Drug Use = Drug Abuse?
Quick History of the War and its Propaganda
Freedoms and Economics
Being Legal & Consequential "Education"
How America's War Effects The World
The Prison Industrial Complex
The Straight Edge Attitude
To be anti-War On Drug and anti-drug... an interesting position? Hardly. To me, giving people free reign to do what they will for themselves, yet choosing not to partake in self-destructive behavior is the sign of a truly civilized society. Such a set-up would allow people to approach drug addiction as a social ailment, instead of the present legal problem.
It seems an interesting ideological crux that the supposedly most-free country in the world has the highest percentage of incarcerated citizens (we recently surpassed South Africa for this honor). Why is this? Some would argue that it is because we give people too much freedom, and thus human nature causes people to abuse their freedom and violate the law. But aren't the laws that the majority of "criminals" are in for, actual proof of a less free society? Laws of restriction are quite obviously restrictions on personal freedom.
What is the great crime of illegal drugs anyway? Sure, they destroy lives. But doesn't down-sizing, divorce, and alcohol destroy lives too? It would also seem that such destroyers are more proficient with their wrath than drugs are. Few would deny that alcohol is engrained in our society, nor would anyone deny that there are increasingly high divorce rates in the US. Down-sizing (a media-friendly word for mass firing of workers) the last couple of years has consumed hundreds of thousands of lives, not to mention destroying entire communities. But, illegal drugs? Percentage-wise, there are far more alcohol and tobacco abusers, who are dying from deadlier drugs than illegal drug users.
Drug Use = Drug Abuse?
Another important differentiation to make in regards to illegal drugs is the commonly-used catch phrase "drug abuse" to refer to any occasion in which a drug is consumed. This makes little sense, since when one drinks a beer, we do not immediately identify it as "alcohol abuse". However, if 15 beers are consumed four days a week, we can safely entitle this behavior as alcohol abuse. This distinction is made with alcohol. What is it about illegal drugs that causes this same standard not to be applied? Why is the consumption of one marijuana joint considered drug abuse, just as the consumption of 10 joints would be (which is quite outlandish, based on the physical effects of marijuana and how such excess would simply be pointless). It thus seems that media and political leaders are attempting to classify all drug use as drug abuse, whereas this can obviously not always be the case.
The term "drug use" is consistently seen as an off-limits term, a non-existent practice. If such a event as "drug use" occurred it would indicate the possibility that not all drug consumption is abuse. And these laws exist simply to protect citizens from drugs, correct? From abuse, right? Therefore, if a portion of drug consumption was only use, and not abuse, what would be the harm of it? A person who sits at home and drinks a single beer is harming society about as much as a person who sits at home and takes a drag off of a marijuana joint: not a whole lot.
Yet, people have been careful in making the distinction between illegal drugs and legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco). Why is this so? Could it be that hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign donations flow from companies to the two major political parties every election year? Could it be that America has such a high-stake in the production of these drugs that banning them would cause a massive uproar in society (e.g. Prohibition)? Could it also be that US companies not only profit in domestic sales, but as much if not more profit made across seas, where even education campaigns as meager as in this country dont exist to warn foreign citizens of the dangerous chemicals US companies pump into their populace (reminiscent of Britain in the instance of the Opium Wars in China)?
There is a hypocrisy that lies in the midst of the War On Drugs, and the multitude of angles would take an incredibly long time to proficiently cover. Let me make a brief attempt.
Some drugs are legal, others illegal. Yet, what determines which are which? Marijuana was legal at one point, just the same as alcohol was illegal at one point. There was a point in both those drugs histories, which caused their status to be altered. What?
Marijuana/hemp was originally legal in this country. What is quite possibly the most famous document in American history, the Declaration of Independence, was written on hemp paper. Famous presidents, like Washington and Jefferson, grew marijuana on their plantations (in addition to holding slaves). A turning point was reached in the southern states when cotton and tobacco producers were losing profits to marijuana/hemp producers: marijuana is cheaper to grow than tobacco, as is hemp paper and clothing to make than cotton paper or clothing. Using political might, they forced marijuana out of the respectable realm of agriculture, and based upon falsified studies, managed to get it banned.
