The Failed War on Drugs: December Edtion

Time for the December Edition of the Failed War on Drugs. Resources and links illustrating the futility of trying to legislate people’s chemical preferences.

And we have a Christmas stocking full of stories, links and ONE job opportunity for a student anti-Drug Warrior!

First, a look at the latest Zogby Poll concerning drug use and Americans.

December 5, 2007
99% of Americans Wouldn’t Use Hard Drugs If They Were Legalized
Zogby Poll Suggests Prohibition Doesn’t Reduce Use

Washington, DC — Marking the 74th anniversary of the repeal of national Alcohol Prohibition, StoptheDrugWar.org today released polling results suggesting that drug prohibition’s main supporting argument may be simply wrong. Drug policy reformers point to a wide range of demonstrated social harms created by the drug laws — crime and violence, spread of infectious diseases, official corruption, easy funding for terrorist groups, to name a few — while prohibitionists argue that use and addiction would explode if drugs were legalized. But is the prohibitionist assumption well-founded?

Zogby polling data released today asked 1,028 likely voters, “If hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine were legalized, would you be likely to use them?” Ninety-ninety percent of respondents answered, “No.” Only 0.6 percent said “Yes.” The remaining 0.4 percent weren’t sure.

The results are similar to usage rates occurring today under the “drug war,” as measured by the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (formerly the National Household Survey). The 2006 NSDUH found 0.3 percent of the population had used heroin in the past month and 2.4 percent had used cocaine. Even for cocaine, the numbers are compatible, because Zogby surveyed persons aged 18 years and up, while NSDUH begins with age 12; and because of the poll’s statistical margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

A comparison of drug use rates in countries with criminal penalties for drug use with the drug use rates of countries that have decriminalized personal use also suggests that policy may play only a secondary role in determining use rates. For example, in the Netherlands, where marijuana is sold openly in the famous “coffee shops,” 12 percent of young adults age 15-24 reported using marijuana during 2005, as compared with 24 percent in neighboring France, where marijuana is an arrestable offense, according to data compiled by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.In the United States, where police make nearly 800,000 marijuana arrests each year, young adults age 18-25 in the 2004-2005 survey year reported past-year marijuana use at the rate of 27.9 percent.

David Borden, StoptheDrugWar.org’s executive director, commented when releasing the Zogby data:

“Prohibition is sending hundreds of billions of dollars per year into the global criminal underground. That money fuels crime and disorder on the streets of our cities, while simultaneously helping to finance international terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, inflation-adjusted cocaine prices are a fifth of what they were 30 years ago, and any kid who wants to join the Mafia can sign up to deal it in his school. Addicts are harmed by the prohibition policy worst of all. It’s time to stop shooting ourselves in the feet, and to control and regulate drugs through legalization.”

The full Zogby poll results, and additional information, are available online at: http://stopthedrugwar.org/legalization/

StoptheDrugWar.org (still known to many of our readers as DRCNet, the Drug Reform Coordination Network), is an international organization working for an end to drug prohibition worldwide and for reform of drug policy and the criminal justice system in the US. Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle for the latest issue of our weekly, in-depth newsletter, Drug War Chronicle.

Next, a collection of articles and links from Stop the Drug War.org.

# FEATURE: THE 2007 INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY REFORM CONFERENCE — MR. COSTA MEETS THE OPPOSITION
The 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference opened with a bang Thursday in New Orleans as the United Nation’s top drug fighter addressed a skeptical and sometimes hostile audience.

# FEATURE: THE BIBLE, A BLACK BAG, AND A DRUG DOG — A FLORIDA DRUG WAR STORY
In the latest installment of the Chronicle’s occasional series on the day-to-day workings of the drug war, we go to Florida, where a drug interdiction exercise disguised as a traffic enforcement effort, some sheriff’s radio shenanigans, a suspicious Bible, and a drug dog left one Key West man wondering what hit him.

Need a job?

# STUDENTS: INTERN AT DRCNET AND HELP STOP THE DRUG WAR!
Apply for an internship at DRCNet for this fall (or spring), and you could spend the semester fighting the good fight!

And now, a video report:


CORRUPTION

# LAW ENFORCEMENT: THIS WEEK’S CORRUPT COPS STORIES
Troopers telling lies, troopers selling cocaine, cops peddling coke, Border Patrols agents peddling pot, cops peddling cocaine and pot, but not a single jail or prison guard this week!

# LAW ENFORCEMENT: THIS WEEK’S CORRUPT COPS STORIES
An Indiana drug task force faces some questions over seized goods, the NYPD can’t find some drug evidence, a Texas crime lab tech gets greedy, and so does an Indiana cop.

