Tag: drug war

Love and Death in Colombia (My Story – Part IV)

Note:  I know, I know.  I haven’t published Part III yet and here comes Part IV.  Well what can I say?  I have an unruly mind and it won’t always go where I tell it to – sometimes it just goes where it will.  In this case it skipped straight to Part IV.  I’ll go back and do Part III later.  Probably.

“The mind is a monkey.” ~ Old Chinese saying


Legal Drugs Cause Three Times as Many Deaths as Illegal Drugs

Noted without comment: a study of drug deaths in Florida shows nearly three times as many deaths from legal drugs than from illegal drugs.

The report’s findings track with similar studies by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which has found that roughly seven million Americans are abusing prescription drugs. If accurate, that would be an increase of 80 percent in six years and more than the total abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, Ecstasy and inhalants.

The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids – strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin – caused 2,328.

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 – fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

The study also found that while the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies increased 14 percent in 2007, to 110, deaths related to the opioid oxycodone increased 36 percent, to 1,253.

Florida scrutinizes drug-related deaths more closely than do other states, and so there is little basis for comparison with them.

Do you suppose that the government will start defoliating GlaxoSmithKline’s territory like they have been doing to Columbia for over a decade?

Radley Balko must-read on drug prohibition

America’s most valuable blogger (which I’ve been saying for a while, but it is great to see much bigger bloggers than I agree), has a must-read post countering some of the worst anti-drug legalizations arguments out there.

It wrongly assumes that the all of the problems we associate with drugs–the bloody turf wars, the presence of particularly potent drugs like meth, the lengths to which dealers will go to get their premium, etc.–are the product of the drugs themselves, and not the product of them being prohibited. This chart helps slay that argument. When was the last time you heard about a Michelob deal gone bad?

Read the whole thing.

The Writers of The Wire on the Drug War

The head writers of HBO’s The Wire, which I consider possibly the greatest achievement in television writing, have an excellent and important message in the latest issue of Time:

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right,” wrote Thomas Paine when he called for civil disobedience against monarchy – the flawed national policy of his day. In a similar spirit, we offer a small idea that is, perhaps, no small idea. It will not solve the drug problem, nor will it heal all civic wounds. It does not yet address questions of how the resources spent warring with our poor over drug use might be better spent on treatment or education or job training, or anything else that might begin to restore those places in America where the only economic engine remaining is the illegal drug economy. It doesn’t resolve the myriad complexities that a retreat from war to sanity will require. All it does is open a range of intricate, paradoxical issues. But this is what we can do – and what we will do.

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will – to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun’s manifesto against the death penalty – no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest. If some few episodes of a television entertainment have caused others to reflect on the war zones we have created in our cities and the human beings stranded there, we ask that those people might also consider their conscience. And when the lawyers or the judge or your fellow jurors seek explanation, think for a moment on Bubbles or Bodie or Wallace. And remember that the lives being held in the balance aren’t fictional.

In addition to being the head writers of The Wire, David Simon is the author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets; Ed Burns is a twenty-year veteran of the Baltimore City Police; Dennis Lehane is the author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone; George Pelecanos is the author of Hell to Pay and The Night Gardener; Richard Price is the author of Clockers and Freedomland.

Mitt Romney Says Fuck Off to Dying Medical Marijuana Patient

Good Job, Mitt!  Your Cruelty knows no bounds!
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