Alcohol, as with marijuana, was originally legal in this country. In the early 20th century there was a push from the non-secular corners of the country to prohibition. As a result, the United States experienced the most domestically brutal, violent, intoxicated, lawless, and destructive points in its short history. Organized crime rose to new heights or power and control, as did the corruption of the judicial system, political structure, and police forces and their "regulation" of alcohol "abuse". The quality of alcohol went down (meaning the pureness of it, and the ability for the government to regulate the contents), prices rose, and the trade and industry associated with alcohol reached violent limits to control the production, distribution, and sale of it. America learned the hard way of the error of prohibition. Now, the terror of that failed experiment in control legislation, faces us again, in the form of the War On Drugs©.
The hypocrisy lies in that nearly the same thing has happened with marijuana prohibition, but it still remaines illegal. Why?
Quick History of the War and its Propaganda
Perhaps a look at the reasons for the WOD would be useful. One very concrete set of ideas, I believe, have contributed to this being the most effective psychological war on the American people yet. This set is drawn from many areas, but the ideas are all codified in the explicit end of a "war" on an object of moral outrage.
The American people have managed to keep themselves in line (with the help of the rich and the media) for nearly 50 years up to a few years ago, all of us singing (hand in hand) the national anthem of anti-communism. This was a cause which united the people, or maybe more accurately stated, scared the people. They were scared of being libeled as communists, of communist invasion, of the dire and real threat of communism somehow managing to take over a more powerful idea which Americans liked to call (however inaccurately), capitalism.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet republics into independent states, and the consequent succession of East European satellite states left a wide gap in America's psyche: who were we to fear and hate now? There was no clear enemy on the horizon, and the Pentagon desperately needed an excuse to keep their inflated budgets, as did contractors and businesses alike need their military contracts and constant foreign intervention. The obvious solution to this dilemma was a replacement to the Evil Empire.
Who this New Evil Empire would be was probably becoming rapidly clear by the 1980's. America, if it was at all paying attention, knew well that the USSR had no intention of being a threat to our "national security" and its rapidly falling economy only proved this fact true in 1988. Thus, a new enemy had to rise. At first it would appear that a satisfactory one could be found in the rise of Islamic nationalism, paraded so vividly by Iran. Terrorism could be a wonderful excuse for our continued neo-colonialism, intervention, and bloated budgets. Yet, someone must've figured along the way that humans are fallible and even the best of enemies (as the Soviets proved) can get soft and give up fighting. US policy makers had a dandy idea to this problem: make the enemy an inanimate object, like, say, drugs!
Non-living enemies, such as drugs, are things we can demonize and demonize without anyone worrying about eventually realizing the inhumanity of such accusations. With objects bearing the brunt of this ideological attack, we could not only keep the US's standard as a military superpower justified, but also appear to win against it, since, obviously, these inanimate objects couldn't possibly out-fight us, or out-maneuver us.
However, the flaw in this reasoning is that although the enemy and target of this war is simply an object, the real victims are people, people, and more people. Try as you may to put a drug on trial for its crimes it'll never confess because it is what it is.
This was a useful distinction to make, even so, since this allowed those in power to demonize the dregs of society: the poor, the desperate, and, of course (the favorite target of all psy-wars in America), minorities. This way, the US could stay on its "moral high-horse", while condemning its own people (for simply trying to escape society and serve society with what it economically demanded) as drug dealers, drug pushers, drug users, drug abusers, druggies, etc. A new class of criminals, who dont harm anyone but themselves and the people that willingly buy their products and willingly consume them, was thus born.
