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 Call Off the Global Drug War 
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Post Call Off the Global Drug War
President Carter wrote:
Op-Ed Contributor
Call Off the Global Drug War
By JIMMY CARTER
Published: June 16, 2011

Atlanta

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

The commission’s facts and arguments are persuasive. It recommends that governments be encouraged to experiment “with models of legal regulation of drugs ... that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.” For effective examples, they can look to policies that have shown promising results in Europe, Australia and other places.

But they probably won’t turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Ga. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 17, 2011, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: Call Off the Global Drug War.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/17/opini ... .html?_r=1

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June 17th, 2011, 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
Why can't people see it is just another form of control for them!!!

Keep em fed (wic, food stamps)

Keep em healthy (obamaScare)

Keep em housed (government housing or sponsored home loans)

Keep em educated (government education standards and grants)

and now Keep em drugged so they can't resist.

When this generation and the next get so used to nursing on the government teet, they will do whatever they are told in order to keep the milk FLOWING.

Not me, I'd rather earn my keep and provide for myself and be free to choose my own way. So I guess I'll get in the reeducation line. Siberia here I come!

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June 17th, 2011, 8:18 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
WarEr4Christ wrote:
Why can't people see it is just another form of control for them!!!

Keep em fed (wic, food stamps)

Keep em healthy (obamaScare)

Keep em housed (government housing or sponsored home loans)

Keep em educated (government education standards and grants)

and now Keep em drugged so they can't resist.

When this generation and the next get so used to nursing on the government teet, they will do whatever they are told in order to keep the milk FLOWING.

Not me, I'd rather earn my keep and provide for myself and be free to choose my own way. So I guess I'll get in the reeducation line. Siberia here I come!


Not Siberia. They will send you to the swamps of Louisiana.


June 17th, 2011, 11:57 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
For the first time in my life I agree with Jimmy Carter. This isn't the government keeping anyone drugged. It's removing government from the drug industry. There is zero evidence of marijuana being a gateway drug, so possession of less than 1 oz. shouldn't be criminalized. Nobody is dealing drugs carrying less than that amount, and if someone wants to get high, let them. It's less dangerous and less damaging to the human body than alcohol.

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June 18th, 2011, 2:26 am
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
For the first time in my life I agree with Jimmy Carter. This isn't the government keeping anyone drugged. It's removing government from the drug industry. There is zero evidence of marijuana being a gateway drug, so possession of less than 1 oz. shouldn't be criminalized. Nobody is dealing drugs carrying less than that amount, and if someone wants to get high, let them. It's less dangerous and less damaging to the human body than alcohol.

+1

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June 19th, 2011, 6:18 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
TheRealWags wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
For the first time in my life I agree with Jimmy Carter. This isn't the government keeping anyone drugged. It's removing government from the drug industry. There is zero evidence of marijuana being a gateway drug, so possession of less than 1 oz. shouldn't be criminalized. Nobody is dealing drugs carrying less than that amount, and if someone wants to get high, let them. It's less dangerous and less damaging to the human body than alcohol.

+1

+2

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June 20th, 2011, 8:18 am
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
I don't know that I would want to call off the "global drug war," but we have far too many laws relating to drugs, and the penalties are far too stiff, and I have never used any type of drug before in my life.

I would still like us to keep pressure on Columbia, etc. to keep drugs from coming into this country, and heroine and crack and meth are becoming more and more popular in high schools and in middle schools, but for casual drug users and casual drug dealers (selling a dime bag to a friend, etc.) the penalties are far too stiff.


June 20th, 2011, 2:38 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
I also agree that the penalties for recreational drug users are far too stringent and that a measure of decriminilization should take place.

However, I also feel that we the people should not fund the treatment of those who are addicted to hard core drugs like heroin. The government shouldn't be funding treatments for those who need methadone to exist. Sorry, but these are people who made choices, and made BAD choices. Why should my tax dollars, or your tax dollars, take care of them? Let them suffer. Strap them to a bed someplace, and either the detox works or kills them.

The problem with this is not so much the drug use, but the crimes that happen as a result of the drug use. Robberies, murders, assaults.....while alcohol may do more damage to the human body, marijuana and other such drugs cause just as many, if not more, of these related crimes.

Sorry, but I have none, zip, zero, no sympathy for someone who chooses to get involved that heavily with narcotics and becomes reliant upon them. Psychological issues not withstanding, deal with it. If they can't support themselves, they have no right to expect us to support them because of their choice to attempt an escape from reality on a daily basis. The world isn't going away. However, I do believe that the world should make them go away.

Poverty is not an excuse. Pain is not an excuse. Gender confusion, unemployment, bad home life, etc. are not excuses to become addicted to something. They are not excuses to become an unproductive slug.

Alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. are NOT diseases. Don't bother coming up with something that the AMA or any of these other hoakie medical organizations are telling us. They tell us that for a REASON.....MONEY! If they can convince the government to classify them as a disease, then they can make money treating them as such by getting paid from insurance companies. It's the same with all these supposed psychological issues that now have their own special names. It's all for money. People don't catch diseases by choice. Drinking every day is a CHOICE. Smoking or shooting up is a CHOICE. Hence, they are not diseases. Case. Closed.

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June 21st, 2011, 10:20 am
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
m2karateman wrote:
I also agree that the penalties for recreational drug users are far too stringent and that a measure of decriminilization should take place.

However, I also feel that we the people should not fund the treatment of those who are addicted to hard core drugs like heroin. The government shouldn't be funding treatments for those who need methadone to exist. Sorry, but these are people who made choices, and made BAD choices. Why should my tax dollars, or your tax dollars, take care of them? Let them suffer. Strap them to a bed someplace, and either the detox works or kills them.

The problem with this is not so much the drug use, but the crimes that happen as a result of the drug use. Robberies, murders, assaults.....while alcohol may do more damage to the human body, marijuana and other such drugs cause just as many, if not more, of these related crimes.

Sorry, but I have none, zip, zero, no sympathy for someone who chooses to get involved that heavily with narcotics and becomes reliant upon them. Psychological issues not withstanding, deal with it. If they can't support themselves, they have no right to expect us to support them because of their choice to attempt an escape from reality on a daily basis. The world isn't going away. However, I do believe that the world should make them go away.

Poverty is not an excuse. Pain is not an excuse. Gender confusion, unemployment, bad home life, etc. are not excuses to become addicted to something. They are not excuses to become an unproductive slug.

Alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. are NOT diseases. Don't bother coming up with something that the AMA or any of these other hoakie medical organizations are telling us. They tell us that for a REASON.....MONEY! If they can convince the government to classify them as a disease, then they can make money treating them as such by getting paid from insurance companies. It's the same with all these supposed psychological issues that now have their own special names. It's all for money. People don't catch diseases by choice. Drinking every day is a CHOICE. Smoking or shooting up is a CHOICE. Hence, they are not diseases. Case. Closed.

Couple of questions:
Do you consider any addiction to be a disease? Why or why not?
Who (if anyone) is to blame in the event that someone gets addicted to legally prescribed opiate-based drugs/pain killers?
For those that may not know, the following are opiate-based and legal if prescribed:
    Vicodin
    OxyContin
    Percoset
    Hydrocodone
    Morphone
    Heroin

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June 21st, 2011, 10:41 am
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
TheRealWags wrote:
Couple of questions:
Do you consider any addiction to be a disease? Why or why not?
Who (if anyone) is to blame in the event that someone gets addicted to legally prescribed opiate-based drugs/pain killers?
For those that may not know, the following are opiate-based and legal if prescribed:
    Vicodin
    OxyContin
    Percoset
    Hydrocodone
    Morphone
    Heroin


No, I do not consider any addiction to be a disease. I understand and accept that there are (unfortunately) children born with addictions because their lowlife mothers didn't have the will or intestinal fortitude to do right by the child and drop their drug use. But I still don't consider that a disease.

Why? Because a disease typically involves a different process. People don't knowingly and readily ingest disease causing agents so willingly, do they? If someone told you, "Here, eat this it is infected with AIDS", would you? People know the risks of drinking alcohol everyday. They know the risks of taking drugs every day. Simply because they may choose to take the "it won't happen to me" approach doesn't make it a disease.

Tell me, what virus, bacteria, parasite or other microbe is involved in alcoholism or drug addiction? What genetic defect causes this? How exactly does one "catch" alcoholism or drug addiction? You can't, therefore it is not a disease.

Who is to blame? I guess that depends on who you ask. I take the approach of the NFL. It's your body, and you should know what you are putting into it. And most folks are fully aware of exactly what they are putting into their body when they drink, smoke, snort or shoot up. I've been prescribed Vicodin. I've taken Vicodin. And I stopped taking it when I no longer felt overwhelming pain from the surgery I had that created the need for the prescription.

I'm sure that the doctors who pass it out like candy and the drug companies who manufacture the stuff can be blamed as well. There's some pretty unscrupulous activities that go on in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. But in the end, unless someone is holding you down and forcing the drugs into your system, the user is to blame.

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June 21st, 2011, 11:26 am
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
m2karateman wrote:
No, I do not consider any addiction to be a disease. I understand and accept that there are (unfortunately) children born with addictions because their lowlife mothers didn't have the will or intestinal fortitude to do right by the child and drop their drug use. But I still don't consider that a disease.

Why? Because a disease typically involves a different process. People don't knowingly and readily ingest disease causing agents so willingly, do they? If someone told you, "Here, eat this it is infected with AIDS", would you? People know the risks of drinking alcohol everyday. They know the risks of taking drugs every day. Simply because they may choose to take the "it won't happen to me" approach doesn't make it a disease.

