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The War Against Battered and Confused Addicts

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, americans, children, drugs, healthcare, medicine, protection, society, treatment )

- 2182 days ago -
"The Riot Within," King wrote (perhaps with input from his co-author), "I no longer blame them (lawyers and politicians) for taking a battered and confused addict and trying to make him into a symbol for civil rights." King knew exactly what was up.

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Carlton Ward (55)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 2:18 pm
Stupid pop-down killed my comment. There are big bucks in the judicial/prison systems being made off of addicts which is why the "War on Addicts" will continue.

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 3:06 pm
We need to stop the War on Drugs. Whenever a war is declared it always ends up with disasterous results. We also need Universal Health Coverage in the USA, so that those who want to get treatment can do so. So many times people can not get help for this as they don't have the insurance, the money, or there isn't enough beds to go around. We are like a cat chasing it's tail around in circles with the policies we have. It's not at all working, but with the austerity attitude in this Country I doubt if we'll see anything change real fast. So many suffer needless in this Country, families broken up, and another generation suffers under the weight of this.

Michael T (82)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 5:30 pm
I have posted this link before as I think it tells one heck of a story about this from the industrial prison complex machine. But it is a great document to have on hand for a quick reference to the numbers.

Michael T (82)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 5:31 pm
I've also made this post elsewhere but I think it is still relevant in this forum.

Surplus workers will be increasingly criminalized. The justice department observed “The fact that legal order not only countenances but sustains slavery, segregation, and discrimination--and that the police are bound to uphold that order--set a pattern for police behavior & attitudes toward minority communities (like the NYPD arresting huge numbers of African Americans for possession of a single joint) that persists to the present day”
From the first arrest to third strikes resulting in lifetime sentences-often for non-violent crimes-blacks and Latinos are arrested & imprisoned in massively disproportionate numbers.
Nearly 3 out of 4 drug users are white, but more than 3 out of 4 state prisoners convicted of drug offenses are black & Latino. Drug & alcohol abuse are slightly higher for pregnant white women but black women & poor women were ten times as likely to be reported to authorities.
The typical cocaine user is a white, male, high school graduate employed full time & living in a small metropolitan area or suburb. Officers & judges say that it is clear that whites sell most of the nation’s cocaine & account for 80% of its consumers, it is blacks & other minorities who continue to fill up courtrooms & jails, largely because in a political climate that demands that something be done, they are the easiest people to arrest & the easiest to scapegoat.

Michael T (82)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 5:36 pm
In the recent summit a month or so ago, between the US and South American Leaders, those leaders pressed the US to eliminate this drug war or at least make concessions in regard to at least drugs like marijuana. The US declined. I don't understand it save that it is for the political purpose of not being labeled as the drug president in addition to the food stamp president (which is false). I do understand it if the pressures of another corporation are outweighing common sense and doing the right thing.

It makes me wonder how strong corporations have become that they direct American policy over the constitution and the people. Corporations are now the new nations and their constitution states profit over everything else.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 6:25 pm

That's true Dandelion, and chances are that getting rehab will be treated as if it were a criminal record. To change things we have to begin to think differently. End the drug wars for all the obvious reasons, futilely, cost, lack of any comprehensive reform. Many of us know people who take drugs, not just pot, but real drugs, and still work at a job, provide for their family, and have a life. We may not know exactly who they are, but each of suspect a few.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 6:31 pm

Well, I didn't see your comments until now, Michael. Talk about a slow system at Care2. I agree with each comment, and I think that I have read that link but will double check. I submitted another article recently about these indecent drug policies in New York City.

MmAway M (506)
Tuesday June 26, 2012, 9:27 pm
xx Kat!

