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Opinion: A successful surrender to the war on drugs?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John Cook is a well respected attorney in the Cape Girardeau community. However, I have some major disagreements with his op-ed piece last Thursday. He seems to be advocating a successful surrender to the war on drugs.

I agree that the war on drugs has been less than successful, but I strongly disagree that discontinuing these enforcement efforts would somehow be beneficial. Despite the fact the war has not been completely successful, there are many individual battles that have been won.

I have worked with drug and alcohol addicts for 30 years and have seen the devastation they, their parents, wives and children have experienced. I can assure Mr. Cook that any efforts to prevent the spread of this scourge are well worth it.

Through the years, a number of students who have come to Teen Challenge International of Mid-America have come to thank God for the policemen, judges and other officials who have sent them to jail because they realized that, were it not for their intervention, death would have been the result of their continued drug abuse. To cease fighting this blight on our society due to economic reasons or frustration would only exhibit a lack of conviction and courage as a nation.

Mr. Cook asserts, "We have no fewer drugs because of prohibition, just like we had no less alcohol during that period of prohibition." Neither Mr. Cook nor anyone else can know this to be true, because this country has never been without a prohibition on drugs. The illegal status of drugs is a deterrent to some, possibly preventing additional millions from falling into that trap.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the government agency that keeps such statistics, over 22 million Americans have used illicit drugs in the last 30 days. By legalizing these drugs, we would add to the number of people whose lives would be affected by them. Simply calling drugs legal does not diminish their negative impact on people's lives.

Additionally, it is questionable to call the legalization of alcohol an unqualified success since alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice and the No. 1 addictive drug in America. Much of the domestic violence and violent crime in our country is alcohol-related, as well as tens of thousands of traffic deaths that occur every year.

On one point I strongly agree with Mr. Cook: There certainly should be more efforts made to provide true transformation of those bound by addictions. Organizations like Teen Challenge are doing their best to help these individuals break the bondage of addiction through faith in Christ. I would encourage concerned citizens to do their best to support these types of organizations, since the false barrier of separation of church and state prevents the government from fully doing so.

Legalization of drugs would open the door to further drug use by putting our societal stamp of approval on this behavior and would create a tsunami of addiction from which our nation might never recover. We may not seem to be winning the war on drugs, but, like any war against tyranny, it is simply a war we must continue to fight.

Dr. Jack Smart is the executive director of Teen Challenge International of Mid-America in Cape Girardeau.


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Dr. Smart has it backwards, the war on drugs is a war of tyranny, not against tyranny. One need not travel to China to find indigenous cultures lacking human rights. America leads the world in percentile behind bars, thanks to the ongoing open season on hippies, commies, and non-whites in the war on drugs. Cops get good performance reviews for shooting fish in a barrel. If we're all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance global credibility.

The drug czar's Rx for prison fodder costs dearly, as lives are flushed down expensive tubes. My shaman's second opinion is that psychoactive plants are God's gift. Behold, it's all good. When Eve ate the apple, she knew a good apple, and an evil prohibition. Canadian Marc Emery is being extradited to prison for helping American farmers reduce U. S. demand for Mexican pot.

The CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) reincarnates Al Capone, endangers homeland security, and throws good money after bad. Fiscal policy burns tax dollars to root out the number-one cash crop in the land, instead of taxing sales. Society rejected the plague of prohibition, but it mutated. Apparently, SWAT teams don't need no stinking amendment.

Nixon passed the CSA on the false assurance that the Schafer Commission would later justify criminalizing his enemies, but he underestimated Schafer's integrity. No amendments can assure due process under an anti-science law without due process itself. Psychology hailed the breakthrough potential of LSD, until the CSA shut down research, and pronounced that marijuana has no medical use. Former U.K. chief drugs advisor Prof. Nutt was sacked for revealing that non-smoked cannabis intake is scientifically healthy.

The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote, which functions like LSD. Americans shouldn't need a specific church membership or an act of Congress to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. God's children's free exercise of religious liberty may include entheogen sacraments to mediate communion with their maker.

Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn't enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? The Mayflower sailed to escape coerced conformity. Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

Common-law holds that adults are the legal owners of their own bodies. The Founding Fathers undersigned that the right to the pursuit of happiness is inalienable. Socrates said to know your self. Mortal lawmakers should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Persons who appreciate their own free choice of path in life should tolerate seekers' self-exploration. Liberty is prerequisite for tracking drug-use intentions and outcomes.

-- Posted by Bill_Harris on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 8:00 AM

Really?

At least John Cook made sense, and I totally disagree with him.

-- Posted by one4kids on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 8:43 AM

In my opinion, Bill Harris has it right.

"Unneeded government positions are not employment, they are welfare by other means".

-- Posted by BCStoned on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 9:02 AM

I'm sure Mr not so Smart would like to continue the status quo because it benefits people like him.I hope he doesnt break his arm patting himself on the back.Legalize it,tax it,then find another cause to make yourself sound like a saint..same old tired rhetoric.

-- Posted by Chickenlips on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 6:44 PM

Chickenlips and John Cook got it right.

And I might add, keep your church out of my government, Mr. not so Smart.

-- Posted by grandma73 on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 8:50 PM

Prohibition is a sickening horror and the ocean of human wreckage it has left in its wake is almost endless.

Based on the unalterable proviso that drug use is essentially an unstoppable and ongoing human behavior which has been with us since the dawn of time, any serious reading on the subject of past attempts at any form of drug prohibition would point most normal thinking people in the direction of sensible regulation. By its very nature prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model - the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous, ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved.