Tell me, what virus, bacteria, parasite or other microbe is involved in alcoholism or drug addiction? What genetic defect causes this? How exactly does one "catch" alcoholism or drug addiction? You can't, therefore it is not a disease.

Who is to blame? I guess that depends on who you ask. I take the approach of the NFL. It's your body, and you should know what you are putting into it. And most folks are fully aware of exactly what they are putting into their body when they drink, smoke, snort or shoot up. I've been prescribed Vicodin. I've taken Vicodin. And I stopped taking it when I no longer felt overwhelming pain from the surgery I had that created the need for the prescription.

I'm sure that the doctors who pass it out like candy and the drug companies who manufacture the stuff can be blamed as well. There's some pretty unscrupulous activities that go on in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. But in the end, unless someone is holding you down and forcing the drugs into your system, the user is to blame.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. We will just have to agree to disagree. I have known many people that have been addicted to many things ranging from substances to shopping to gambling to religion to pretty much anything. Some of these were addicted after just one experience others after repeated experiences, as with most things it depends on the individual. I think that in the end we both agree with personal responsibilities perspective, however we disagree that even though the person is ultimately responsible, there are, in many cases, contributing factors that need to be considered.

I do want to comment on a couple parts though:
Quote:
People don't knowingly and readily ingest disease causing agents so willingly, do they?

People still smoke and drink, don't they? Well they are both considered to contain "disease causing agents." People also continue to expose themselves to the Sun on a daily basis and it has been linked cause skin cancer. There are just a couple examples of people knowingly and readily ingesting disease causing agents.

Quote:
Tell me, what virus, bacteria, parasite or other microbe is involved in alcoholism or drug addiction? What genetic defect causes this? How exactly does one "catch" alcoholism or drug addiction? You can't, therefore it is not a disease.

Considering that the field of studying the human brain and psychie/ID as well as genetics are still in their infancy, I will reserve judgement on whether or not they would fit into your definition of a "disease"

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June 21st, 2011, 2:12 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
Addition is a mental and personality disorder. And unlike those today that think everything is a mental illness and requires drugs instead of dealing with the issue itself, It is not a disease by very definition of the term. Addictions can be broken by will. Diseases can't.

Someone doesn't start smoking or drinking because they have too. They don't suddenly wake up and have to start smoking or drinking either. They make a conscience choice to start, usually because they are looking to fill a need elsewhere. Again, a need is about desire, not sickness.

Having an addictive personality isn't uncommon. The same people who choose to smoke could just as likely choose to get addicted to a video game or some other compulsion. And to prove that its a money sink, the "cure" for this is medication which is also easily able to become another addiction. Its an endless circle.

Know someone who goes to AA meetings? They want you to form a habit of going to meetings and following the steps. Try to shift the addiction from one habit to another.

And when's the last time you caught an addiction from someone else?

As far as mental illness.... This is the real reason that addictions are being classified as diseases. Because of the failure of Doctors and "experts," or possibly just laziness, the study of helping the mind has taken steps backwards and instead of true therapy sessions, they've gone towards drugs to "cure" these problems. They've made generations of kids and now adults dependent on drugs that will help what most of us grew up and learned to deal with. Now many will never learn to grow out of or deal with the minor issues that now have ballooned into larger issues. Then the next generation grows into that and it balloons even bigger. Most of what is considered mental illness today is nothing more than parents being too scared to deal with their kids. And the "experts" have found a way to profit.


June 21st, 2011, 2:29 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
Good points guys. Im on the "not a disease" train myself. I feel no need to empathise with an addict who chose their lifestyle. Im not going to feel sorry for them and give excuses like calling their choices a disease.

But I do want to go back to what M2K said earlier about not wanting to pay for their....for lack of a better word...treatment. I really dont like the idea of taxpayer dollars footing the bill either, but to be frank it is significantly cheaper to do so. Even if say 1/2 stay addicted, the ones who correct themselves are a much smaller burdon to society. Odds are a much lower risk of jailtime( sober decision making is much smarter than drunk decision making), smaller risk of hospital visits (no more passing out in public places!), and a good portion actually go back to work (no more welfare!).

I hate it, it feels like pandering to the weak and pathetic, but, it IS cheaper.

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June 21st, 2011, 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
I believe there is a genetic disposition to addiction for many things, including drugs. Call it a disease or not, but I think it is clear. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just makes it a fact.

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June 21st, 2011, 7:25 pm
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Post Re: Call Off the Global Drug War
M2, I'm not sure how I feel about your response. IMO we can either pay to treat them, or wait until they commit crimes to fulfill their habits and arrest them and pay for their treatment in prison. Personally I think it's more beneficial to pay for their treatment upfront, before the crimes are inevitably committed.

Addiction is a funny thing, but IMO the current problem is it harms people that aren't even addicts, and harms people that are productive members of society. The system quite literally turns productive members of society into degenerate wards of the state, for little to no reason.


June 22nd, 2011, 3:09 pm
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