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 4:42 am
The business of prison:
a true money maker but a social construct destroyer from the need to keep a minimum population that ultimately leads to overcrowding, leading to more violence for no benefit. except for a few politicians, the prison-industrial complex and the guards unions and before long the for profit court system to convict anyone, what solution does the prison offer? to turn human beings into emotionally crippled, institutionly dependent, and dangerous "convicts" no longer "People".. prisons do not work for the majority of inmates either as punishment or rehabilitation. why? because many inmates are in need of mental health and not to be left with presenting themselves as a bunch of failures and rejects who are even more likely to commit further crimes in an attempt to live up to what they have been told is true, and what's that? they are "Criminals".. instead lets let them know they are People who are responsible for their own mistakes not through hard time in a small cell but rather who need rehabilitation programs to lead more productive lives. there are red flags that we as a society know exist and yet refuse to deal with till it is to late. its time to change this thinking.
year after year we hear someone on TV after some major murder or outburst of violence and we are told of all the warning signs that could have stopped this long before it happened.. lets become proactive and change our reactive attitudes that only serve to keep us all cogs in the machine of the Fear Factory that benefits the few over the many.this thinking only hurts the most vulnerable among us.. what sense does this make?
it is high time to say enough NO MORE. silence is acceptance.we are change
life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

cecily w (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 5:10 am
The "War on Drugs" is not working. Unless you're wealthy, there are few places to put users for treatment so addiction is criminalized in order to get them off the streets. This shortcoming is spreading to those who are mentally ill. Think of recent news articles of young children who are arrested at school for inappropriate behavior because that is the only way they will get treatment.

Who is next?

wendy webber (28)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 5:41 am
This is a subject so very dear to my heart...I worked in Sub. abuse treatment for many yrs. I worked in 5 different prisons (max 5 offenders) within a drug treatment community model for 7 of those yrs.Michael T. you are so right in what you write(so are the other comments). I could write a book about my experience.Sometimes I think people in this country have a fascination with the concept of "war" it means we are doing something "right"...fighting for some justice,some strange vision of glory achieved.Which, as we all know, is usually not the case.Same with this War on Drugs! I have so much to say about all of this that I almost feel tongue tied.Which for me is not a common affliction.Drug addicts have always been treated as throwaways unless they have some notoriety.Drug/alcohol addicts fill our prisons..most never receiving any help.This system creates a worker bee mentality and it also is employment for the marginally employable (the guards). The programs I worked in were effective.They made a difference.Unfortunately the "system: really only wanted a dog and pony show...the offenders I worked with wanted more.Drugs are not the problem but it is much simpler to see eradicating them as the answer.I'll stop here...for now.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 5:50 am
Dear Wendy, You are absolutely right. No people are throwaway. Also we will never win a fight we will just attract more fighting. We must move pro not anti. Not anti-drugs, just pro clean, Not anti-war, just pro peace. To criminalize someone for something they cannot help is just plain wrong. You have taken something that could be victimless and made it into something that consumes people,money. Giving someone a criminal record is never the answer. This happens to be the root cause of a lot of the homeless.Once someone has a criminal record they cannot get a job, they cannot get housing.

Kerrie G (116)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 6:28 am
Noted, thanks.

Robert B (60)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 6:37 am
Kit: Thanks! I totally agree with this article. Before it was illegal to take drugs we did not have this kind of horrific mess. Like prohibition, well meaning people caused a disaster by passing poorly thought out laws. They should have focused on HELPING addicts not punishing them. Hopefully, in the near future. our misled politicians will come to some sense.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 8:57 am

When we set up actual treatment centers many will stop using drugs. As long as drugs of any kind remain illegal there will be more crime, as addicts attempt to gain access to the drugs. We have had privatization of prisons and jails for some time now. In Alabama the county Sheriffs make extra money on the funds not used to properly house and feed their inmates. We also know as fact, that though it is white people who are strongly in the business of selling and using drugs, it will be people of color, people without a voice who will be arrested. Legalize drugs, create treatment centers, that also creates jobs.

A country can not be at war with an inanimate object. All we are doing is making the cartels stronger, the prisons do increase in numbers and that is very good for those who own the jails and prisons, what though does that do to make our society better? No the answer is not more "free" programs, think it through.

Michael T (82)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 9:49 am
We still pretend here in the US that racism is dead, that class doesn’t make a difference, that ethnicity won’t count against you. But if you are born to a family that isn’t part of the inner circle in the US, and you happen to be black, gay, Hispanic life is very different. You realize that as you grow up and observe how differently you are treated, how access to success is blocked to you simply because of categories you were born into are overwhelming. Is it any wonder that people get so frustrated it becomes easier to dampen the pain of this by resorting to drug use? We, the white, androcentric, misogynistic, patriarchs created this situation. It eliminates any competition, forcing the targeted marginalized people into crime and prison. The news that births of other colors are on the rise and that of whites is flattening and declining. They are in power and they will fight to hold on to the power they have maintained since the beginning of this country for as long as they can.