Drugs can be defined as loosely or as strictly as our imagination and logic can allow. It can be as loosely defined as anything (substance, idea, sense, person, etc.) that can control physically, emotional, or mentally a user. In this sense anything from TV to beer, sugar to smack, exercise to cigars, sex to pot could be defined as a drug. But, why isn't it? Or perhaps a better question may be, why aren't some of these things (e.g. TV, beer, sugar, excessive exercise, cigars, sex, caffeine...) illegal? They mess with our minds, they make us do dumb, uncontrollable, and unpredictable things, and they can ruin our lives. Yet, rarely do we do anything about them as a society. We, apparently, are to afraid to question these crutches and these addictions.
And then, drugs can be defined so strictly, that there is no room for interpretation, down to the last atom. The FDA each year decides which drugs are good, and which ones are bad (this is simplified and baby talk, but it's essentially the truth). How does it do this? Does it at all matter how much lobbying and pushing is done by the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry? You better believe it! And yet while the FDA has absolutely no problem identifying the key components and mapping the exact chemical compound make-up of a substance, it has difficulty telling the difference between the physical and psychological effects of society's most prevalent drugs: Tylenol, aspirin, Ibuprofen, cough syrup, Nyquil, tobacco, Ritalin, Prozac, Viagra, Beer, Ale, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Cognac, Wine... (one compliment for the alcohol industry is that they've given us so many more wonderful possibilities for self-endangerment than the uncreative illegal drug industry).
People have been using drugs for all of recorded history, from the ancient Egyptians, to the Chinese, to India, throughout Europe, North and South America... and suddenly, it's time to put a stop to this all to casual use of drugs. Hey, I'm all for it. I say let's clean up our act and stop relying on substances to prop up our lives with. Let's find safe ways to "have a good time". Let's leave abuse, addiction, criminal activity, and all the other undesirable off-shoots of drug use behind us. But, such things are not so simple to do. As long as there is massive suffering in society (as there is in America), wide-spread disillusionment with the future and very-real fears rampant in youth, limited opportunities to recognize one's goals self-defeating cycles of poverty, violence, and depression, there will be no cure all, like "Just Say No."
As long as smart, intelligent youth, who are never given their due credit in our schools (be it for lack of their own or our attention to education), recognize how stupid they would be not to find a way to live comfortably, support their family, friends, and selves, they will continue to find the means to do so. If an inner-city youth (who often is of a racial minority) is given the choice between sweeping floors and cleaning toilets for a pitiful minimum wage and amazing wealth, prestige, and respect for selling drugs, what are they going to choose? And can we honestly blame them for making that choice?
Drug use accurately reflects the problems societies are facing. We are fools if we think we can cure the cancer without attacking the tumor.
Freedoms and Economics
Even if we were to assume that all drug use stemmed from social problems, that would not explain "casual" use. Obviously, some people just use for leisure. Is this all right? Is this acceptable? Well, let's consider what is widely considered to be a truism through out the civilized world: you should have the right to do what you want, as long as it doesn't affect others. But, you may say, drug use directly affects others. But, really the direct effects of drugs are felt physically and psychologically by the user, themselves. Any action that they commit after that point may be attributed to the drug use, but also towards themselves. Once the chaos of that drug leaves their own body and starts to affect those around them, then the law may be acted upon to ensure the freedoms of those who may be affected.
This is no different logic then what one uses when they consider the results of alcohol consumption. One does not care about someone else's consumption of alcohol until it directly affects them: they get into a car, start a confrontation, they live with the person, etc. Otherwise, we have no right to tell that person not to consume alcohol, unless their own personal safety is in danger, or our own freedoms (including safety) are restricted. This seems like common sense. We, of course, do not prohibit others from devouring incredible amounts of candy and sugar. We also think nothing of restricting by force the caffeine consumption of others, no matter how much coffee, soda, or tea they drink.
Why do we do so with illegal drugs?