Prohibition ideology is based on lies and the 'War on Drugs' is a de facto 'war on people' (some might even successfully argue that it's a de facto race war). Prohibition has decimated generations and criminalized millions for a behavior which is entwined in human existence, and for what other purpose than to uphold the defunct and corrupt thinking of a minority of misguided, self-righteous Neo-Puritans and degenerate demagogues who wish nothing but unadulterated destruction on the rest of us!

-- Posted by malcolmkyle on Mon, Mar 8, 2010, at 2:19 PM

>>Mr. Cook asserts, "We have no fewer drugs

>>because of prohibition, just like we had no

>>less alcohol during that period of

>>prohibition." Neither Mr. Cook nor anyone else

>>can know this to be true, because this country

>>has never been without a prohibition on drugs.

Wrong. Prior to 1914 there was no drug prohibition. There was a very clear dividing line between the time when drugs (except for alcohol) were not considered to be a major problem in society, and the time that they became the modern horror that we see today.

Prior to 1914 there were no drug gangs. There was no drug-related crime. There were drug addicts - about the same percentage as today -- but they were not criminals and didn't commit crimes to support their habits. The drugs were sold openly, over the counter, without any restrictions at all. Lots of common medicines were fifty percent morphine by volume. Cocaine was included in everything from soda pop to toothache drops to tobacco cheroots (crack cocaine). Heroin was included in baby colic remedies.

There weren't any advertising laws, either, so sellers commonly claimed that their concoction would cure any problem had by you or your mule. Even the Pope was in ads telling people to drink cocaine wine.

Even under those conditions, the drugs were not considered to be a major problem and there was no movement to get them outlawed.

That all changed in 1914. The reason was the passage of the first drug prohibition law.

You can read all about it in the first several chapters of Licit and Illicit Drugs at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/...

>>The illegal status of drugs is a deterrent to

>>some, possibly preventing additional millions

>>from falling into that trap.

Surveys show that the amount is about two percent of the population, at best. On the other hand, the biggest single cause of drug epidemics among US children is hysterical anti-drug campaigns. You can read about several examples in Licit and Illicit Drugs in the chapters titled "How to Launch a Nationwide Drug Menace", "How LSD Was Popularized", and "How Speed Was Popularized."

You can also about the biggest teen alcohol epidemic that ever hit the US at http://druglibrary.org/prohibitionresult... It happened during alcohol prohibition.

>>According to the Substance Abuse and Mental

>>Health Services Administration, the government

>>agency that keeps such statistics, over 22

>>million Americans have used illicit drugs in

>>the last 30 days.

Which ought to tell you right there that you don't begin to have the jail cells available to even begin to solve this with law enforcement.

>> By legalizing these drugs, we would add to the

>>number of people whose lives would be affected

>>by them.

Read the major government commission reports on the drug laws at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy. They all agree that there is no evidence that prohibition limits drug use.

>> Simply calling drugs legal does not diminish

>>their negative impact on people's lives.

Who, besides you, said it would? It would diminish the impact of having a long-term criminal record for many people who have harmed no one but themselves. You can get over a drug habit. It is much harder to get over a drug conviction.

>>Additionally, it is questionable to call the

>>legalization of alcohol an unqualified success

>>since alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice and

>>the No. 1 addictive drug in America. Much of

>>the domestic violence and violent crime in our

>>country is alcohol-related, as well as tens of

>>thousands of traffic deaths that occur every

>>year.

Yep. Alcohol kills about ten times as many people as all the illegal drugs combined. It also wins all the prizes for social problems. Always has, always will. That ought to tell you right there that drug prohibition has nothing to do with trying to save lives or protect public health and safety. If the laws actually were to protect public health and safety then the toughest penalties would be on possession of alcohol.

Alcohol is legal for one reason only -- prohibition is even worse. Alcohol is bad, but prohibition didn't solve any of those problems. It only made them worse. You can read all about it at http://druglibrary.org/prohibitionresult...

>>Legalization of drugs would open the door to

>>further drug use by putting our societal stamp

>>of approval on this behavior and would create a

>>tsunami of addiction from which our nation

>>might never recover. We may not seem to be

>>winning the war on drugs, but, like any war

>>against tyranny, it is simply a war we must

>>continue to fight

This is pretty typical of the argument -- it will be the end of the world if we legalize drugs. Never mind that marijuana is currently America's largest cash crop and a business about the size of the beer business. In the name of the Holy Crusade, this drug business must remain in the hands of thugs and criminals, according to them.

We have the same choice we had with beer in 1933 -- Budweiser or Al Capone. Take your pick. Some people think Al Capone is the best choice to run this business. It makes so sense.

-- Posted by wm97 on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 8:31 PM

God is our shepherd, we shall not want . . . Well, you know the rest. Until man comes to God, there will always be chaos. Mr. Cook was a former prosecutor for Cape Girardeau County. He knows first-hand the penalty people pay for drug use. What people? The poor, the black, the Hispanic. If drugs are decriminalized and the government is allowed to tax the sale of drugs, which needs to happen, then the programs to help those who want the help will be there and the money going for enforcement of what I believe are unenforceable drug laws will end. Every taxpayer wanting to save some tax money should be for legalization of drugs. Do I use drugs? Of course not. Do I condone drug use? Of course not. God gave us free will, and free will doesn't always move in the right direction. We will sin. We will make mistakes. However, should the mistakes we make separate us from our families? Should we be incarcerated for a crime, nay a sin, against our being? Catching drug users is a waste of taxpayer dollars. If you don't think I'm right, go watch your local court. Go to the Jackson courthouse and see for yourself how many people appear before the judge for drug possession charges. It's your choice.

-- Posted by br549 on Tue, Mar 23, 2010, at 7:42 PM


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