# SENTENCING: RACIAL DISPARITIES IN DRUG SENTENCES THE NORM IN THE NATION’S MOST POPULOUS COUNTIES, STUDY FINDS
A report released this week by the Justice Policy Institute finds that racially disparate sentencing is the norm in the nation’s most populous counties.

# LATIN AMERICA: MEXICO’S PRESIDENT SAYS FIGHTING DRUGS, CRIME HIS HIGHEST PRIORITY
One year after he took office, Mexican President Felipe Calderon says the war on drugs remains his highest priority. Some 24,000 troops are in the field, but the traffic and the violence appear to continue unabated.

# EUROPE: BRITISH DRUG COUNCIL CALLS FOR HEROIN, COCAINE PRESCRIBING BY NURSES, PHARMACISTS, CHIDES GOVERNMENT’S DRUG STRATEGY CONSULTATION
As Britain’s Labor government prepares to announce a new long-term drug strategy in the spring, the battle is heating up. Now, the government’s own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is calling for nurses and pharmacists to be able to prescribe heroin and cocaine, and chiding the government for making a joke of consultations around the new strategy.

THIS WEEK IN DRUG HISTORY

# WEEKLY: THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
Events and quotes of note from this week’s drug policy events of years past.

# WEEKLY: THIS WEEK IN HISTORY

# FEATURE: PRESSURE MOUNTS ON CONGRESS AS SUPREME COURT, SENTENCING COMMISSION BOTH ACT TO CUT CRACK COCAINE SENTENCES
Both the US Sentencing Commission and the US Supreme Court acted this week to reduce the harsh sentences for federal crack cocaine offenders. But because of congressionally imposed mandatory minimum sentences, Congress must act to further reduce the injustice.

# FEATURE: DRUG REFORM GOES TO THE BIG EASY — THE 2007 INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY REFORM CONFERENCE, NEW ORLEANS
The 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference took place last weekend in New Orleans. Here is a taste of what is was like.

# FEATURE: LATEST TEEN DRUG USE NUMBERS OUT — WHITE HOUSE CLAIMS SUCCESS, CRITICS SAY NOT SO FAST
The latest annual Monitoring the Future survey of teen drug use is out, and the Bush administration is claiming the numbers vindicate its anti-drug strategy. But a host of critics disagree.

# WEEKLY: BLOGGING @ THE SPEAKEASY
“Drug Czar Makes Absurd Claim That the Drug War Reduces Teen Tobacco Use,” “Clinton Staffer Attacks Obama Over Past Drug Use,” “Why Doesn’t the DEA Just Crack Down on Medical Marijuana?,” “U.S. Recommends Early Release for 19,500 Crack Offenders,” “Ron Paul Blames Prostitution on the Drug War,” “You Don’t Want This!” “A Few Pardons Today — Meanwhile the Pardon Attorney’s Web Site Hasn’t Been Updated Since the Clinton Administration.” “Crack Sentencing Changes Made Retroactive!,” “Is Rep. Dana Rohrabacher a Legalizer?,” “Some Good News from the Supreme Court on Crack Sentencing.”

# MEDICAL MARIJUANA: DEA THREATENS SAN FRANCISCO DISPENSARY LANDLORDS, DISPENSARIES SUE, CONYERS TO HOLD HEARINGS
In its battle against medical marijuana dispensaries, the DEA has brought its landlord-threatening letter campaign to San Francisco. Now, the dispensaries are suing in federal court, and the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the matter.

# LAW ENFORCEMENT: SNITCH IN DEADLY ATLANTA RAID CASE SUES
Alex White made a career out of being an informant for Atlanta police, but when they asked him to lie for them in the Kathryn Johnston case, he instead went to the feds. Now he’s suing the Atlanta police, claiming his career as a snitch has been ruined.

# EUROPE: SWISS PARLIAMENT REJECTS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
The Swiss parliament has rejected a popular initiative calling for the legalization of marijuana. But the Swiss Senate must still debate it, and it could go to a popular vote.

# DEATH PENALTY: VIETNAM IN DEATH SENTENCE FRENZY, 35 CONDEMNED FOR DRUGS IN PAST TWO WEEKS
Vietnamese courts have handed down death sentences to 35 drug traffickers in the past two weeks as the Southeast Asian nation makes a serious bid to be the world’s leading executioner of drug offenders. Iran killed some too.

# WEB SCAN
Talvi and Bock on DPA conference, IHRA drugs/death penalty report, HRW/TATAG Thailand drug users and AIDS treatment report, Cannabinoid Chronicles, syringe exchange programs in 2005.

Russell Blackford presents >Leave Hingis alone – on tennis and cocaine posted at Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.

Our thanks to Drug War Chronicles for the heapin’ helpin’ of links and articles!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

notes: Mondoreb
video tip: RAPH

January Edition of Failed Drug War: January 20, 2008.

Back editions of DBKP’s Failed Drug War are kept at Failed Drug War.


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