When we examine the personal freedoms of consumption, we also run into the freedom to sell and buy (since we claim to live in a free-enterprise economy). Of course, companies and individuals do not have free reign to sell and buy whatever they want (guns, nuclear weapons come to mind), nor to do it in whatever fashion they wish (price-dumping, monopolies, marketing unsafe and contaminated products are all illegal practices). Nor is it legal to sell tobacco products to any individual under 18 years of age, or alcoholic products to anyone under 21 years of age. This is simply a matter of the average maturity of youth-- a realistic time dictated by the state, for the sake of having a standard date. It is logical to demand that things such as drugs be restricted by the same rules of the economy. Even if illegal drugs were ever decriminalized, I would fiercely want them regulated. I have a deep, inherent fear of unbridled companies (like tobacco) who would like nothing better than to use their propaganda means to pump drugs into the masses.
Right now, there is no economic control over the distribution of drugs, except prohibition. There are no quality controls, no taxes, no standardized rates, and no "Ethical Business Practice" bylaws. There exists within the drug trade an "everyone for themselves" mentality. Understanding the issue of violence within the drug trade can be reduced to the simple mechanisms of supply and demand. There is supply for drugs and there is demand for drugs. However, the supply is being actively limited more than the demand. Thus the price goes up. When the price of anything goes up, especially on a limited supply item, people will go to more extremes to obtain it (either for consumption or distribution purposes). The extreme that is commonly found in the drug trade is often violence. In the majority of other industries, any problem that parties come across can be disputed through legal channels. With the drug trade, because it exists illegally, there are no channels of legality to turn to: force and violence are the only alternatives. Unfortunately, this reality cannot be avoided by the WOD, it is only exacerbated.
The truth of prohibition, just as with alcohol prohibition, is that it leads to the forming of complex criminal organizations which specialize in the brutal distribution of their products. This is true from the drug lords to the drug gangs, down to the local neighborhood pusher. No amount of legislation or reactive effort is going to decrease the attraction for these organizations to exist. The only action that could reverse this process is a decrease in demand (such as removing prohibition); but, decreasing supply will only make things more violent and much worse.
If illegal drugs were to be decriminalized certain things would theoretically occur. A solid regulation through the FDA that would force distributors to guarantee that a certain product contained X amount of substance 1 and Y amount of substance 2. Forcing a manufacturer and distributor to stand by the "quality"/purity of their product would virtually insure the elimination of overdoses. A consumer could be assured that the product they are using contains exactly what they are told on the package (no more would someone wondering how much bleach, flour, etc. was used to pad the supply to increase its volume). And if there ever was a case of overdose it would be a simple matter of a lawsuit against the manufacturer to force reparations. An untrustworthy manufacturer would quickly lose ground in such a market, and would only cause to boost up the "safer" manufacturers.
Business people would have more ability to dispute business disagreements. No longer would violence be the easiest form of resolving problems (especially since the costs of the product would go down due to its lower cost).
Being Legal & Consequential "Education"
Lower costs and easier access to these products scare many citizens.
Many people feel that decriminalizing drugs would cause wider spread usage. It would be a flat out lie to deny this, since it is an unforeseeable possibility that could happen. Yet, it would be just as wreckless to imply that such patterns undoubtedly would happen. Let's consider it for a minute: is it likely for usage of a certain drug to increase within society simply because it is made legal? Probably not. In almost every case, if someone wants to consume something, they simply do. Very few people who think they are entitled to such rights will forego its usage simply on the basis of its illegality. In fact, it is also very possible that a vast majority of individuals who consume drugs do so on the very basis of their illegality (especially among youth), as a means of rebelling. Taking away the illegality of drugs could decrease the rebelliousness as well.
Drugs like alcohol and tobacco are fairly engrained to our society, alcohol by far the most. If a youth want to use the drug, they simply do. Same with tobacco. The fact that their consumption is illegal for them does not stop them. There are few reasons to assume that making drugs legal for adults and keep them illegal for youth would increase the attraction of those drugs for youth. It would increase the availability, however, which is enough to make me be very leery of decriminalization. But, the basic factor of interest cannot be denied: if someone wants to do something, law will make little difference in their decision to do so, only in their punishment for doing it.