. (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 11:29 am
As for Rodney King,a "battered and confused addict", deceived an undisclosed settlement for obvious reasons. Twenty years later, he drowns in his own swimming pool. First reports said it was due to being high, and not in control. Will the autopsy become public?
He're a man who had the financial means to clean himself up, and look what happened.

Susanne R (235)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 11:56 am
Does anyone really believe that a person becomes a drug addict because that's their chosen goal in life? Most of us don't understand the circumstances that led them to addiction --which include physical and/or emotional pain, hopelessness, mood disorders, a genetic predisposition, etc. But we DO know that there are plenty of people out there who promote addiction and who've made good steady jobs of feeding that addiction once they've established a customer base.

I have no love for what happens to people once they've become addicted, but what about the people who've lost control of their lives to it --those whose lives revolve around it and whose need for it causes them to hurt others, turn their backs on their loved ones, and break the law?Or the families who struggle with a loved one who's out of control and who could die at any moment from an overdose or at the hands of a violent dealer? I don't know what caused Rodney King to drown in his own swimming pool, but I'm not going to make assumptions, either. Did he somehow deserve to die because he was an addict?

Thank you for posting this article by Froma Harrop, Kit! She's one of my favorites, and her syndicated columns appear in our newspaper several times a week. And I agree with the commenters who talk about the private (for profit) prison industry we're supporting in this country. Their profit margin depends upon filling their cells. They have their own lobbying groups. If anyone doesn't think they're jumping for joy at the prospect of filling their facilities with addicts, they're living in a fool's paradise! And if anyone thinks these addicts will get the treatment they need while housed in a for-profit facility, they're sadly mistaken. They'll be lucky if their nutritional needs are met! The same holds true for illegal immigrants. When Jan Brewer became convinced that she couldn't keep them out of Arizona, deport them or kill them, she found another solution: private prisons! And one hand began to wash the other. I'm glad the Supreme Court ruled against the law she signed that made imprisoning them so effortless...

Thanks again for a great post, Kit, and for all the great comments!

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 6:16 pm
How Can We Stop the Mexican Drug Insanity When Banks and Much of the Establishment Profit Big Time from Illegal Drugs?

"Corruption in the drug war extends far beyond the hands of drug cartels - our own banks, businesses, and government profit from illegalization of drugs."

' It's not just that some law enforcement officials are corrupt. They don't need to be for police departments to make money from arresting minor drug offenders.

Police departments around the nation gain from laws that allow the seizing of assets that the law enforcement officers allege may be related to drug crime, without even a court case involved. The libertarian CATO institute wrote about this practice that allows the agencies to use the proceeds from the confiscated money or property to enlarge departmental budgets. The report is called "Forfeit for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture."

Law enforcement agencies can also get extra money from federal grants if they show a high number of arrests related to drug use and selling, so it is of financial value to the department to arrest as many people for drug related offenses as possible.

Neill Franklin is executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He calls this change to an emphasis on arrests of the drug user as a "shift to the numbers game" for police departments to receive more funding. Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran of the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department, said, "we worked in predominantly white areas, yet most of our cases and lock ups were minorities. There were very few cases in the outlying areas that involved whites."

Mike m (9)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 6:27 pm
Declare an amnesty for and release all non-violent drug "offenders." Create space in the prisons to hold REAL criminals. Murderers, rapists, thieves...and all the Bankers and Corporate executives who committed wholesale fraud in the Mortgage industry, destroying the world economy and the lives of millions. Ahh..perhaps to dream...

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 6:47 pm
Drugs don't cause crime, PROHIBITION CAUSES CRIME!

Meet Obama's Proposed 2013 Federal Drug Budget

"This is very much the same drug budget we've been seeing for years," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "The Obama drug budget is the Bush drug budget, which was the Clinton drug budget. Little has changed."

