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August 20, 2013 - 7:10am

Today's Poll: Should U.S. continue 'War on Drugs'?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Jeff Allen
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Which drugs?

Jerry Buckman
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There has been a war on drugs?

C. M. Barons
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The "War on Drugs" is not won with prohibition, criminalizing the behavior. The logical comparison to the "War on Alcohol" demonstrates that treatment and education are far more successful in curbing undesirable behavior than relying on law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Since 1990, the use of alcohol has dropped 23%. The U. S. placement on the list of nations by highest alcohol consumption has fallen to number 22. The same can be said for teen pregnancy: down 25% since 2007, and tobacco smoking, down to 18% (from 42.4% in 1965).

The cost of penalizing drug-users is too high. The price is unworthy of the results. The expense is not limited to law enforcement, adjudication and incarceration. The federal budget for drug interdiction is about $12 billion. Eight states each spend more than $1 billion annually enforcing marijuana laws: New York, $3 billion; Texas, $2 billion; California, Florida, $1.9 billion; Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, $1 billion.

The overwhelming cost is the impact on those convicted of drug-crime. 55% of federal prisoners and 21% of state-level prisoners are incarcerated on the basis of drug-related offenses. This means that over a half million people are presently incarcerated as a result of antidrug laws--more than the population of Wyoming. Those convicted are forever stigmatized and will never realize fully-productive lives. Additionally, criminalizing drugs creates a sustaining sub-culture of gangs, assassinations, drug houses, pimps and pushers, illegal guns, theft-rings and related criminality that entrenches our cities in poverty. The Medicaid cost, alone, to maintain urban poverty amounts to $40 billion.

Ending the punitive war on drugs is not a surrender. It means turning the corner toward a rational and cost-effective drug policy.

Doug Yeomans
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I wonder how many people that answered with a yes are aware of the facts about drugs, prohibition, and the corruption involved with the war on drugs. Follow the money.

Kyle Slocum
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Most people are absolutely ignorant of what drugs are and what the difference between medicine and drugs actually is.

Morphine is good, heroin is bad. That they are essentially the same drug is lost.

Novocaine is good, but cocaine is bad. That they are essentially the same drug is lost.

It is not the substance that is the problem. It is people: We are fallible. Our refusal to accept that it is really us, not the substances that we use and abuse, who exacerbate our problems is really rather ridiculous.

The junkie is not a junkie because of the drugs. The drugs don't stalk unwary innocents minding their own business as they walk down the street.

The junkie is a junkie because they are unable to deal with what they are living through. The junkie is a junkie because they have found a drug which puts off the pain. For a while, at least.

We have a problem and it is not drugs. Our problem is that we do not deal with the realities of life and of stress and of abuse and of neglect. The sheer number of self-medicating people in our communities argues for a reality based approach to drugs and mental health.

Banning "drugs" makes no more sense than banning "Ill-considered thoughts". What the hell is an "Ill-considered thought" and how do we measure the dosage unit of an "Ill-considered thought" for the purposes of sentencing?

Sorry to inject actual reality into a political discussion. That is rude, I know. Why it is rude to ask grown adults to think is actually beyond my comprehension, but I do know it is rude. So you have my apology.

Doug Yeomans
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Even though Heroin and Morphine are both opiates, they aren't the same. Heroin is much more euphoric which is why people who like opiates choose heroin over morphine, dilaudid or even fentanyl.

Cocaine and Novocain, even though they sound similar, aren't. Cocaine was one of the first anesthetics used in dentistry. Of course it's no longer used because it doesn't work very well, has a short duration and has adverse effects on the heart and entire cardiovascular system. Novocain hasn't been used in dental procedure for over 30 years. A Lidocaine/Epinephrine preparation is now used.

Drugs that are useful as a medicine often can be abused. I've had kidney stones three times. I'm pretty sure the doctor hit me with Dilaudid, but whatever it was, man that *bleep* was good. I needed it, as anyone who has had kidney stones can attest, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.

The refusal of people to accept Marijuana as a medication is their unwillingness to break from the pot-head stigma that surrounds it. Pot was THE counterculture drug of choice. If a person smoked pot it meant they were a rebel, a bad seed. Many people know better, but the pot-head thing still persists.

When my uncle was in the hospital with pancreatic cancer, he was given Marinol to increase his appetite. It also prevents nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines, when other medicines do not work. Marinol is THC, the active ingredient in pot, imagine that. Marijuana should be just as available as are pain killers in the arsenal of medications that a doctor can choose to prescribe.

The war on drugs is purely political, and has no foundation in actually protecting me or you. Nobody can protect you from yourself, except you. Follow the money and you'll see why drugs are still bad, mmkay?

Doug Yeomans
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One more little thing about cocaine is that it was (and might still be) commonly found in emergency rooms and was/is used for stopping severe nosebleeds. It's dripped into the nasal passages like eye drops. Cocaine is a vasoconstrictor, so when properly administered, it does have medical benefits.

Kyle Couchman
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Funny you should mention "Bad Seed" I believe that turn of phrase comes from the reefer madness days...

Oooops my bad, its from that era but from a different source. It was applied to potheads after the fact, but it's original source is much more sinister....

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bad%20seed

John Woodworth JR
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Do not forget Doug Cocaine use to be an ingredient in Coca Cola.

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