Interest, of course, may be heightened by different processes: first and foremost is the media. I believe (all!) drugs should be completely shamed in general mainstream medias and advertisements: TV, newspapers, magazines, radio. In one of the most interesting phenomenas in advertising comes the interesting situation of cigarette advertising on television. When legislation was passed that prohibited tobacco ads on TV, the tobacco industry was able to weasel in a clause that also prohibited anti-tobacco ads. What was the result of this legislation? Tobacco usage went up! The only conclusion that may be drawn from the evidence is that it was not the presence of tobacco ads that caused smoking, as much as it was the absence of anti-tobacco ads that failed to deter smoking. Chaz Bufe describes a drug kingpin as "the scum of the earth. Individuals who willingly sacrifice the lives of others in a mad rush for profit at any price. The worst of the lot a distastefully referred to as 'tobacco executives' and 'distillers'." The lesson that can be drawn from this is: always, always run campaigns that objectively discuss the causes and effects of drug use. The truth will be enough to allow people to make up their minds (which, hopefully, will be the choice of abstaining). Never allow something to drop so far from society's consciousness that we are prohibited to discuss its dangers.
How America's War Effects The World
Another aspect of the WOD which commonly drops from society's consciousness is its effects on foreign countries. The military's expansionism and the void left behind after the end of the Cold War has been temporarily filled by its use for fighting the WOD. This primarily amounts to the following things: giving aid to governments which are either producers or transit states for the drug trade, sustaining military bases, which otherwise, would be closed (e.g. the Panama Canal, which the US is supposed to leave in 1999, yet will be retaining bases in for the purpose of fighting drug trafficking), and direct US military interventions into foreign countries for attacking drug lords, capturing sympathetic leaders, and eradicating crops.
When the US gives money to a certain country, it asks that the country use the aid to fight against the drug cartels, which, in most cases, the government is afraid to do. In the case of Columbia, which is the highest producer of coca, the US gives the highest foreign aid of any other state in the entire Western Hemisphere. Another interesting and directly related factoid is that Columbia has the worst human rights record in the hemisphere as well. It is undoubtedly a causal relationship-- the funds given to the corrupt Columbia "democracy" are used to suppress grassroot political units and leaders. Similar things occur in Mexico with the aid it receives from the US. In 1997, the Mexican and American presidents met and negotiated a deal which would give the Mexican government billions of dollars in aid and weapons, under the pretense that the Mexicans use it to patrol the border against illegal entry of aliens into the US and to fight the drug war. Yet, there is no way to be completely sure that the Mexican PRI (the leading and only Mexican political party) will use the aid for that purpose alone, and not to repress and slaughter the indigenous uprisings in Mexico's southern-most state of Chiapas. Since 1994 (the year of the uprising) the concentration of military and weaponry stationed in Chiapas has grown enormously to the point where it is all but given that the PRI plans to completely destroy the rebellion, while ignoring any and all Indian demands.
The WOD also continues a wonderful pretense of defending "US interests" in foreign countries. Whether it be in Panama, Germany, or the Philippines, the US military infrastructure will continue to use whatever war as an excuse for retaining military bases and personnel through out the world for the purpose of "protection".
Intervention into a country directly is also a common practice initiated whenever anti-drug (or, rather, pro-WOD) rhetoric reaches a peak. The US's Panamanian Invasion to oust Manuel Noriega (which killed thousands in the process), then an attempt to capture drug lord Pablo Escobar illustrate the lengths the US will go to capture a single individual, who will obviously be the kingpin of the world's entire drug trade (causing the entire trade to instantly collapse, right?!) Yet, it is evidently never considered that once one man is nabbed, that someone else will come up to take their place. There will be an endless supply of persons willing to take any job that pays so much. Such interventions only end up killing innocent persons in the process and further draining the US's already inverted pockets.