"It's really just more of the same," said Sean Dunagan, a former DEA intelligence analyst whose last assignment in northeastern Mexico between 2008 and 2010, a when prohibition-related violence there was soaring, helped change his perspective. Dunagan quit the DEA and is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

"There are very minor adjustments in how the drug spending is allocated and bit more money for treatment, but there's a significant increase in interdiction, as well as a $61 million increase for domestic law enforcement," Dunagan noted. "They're trying to argue that they're abandoning the drug war and shifting the focus, but the numbers don't really back that up."

The proposed budget also demonstrates the breadth of the federal drug spending largesse among the bureaucratic fiefdoms in Washington. Departments that catch a ride on the drug war gravy train include Agriculture, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Veterans' Affairs, as well as the federal judiciary, District of Columbia courts, the Small Business Administration, and, of course, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office).

"It's just the same old programs being funded through the same old stove-pipes," said Eric Sterling, executive director of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation. "In a way, it's ironic. When Congress passed the legislation creating the drug czar's office in 1988, the idea was for the drug czar to look at all the federal anti-drug spending and come in and say he was going to take the funds from one program and shift them to a more effective program. I think many in Congress hoped he would shift resources from law enforcement to treatment and prevention because there was evidence that those sorts of programs were more effective and a better use of resources. That didn't happen," he said.

"The people who run the bureaucratic fiefdoms at Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, State and Treasury have outmuscled the drug czar, and now the drug czar's budget announcements are reduced to public relations and spin," Sterling continued. "They take some $15 or $20 million program and bullet-point it as significant, but that's almost nothing when it comes to federal drug dollars."

The Justice Department alone would get $7.85 billion, up almost $400 million from FY 2012, with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the DEA among those Justice components seeing funding increases. BOP spending would increase by about 8%, while the DEA budget would increase from $2.35 billion to $2.38 billion. On the other hand, the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which lost its congressional patron with the death of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), has been zeroed out.

"The hundreds of millions of dollar increases in funding requested for the Federal Bureau of Prisons is particularly outrageous," said Sterling. "There are too many people doing too much time they don't need to be doing. Obama has the power to save hundreds of millions of dollars by commuting excessively long sentences. He could reduce the deficit and increase the amount of justice in America.

"He could tell the BOP he was ordering a cap on the federal prison population that now has a sentenced population of 198,000, Sterling continued, on a roll. "He could order them that whenever a new prisoner arrives, they have to send him the names of prisoners who may have served enough time for their crimes for him to consider for immediate release from prison. He could ask all the federal judges to send him the names of people they have sentenced to longer terms than they think are just. If he had the heart to reach out to those prisoners who are serving decades for minor roles and their suffering families, if he had the brains to put in place the means to achieve those cost-serving measures, and if he had the guts to actually use the constitutional power he has to do it, that would be great."

"That increase in incarceration spending really jumps out at me, too" said Dunagan. "To make their claim that they're not going to be locking up small-time dealers and users is pretty disingenuous."

Pentagon spending on interdiction and other anti-drug activities would decline somewhat, with the budget proposing $1.725 billion for 2013, a decline of $200 million from the 2012 budget. But interdiction spending goes up elsewhere, as Dunagan noted.

And State Department drug spending would take a hit. Spending would decline by just more than $100 million to $687 million, but most of that decrease would come from reduced funding for alternative development assistance, while State's other drug-related program, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs ("drugs and thugs"), would see only a $6 million decrease.

While funding for prevention and treatment would increase by 4.6% under the proposed budget, some treatment and grant programs are seeing cuts, while criminal justice system-based approaches are getting more money.

"I'm concerned that the budget seems to be emphasizing drug courts and criminal justice-based drug treatment," said Piper. "They're cutting SAMHSA, which funds a lot of treatment, but increasing spending for prison-based treatment."

The $364 million earmarked for SAMHSA's treatment programs is a $61 million reduction from FY 2012, while drug courts saw a $17 million increase to $52 million and BOP drug treatment programs saw a $16 million increase to $109 million.

The new drug budget also resurrects the drug czar's widely criticized National Youth Media Campaign, dropped last year when Congress failed to fund it.

"I'm also disappointed that they put back in funding for the drug czar's failed youth media campaign, which Congress eliminated last year," said Piper. "It's only $20 million, and you can hardly do a national media campaign with that, but still."

