Skip to comments.Legalizing Drugs And Opening The Border Will Only Worsen Our Nation’s Addiction Crisis
Posted on 01/05/2021 8:17:01 AM PST by Kaslin
In the 1990s, it was our collective national will to do what was necessary, however distasteful to some, to rescue our society from catastrophe.
As the nation prepares for the incoming Biden-Harris administration the new president promises will be “the most progressive in history,” many drug policy practitioners wonder with trepidation what this will mean for the country’s drug crisis.
Record levels of methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl, not to mention surging tonnage of cocaine and black market marijuana, are pouring across our borders at the hands of ruthless Mexican drug cartels, directly fueling ever-increasing overdose deaths and crime. So leftists’ stated objectives and record on drugs and crime should worry all Americans.
We can get a preview of the new administration’s more “nuanced” counterdrug approach by examining “The Biden Plan to End the Opioid Crisis” from the campaign. It doesn’t look promising. Long on therapeutic programs and short on reducing drug availability through border security and targeting drug trafficking organizations, it boldly declares that “Biden will tackle this crisis by making sure people have access to high quality health care.”
It also proudly calls for an incomprehensible $125 billion in additional spending to “make prevention, treatment and recovery services available to all,” which will accomplish little more than expanding the already bloated government-sponsored compassion industry. Bowing to the far left wing of the party, the Biden plan also promises to “reform the criminal justice system so that no one is incarcerated for drug use alone”—a debunked myth.
Virtually no one goes to prison for simply using drugs, especially at the federal level. According to a 2015 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only about 16 percent of our state prisoners are there for drug offenses—nearly all for distribution. Drug possession accounts for only 3.6 percent of the total. Federally, nearly all drug offenders (99.5 percent) are serving time for major trafficking.
The incessant cry from the radical left (and often the libertarian right) that “the war on drugs has failed” has lately been destructively amplified with demands to “defund,” or “abolish,” or even “f-ck the police.” Their misguided and malicious charges that U.S. law enforcement professionals are the principal perpetrators of “systemic racism” and “mass incarceration” reveal a breathtaking ignorance about what is required to maintain safety and order on the mean streets of modern America.
Such reckless slogans by the far-left wing of the Democrat Party have been matched with equally reckless action. From House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s repeated attempts to legalize marijuana at the federal level—most recently by passing the MORE Act in the House of Representatives on Dec. 4—to Oregon decriminalizing the possession of even heroin and methamphetamine at the state level, to Seattle sponsoring “safe-injection sites” for heroin users across the city, such catastrophic actions mainly serve to demonstrate how enlightened, sophisticated and caring leftist leaders are in their approach to the drug war.
Attempting to excuse or medicalize the entire drug crisis, while vilifying the police for “filling our prisons with drug users,” not only makes the problem worse, but undermines the ability of our criminal justice system to reduce the predatory behavior of individuals and organizations that seek to prey upon our fellow citizens for profit.
To argue that the drug problem should be solved therapeutically, not criminally, simply because it involves the “medical” problem of addiction, ignores the role that drug availability plays in developing and expanding new markets. Would one make the same argument in attempting to deal with the trafficking of child pornography by pursuing only treatment and prevention programs for the addicted?
Few remember that when President Nixon declared his “war against drugs” in 1971, his principal weapon in our national struggle was actually drug treatment. Recognizing the need to reduce the alarming rise of drug use in our society, Nixon increased drug treatment funding eight-fold within two years, consuming nearly two-thirds of our total federal drug control budget.
But the president—and the country—came to learn the limitations of government’s ability to affect behavior solely through therapeutic means. Without the ability to compel drug users into long-term treatment, most attempts at drug treatment failed miserably and repeatedly—an outcome that largely continues today.
Landmark research from Boston University in 2006 and detailed in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment put the mean number of drug treatment episodes at 6.9 times over a six-and-one-half-year period. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health published findings in 2010 which revealed that more than 90 percent of opioid users tragically returned to their drug use following treatment, most within one week. That’s why they call it a “chronic, relapsing condition.”
So, too, with drug prevention. Drug policy expert Mark Kleiman from New York University has written that, although we so want to believe in its efficacy (after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure) “the hard scientific evidence concerning drug prevention” has shown completely “underwhelming results.” He further notes, “Even the best prevention programs have only modest effects on actual behavior, and many programs have no effect at all on drug use.”
We have learned through experience that, although drug prevention and treatment programs must continue to be made available and improved upon through evidence-based practices in order to help at the margins, government’s role—not that of society-at-large, but government—can make the greatest positive impact by reducing drug availability. That is, interdicting drug shipments and arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning drug dealers.
In fact, over the long-term, given the continuing limited success of treatment and prevention programs, drug enforcement may be the most effective, and compassionate, anti-drug program available to us today.
It has been perplexing to see former senator Biden denounce the 1994 Crime Bill—one he helped draft, and that received overwhelming support from the Congressional Black Caucus and the African American community—to pander to radical, anti-law and order groups demanding the dangerously unrealistic nullification of our police.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was a direct response to the explosion of crime and violence that accompanied the crack scourge across the country in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, one that incontrovertibly caused homicide rates in most of our cities to intolerably spike to record levels in 1993. That is, until now.
Thanks to a deadly combination of sentimental, i.e., “woke,” ideologies that excuse criminal behavior, combined with new and ever-more potent and addictive drugs flooding into our communities, homicide numbers are breaking new records across the land this year.