The eradication of drug crops in South America are intended to destroy whole supplies of drugs, and they do. Yet, these eradication missions also cause sickness in citizens, destruction of non-narcotic crops, and defoliation and death of other wildlife (including rain forests). The ironic thing within all of this is that after World War II, the US gave giant agricultural subsidies to Latin American countries, thus underselling their own crops, forcing them to modify their economies to export-oriented markets (that specialize in the production and sale of single or small numbered items). This translates into that the farmers weren't able to make enough money growing and selling FOOD, so they turned to the only other thing that was time and money efficient: narcotics. Americans would be very ignorant, therefore, to accuse poor farmers of "pumping drugs into their communities" when it was a direct results of US policies and design that forced those farmers to take such a course of action.
The Prison Industrial Complex
In addition to condemning foreigners to subservient roles in the WOD, Americans are also victims of enslavement. Currently, the prison population in the US is 1.7 million people. We have the highest percentage of incarcerated citizens in the world, higher than China, Russia, South Africa, and any number of other states which we consider to be less democratic than ours. Democracy, of course, can easily be exploited to for the purpose of population control. During US election years, the fiercest rhetoric we hear from political candidates is their toughness on crime. We all vote for the white, Anglo-Saxon male who is "toughest on crime". We do so because they have managed to convince us that crime is reaching a peak of utter insanity, so well that we are fearful for our lives. Yes, crime is higher than has been in the past. Why? Because there are more things that are illegal, thus more crime and more criminals. "The more laws, the more offenders" is one of the simplest maxims in government and criminology, and its effects should be apparent.
The majority of those residing in jails, prisons, and probation (all in the incarceration cycle) are in for non-violent offenses, the majority of those are in for drug offenses. Then there are the violent offenders, of which some have committed violent crimes that are direct results of the intense economics of the drug trade. Are they also victims of the WOD? Maybe. Yes, they choose to willingly participate, but aren't their crimes provoked by a system of economic laws? And for the non-violent offenders, who are rotting in jails for possession or sale, what have been their crimes against society? Intent to hurt themselves? or intent to give someone else the means to hurt themselves? How insane! We can villainize people only so much before we have to realize the inhumanity of it all: people are people and they don't deserve to be caged like animals for making decisions that can only harm themselves.
What is the ultimate cost of these prisoners? Well, there are many costs and none of them will be easy or painless for society to pay. Every time a parent gets locked up, their child loses the possibility to build a more meaningful relationship with their parent. When these people are taken out of society they lose the ability to contribute to their community in a beneficial way, to pay taxes, or to better themselves and their family through a job. Locking up massive amounts of people from society decreases the variety and spirit from a country. It also creates a Police State mentality that explodes through the mechanics of the prison industrial complex.
The prison industrial complex is a relatively new phenomena. The more laws you make the more offenders. The more offenders the more criminals. The more criminals you have the more room you need to "lock 'em up". The more prisons you build for this purpose the more the cycle increases itself: the prison builders get more powerful, to the point where they have money and influence enough to convince communities to build more prisons (nowadays corporations have gotten wise to the game and now are using cheap labor, a.k.a. slave labor, to produce good and do services for Microsoft, AT&T, TWA, and Eddie Bauer). "Now we've got more prisons, what do we do with them? Let's fill 'em up with more inmates! Hmm, I guess we'll need some more laws for people to break!" And so it goes. This is the complex. It grows and grows to the point we're just making prisons for the sake of just breaking even. Laws, prisons, laws, prisons, laws, prisons. The cycle is horrible and endless. Only when we have restricted ourselves so much to the point of having very little personal freedom will we actually realize what we've done to ourselves. By then, it may be too late.
The other side of the incarceration coin is the even more despicable: African-American males rank as the highest percentage of inmates, for all offenses. The penal code has been highly successful at weeding out an extremely large portion of the black population in America, and throwing it in jail. The continued level of extreme poverty experienced more frequently by blacks than by any other racial group only assures their condemnation to this cycle of judicial abuse. How can this be shown? Take a look at the number of actual drug users and dealers-- they're predominantly white. Then take a look at who's getting arrested for these crimes-- they're predominantly black. Hmmmm.....
