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The Racket

A friend shares his personal story:

In 2010, as part of my conditions of probation, I was asked to enter a drug treatment program for treatment of my dependence on cannabis.

I was reccomended a treatment center by the court system, which I went to. The guy who owned the treatment center sat down and did my intake appointment… we ended up getting pretty friendly and he came out of left field with the following request….. “if you can help me out I can help you out”. What ended up happening was I paid the guy $200 for his pocket, $200 for the classes, and he signed a paper saying that I had completed 20 hours of drug treatment………

Now, at the moment, I did it. Of course. I smoke pot… I’m not dependent on substances, I was happy to not have to sit through a bullshit class about drug dependency and DUI’s. But as time has gone on and I see how our criminal justice system works it truly saddens me and I had to speak up about it. Our criminal justice system is a RACKET, the war on drugs is a joke and if people don’t wake the fuck up and try to make a change……. we stay in the same revolving circle. [...] Truly makes me sick.

Just one of an incredibly long list of rackets driven by this drug war.

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Hanging’s too good for him

At least that’s apparently the view Iran has of drug offenders.

Reminiscent of over-the-top villian movies where the bad guy tortures his victim to death, and then brings them back to life in order to exact more torture…

Iran to hang drug dealer twice

According to official state media, a doctor declared the man dead after the 12 minute-hanging, but when the prisoner’s family went to collect his body the following day he was found to still be breathing.

He is currently in hospital, but a judge reportedly said he would be executed again “once medical staff confirm his health condition is good enough”.

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Drug War Profiteers

I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about the Sunrise police before, but this is an amazing investigative report in the Sun Sentinel:

Cops. Cash. Cocaine. How Sunrise police make millions selling drugs by Megan O’Matz and John Maines.

In most drug stings, the police attempt to buy drugs from dealers. But in Sunrise, the police sell the drugs. And instead of trying to bust people in their community, they lure people to Sunrise from all over the country to buy cocaine from the police, and then take their money and cars.

They have a network of informants who go out and find buyers and get them to come to Sunrise. Some of these informants are paid (usually a percent of the take), while others are victims of previous reverse stings and now are working to reduce their sentences. One paid informant has made over $800,000 in the past 5 years.

This investigative report has amazing detail, down to the individual amounts that informants have been paid and the incredible amount of overtime paid to police (from their profits, of course).

Kudos to the writers for bringing all this detail to light and showing just how much the drug war is a profit-driven business.

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Ethan Nadelmann on drug policy reform

Ethan gave a particularly stirring and effective speech at the Nantucket Project last week.

I enjoyed this quote defining who we are as drug policy reformers:

We’re the people who love drugs, we’re the people who hate drugs, we’re the people who don’t give a damn about drugs, but every one of us believes that the war on drugs is not the way to deal with the reality of drugs in our society.

Yep.

The speech is about 20 minutes, but it’s quite engaging, so the time flies by. Very nice job and worth a watch.

I struggled a little bit with his drug policy reform objective statement:

The objective of drug policy reform is to reduce the role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control to the maximum extent consistent with protecting public safety and health.

I think it’s a good statement — he’s definitely on the right track and he’s trying not to make it even longer or more convoluted, but I guess my own bias is that I’m not sure that “reduce” is a sufficiently strong term when talking about the criminal justice system and drug policy. Because it isn’t just a matter of lessening the devastation of the criminal justice system, but also of recognizing that other methods besides the criminal justice system can be more effective in reducing the harms of drug abuse (without adding their own harms).

Perhaps adding two words: “…to reduce and replace the role of criminalization…” would strengthen that statement a bit.

Alternatively, I might take a different approach to the notion and say that the ultimate goal of drug policy reform is to achieve a system of drug controls whereby the negative effects of drug abuse are lessened to the extent possible without adding negative effects to society from the controls themselves. (That’s also not perfect, but I may continue to work on it.)

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More drug war follies

bullet image Rochester, New York, police apparently never heard of the First Amendment’s right to assemble. ‘Drug free zones’ proposal for Rochester neighborhoods

Rochester City Council member Adam McFadden is proposing a law that would create drug free zones in the city of Rochester. It would mean that police officers would have the authority to arrest anyone who is loitering in front of a home, a businesses or on a street corners…no questions asked.

bullet image Number of babies born with drug addition rising – that’s right – drug addition (same mistake is made in the body of the article).

It’s not just the spelling. The whole article is a joke.

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