Legalizing drugs will make people easier to control. What’s a few extra deaths to the marxists?
Yyyeahhh. I think that’s the whole idea, kemosabe.
Are they too drunk with decadence to understand?
Are they so blinded by the mass psychosis that now grips America that they have lost all contact with reality?
Like Sun Tzu wrote, imbed operatives in your enemy’s camp to help destroy them from within!
Doctors know best, first do no harm. I believe the AMA endorsed Demented Biden. They’re so bad they can’t even notice that the guy is incapable of handling an unrehearsed question, good grief.
Yo, China, that wasn't us. That was Great Britain. We kicked their asses out of this country for their destructive little practices. Go get them. Leave us alone.
That is exactly what the globalists want to do. In their perverted minds America must be destroyed for the planet to be saved.
Legalizing drugs would render the cartels bankrupt and leave that industry to Americans.
You're out of your mind. How does the government control people that are high PCP, LSD or some other narcotic that makes one lose control of one's sense?
And, who the hell wants the government trying to control them?
Legalizing drugs means more addicts, more deaths due to homicide and negligent behavior and more durg-addicted citizens incapable of working.
Meanwhile, Good Morning America is pushing “Dry January”, to help the health of people who have been drinking more during lockdown.
Have you ever looked into what happened in Portugal when they decriminalized possession in 1999?
Might surprise you that 20 years later number of users and deaths are down considerably.
IÃ¢ÂÂd rather hang with a bunch of stoners than with a bunch of drunks...drunks will get you killed...Ã°ÂÂÂ
Oh noooo, you are just being irrationally hysterical. So says the left
NOT ACCORDING TO FREEREPUBLIC’S STEENKING LIBERTARIANS! OPEN BORDERS! FREE SMACK AND COKE! IT’S THEIR UTOPIA!
A human being thats been high for months to years is much easier make dependent on the system not just the drugs. And then be USED as a WEAPON while in a semi-mindless state incapable of real rational thought. It knows few things more than 1)need to get high soon. 2)need to keep welfare 3)my ‘owners’ tell me that Trump is evil and to burn, riot, etc.
Thats why drugs are legalized!
I think you are 100% RIGHT!
Should we decriminalize?
It seems to me the question is not whether you or I should care about what a third party puts into his body, that is afterall a moral judgment, rather, the question is whether the government should care about what someone puts into his body?
Clearly the government has a constitutional right to regulate and criminalize drugs just as it has the right to regulate food and ethical drugs. The question is not whether it's constitutional but whether it is good public policy.
Seems to me that if a government prohibition on the use of drugs actually eliminated drug use, few except perhaps some aging hippies and top models would argue vehemently against such laws which would redeem so many wretched lives. But experience has shown that government fiat does not eliminate drug use. So the real question is, does government prohibition reduce drug use? And if it does, is the price worth paying? It is not entirely clear that the laws against drug use actually reduce their use because the prohibition itself creates a financial incentive which works to subsidize its use. The government has never found a way to eliminate or reduce drug usage without inserting a profit factor. Worse, the more the government is effective in reducing the inflow of illegal drugs, the more it creates a counter incentive of increased profitability by the law of supply and demand. Perversely, since the drugs tend to be addictive there is a physical compulsion to seek more of the drug and, since government efforts to eliminate it inevitably raise its price, users who are in withdrawal are tempted to finance their habits by becoming dealers. So it is not clear whether the government's efforts to reduce drugs by prohibiting their use actually does more harm than good.
One of the prices we pay for our government's campaign against drugs is certainly a loss of liberty. I tend towards the Libertarian's view that it is none of the government's damn business what I put in my body. However, I recognize that such usage inevitably presents a risk to society. I do not want inebriated drivers plowing into my automobile whether they are drunk on alcohol or drugs. But society has learned a hard lesson, that it is better to make the drunk driving the crime but not the consumption of alcohol itself.
Another price we pay is a loss of privacy. Mandatory testing of both government and private employees is to some degree intrusive. Queries about drug use and application forms are equally intrusive. Undercover agents operating in public bathrooms is an affront to our dignity. Eavesdropping of telephone conversations is unquestionably an invasion of privacy. It is the reduction, or rather the presumed reduction, if any, in the amount of drug usage obtained by these intrusions worth the price?
We pay a great financial price as well. The war on drugs costs us billions of dollars annually in enforcement and incarceration costs. Is this money well spent?
There is an insidious price as well: corruption and its handmaiden, cynicism. Our police, our border agents, our judges, one might say the entire criminal justice apparatus has been infected with a corruption generated by the huge profits to be made-profits which are there only because the government by its policies has created them. Inevitably cynicism results in the whole of the people beginning to despise rather than revere the rule of law.
Because drugs are illegal, the price is high and profits are enormous. Yet we send our boys to fight in Afghanistan to deprive Taliban chieftains of their poppy fields which finance at least indirectly the very terrorism we fight against. Would it not be better simply to eliminate the profits in poppies by legalizing the drug? Can we ever hope to bring sanity to Columbia while we in effect subsidize narcos by billions of dollars a year? Is the damage to our foreign policy, like the damage to our precious rule of law, worth what benefit we get from criminalizing drugs use?
On balance, I have to throw my lot in with William F. Buckley and say that the war against drugs is lost and we ought to try a new tact.
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