Since it is true now that most inmates are in on sentences that are for non-violent offenses it seems we are raising a criminal class which can only get worse. In jail these non-violent offenders can only be taught more violent attitudes and methods, making a harder, more determined criminal element in society. The upsurge in these non-violent offenses is also causing a startling side-effect: violent offenders (rapists, murderers, etc.) are getting released on parole earlier to make room for the gigantic influx of non-violent offenders (who, remember, are mostly "illegal drug" offenders).
And, ultimately, what is accomplished by putting the drug addict into jail? Sure, it'll break them from their habit, painfully. But, the addict who is jailed is much more likely to have a relapse than one placed in a drug rehabilitation clinic. Another wonderful factoid is that rehab clinics are also less expensive, not to mention more effective than prison. So why are we placing those people who commit minor drug possession infractions in jail? See the aforementioned Prison Industrial Complex idea for this answer. It also is a clear case of inability to treat drug addiction as it's associated problems as a social problem, since it is legally and technically viewed as a primarily a legal problem.
The Straight Edge Attitude
The majority of people who I discuss the WOD with and tell them my views assume automatically that I must use the drugs, thus, revealing my hidden motive in wanting them legalized. This is not true. I have never used an illegal drug, nor do I intend to ever do so. In addition, I have never used tobacco or alcohol, either. In fact, most often I equate the use of one drug to be just as pointless to me as using any other drug, legal or illegal. This is sometimes referred to as a "straight-edge" lifestyle. Call it that if you will, but I'm not here to spout philosophy.
Even though I want to see an end to this "war", does not mean I'm for free drugs for everyone, (like kid users). I'd prefer strong restrictions just as with alcohol and tobacco ("strong restrictions", ya right!), which means you have to be of a certain age, no operating of machinery or vehicles under their influence, and so on. I'd like to see stronger restrictions and taxes on drugs (legal and illegal) to force the rate of consumption down (even though this could excerbate the balck market in the same way as the WOD has), so people can stand on their own. I find it sad that people have to drink alcohol to have a good time, or smoke a joint to relax. But, doesn't this say something about our society? I'd prefer to live in a drug-free culture, where DUIs, drunken brawls, alcohol-influenced rapes, and all other despicable crimes are eliminated. I'd prefer to have similar illegal drug-influenced occurrences done away with, too.
Perhaps the elimination of the WOD is not the best solution to our problems, but if stopping the WOD didn't help some of America's people in any discernible ways, I'd be pretty amazed. I think it's important for everyone to discuss this subject openly with everyone else, in a democratic fashion. That way people may formulate their own ideas from different sources instead of simply reading and hearing the "truth" from the media's and politician's mouths. Many people in America have a vested interest in the continuation of the WOD, but many more people suffer from it's existence as well. Many more.
Making something illegal does not make it go away!! When we treat drug abuse as a criminal problem we ignore the fact that there is real human suffering involved. If we were to treat drug abuse as a social problem we could get at the root causes of drug addiction and could work towards removing drug abuse and cutting the vicious cycle of non-rehabilitation that the current War on Drugs promotes.
We cannot pretend that this problem does not exist, and we cannot pretend that this demand is imaginary. It is real, and making it illegal is like slapping a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound: things can only get worse. We cannot run from our problems as a society. We must educate ourselves about the dangers of the world and the pitfalls of temptations around us. Making something illegal will not make us stronger, it only makes us weaker. Don't lie to yourself.
 Chomsky, Noam. Deterring Democracy, pp107 - 135.
 Vidal, Gore. The Decline and Fall of the American Empire, pp34 - 35.
 ibid. p71.
 Boaz, David. A Drug Free America-- or a Free America?.
 Bufe, Chaz. The American Heretics Dictionary, p63.
 Gadalla, Moustafa. Historical Deception - The Untold Story of Ancient Egypt.
 Baum, Dan. Smoke and Mirrors.