress Report Sept. 1997-Sept. 1999 (The Hague, The Netherlands:  Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Nov. 1999); US Dept. of Health  and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services  Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse 1998, 1999, and  2000 (Washington, DC: SAMHSA).

According   to the Center for Drug Research in its report Licit and Illicit Drug  Use in The Netherlands 1997, past-year cannabis use in The Netherlands  is estimated at 4.5% for the entire population; past-month use is 2.5%. In the United States, according to NIDA’s National Household Survey on Drug Abuse for 2000, past-year cannabis use is 8.3% of the US population  12 and older, and past-month use is 4.8%.]

If   there is an increase in the reported rate of drug use after the end of   prohibition, it may be due to an increased willingness to admit to being  a drug user. Currently, such an admission means admitting to breaking  the law, which social scientists point out discourages honesty.

[National   Research Council, “Informing America’s Policy On Illegal Drugs”  (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001): “It is widely thought  that nonresponse and inaccurate response may cause surveys such as the  NHSDA and MTF to underestimate the prevalence of drug use in the  surveyed populations (Caspar, 1992).” (p. 93)]

“Most   cross-state comparisons in the United States (as well as in Australia;   see McGeorge and Aitken, 1997) have found no significant differences in  the prevalence of marijuana use in decriminalized and nondecriminalized  states (e.g., Johnston et al., 1981; Single, 1989; DiNardo and Lemieux,  1992; Thies and Register, 1993). Even in the few studies that find an  effect on prevalence, it is a weak one. For example, using pooled data  from the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse for 1988, 1990 and  1991, Saffer and Chaloupka (1995) found that marijuana decriminalization  increased past-year marijuana use by 6 to 7 percent and past-month use  by 4 to 5 percent. Using Monitoring The Future survey data for 1982 and  1989, Chaloupka et al. (1998) estimated that decriminalizing marijuana  in all states would raise the number of youths using marijuana in a  given year by 4 to 5 percent compared with the number using it when  marijuana use is criminalized in all states; however, they also found no  relationship between decriminalization and past-month use or frequency  of use.” Source: National Research Council, “Informing America’s Policy  on Illegal Drugs” (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001) pp.  192-193 According to the Center for Drug Research in its report Licit  and Illicit Drug Use in The Netherlands 1997, past-year cannabis use in  The Netherlands is estimated at 4.5% for the entire population;  past-month use is 2.5%. In the United States, according to NIDA’s  National Household Survey on Drug Abuse for 2000, past-year cannabis use  is 8.3% of the US population 12 and older, and past-month use is 4.8%.  Sources: Center for Drug Research, “Licit and Illicit Drug Use in The  Netherlands 1997” (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands: CEDRO,  1999; Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, “Drug Policy in  the Netherlands: Progress Report Sept. 1997-Sept. 1999 (The Hague, The  Netherlands: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Nov. 1999); US Dept.  of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health  Services Administration, Summary of Findings from the 2000 National  Household Survey on Drug Abuse (Washington, DC: SAMHSA). “Still, several  broad conclusions about misreporting have been drawn. At the most basic  level, there appears to be consistent evidence that some respondents  misreport their drug use behavior. More specifically, valid  self-reporting of drug use appears to depend on the timing of the event and the social desirability of the drug. Recent use may be subject to  higher rates of bias. Misreporting rates may be higher for stigmatized  drugs, such as cocaine, than for marijuana. False negative reports seem to increase as drug use becomes increasingly stigmatized. The fraction of false negative reports appears to exceed the fraction of false  positive reports, although these differences vary by cohorts. Finally,  the validity rates can be affected by the data collection methodology.  Surveys that can effectively ensure confidentiality and anonymity and  that are conducted in noncoerced settings will tend to have relatively  low misreporting rates.” (NRC, “Informing America’s Policy on Illegal  Drugs,” pp. 99-100)

Please post all new comments at http://www.free-fire-zone.com/post?id=5242398&pid=1268524007#post1268524007