This is only the administration's budget proposal, of course, and Congress will have plenty of opportunities to try to cut (or increase) portions of it. Still, the proposed budget is a window on the thinking of administration that has talked the talk about how we are no longer in a war on drugs, but has taken only stumblingly tiny steps toward walking the walk. And drug reformers aren't liking what they're seeing.

"LEAP thinks this is misguided," said Dunagan. "The only thing that's different is the rhetoric used to spin it, and even that is a sort of tacit acknowledgment by the administration that people don't really like the drug war, but substantively, there's very little different from the past."

"Between the drug budgets and his war on medical marijuana, we're very disappointed in Obama," said DPA's Piper.

"We should be disappointed in the Obama administration," said Sterling. "There was supposed to be change. This was the University of Chicago law professor, the Harvard-trained lawyer, who was going to bring in his own people and make real change. I'm very disappointed in his drug policies and criminal justice policies. My disappointment with his policy failures don't have anything to do with the economic crisis or the geostrategic situation he inherited.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 27, 2012, 9:56 pm
Drugs are a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. Our war on drugs is the worst public policy since slavery.

Robert Garvin (46)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 4:50 am
I guess that one way to stop all this terrible things happening for addicts is to shoot the pushers who make a whole pouch of money at the poor addicts expense and destroy him/her. Do the addicts deserve to be addicts? I do not think so. Someone introduced them to the drugs so they are the responsible ones.

Although, there are no where near the deaths from hard drugs as there is with Alcohol and no one seems to be doing anything about Alcohol. Still I guess it is a persons choice so they know the damage that can be done from playing with fire. A bit like Russian Roulette. But it will NEVER happen to me! Well, sadly it does happen.

Robert Garvin (46)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 5:12 am
There is one other reason for keeping all this "law enforcement" going. Something that the elite know about but the average man or woman in the street know nothing about. They have to justify building bigger and newer prisons for the soon coming religious problems that are being set in place right now.

To choose whether to be a christian or not should be a persons right NOT to be forced to do so. When things get really bad, all those who object will have to be put away somewhere ready for extermination, just like they did during the Dark Ages. Religion should only ever be a personal thing and NOT be enforced by governments but it is coming fast and when it hits, it will be a terrible thing but it will be brought in as supposedly "for the good of the people". Rubbish.

Past Member (0)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 8:09 am

Why the DEA Chief's Embarassing Refusal to Admit Heroin is More Harmful Than Pot Went Viral

DEA chief Michele Leonhart's feigned ignorance about her own area of expertise is a sign that something has gone askew in our nation's drug policy.

Last week, DEA chief Michele Leonhart got quite a bit of attention with congressional testimony that left a lot of people shaking their heads in frustration. Here's what everyone is talking about:

"Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?" Polis asked Leonhart.

"I believe all illegal drugs are bad," Leonhart answered.

Polis continued, asking whether methamphetamines and heroin were worse for a person's health than marijuana.

"Again, all drugs, they're illegal drugs," Leonhart started, before being cut off by Polis.

"Yes, no, or I don't know?" Polis said. "If you don't know, you can look this up. You should know this as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I'm asking a very straightforward question: Is heroin worse for someone's health than marijuana?"

Leonhart ducked again, repeating, "All illegal drugs are bad."

The whole thing ought to speak for itself, but it's worth repeating that the person who is literally in charge of stopping everyone from taking drugs is somehow incapable of explaining to us the difference between the various drugs we shouldn't be taking. It's her job to know a lot about this, and her complete lack of insight is less than impressive.

What makes this moment so significant is that people really reacted to it, and the video has now been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. I doubt it's news to anybody that drug warriors have a tendency towards being obtuse when asked simple questions, but Leonhart's feigned ignorance is so vividly depicted in this exchange that she managed to captivate everyone in the worst possible way.

Who, if not this woman, should be able to speak intelligently about the dangers of drugs? By attempting to downplay marijuana's reputation for relative safety, she ends up coming across as oblivious or indifferent to the basic facts about drugs that everyone learns in school. The idea that there's a hierarchy of drug dangers is so widely understood that there's really no sense in even challenging it.

That's why the question wasn't even that big of a trap. There is simply no reason at all that the DEA administrator can't just tell everyone outright that, no, marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin. That's just a fact. It's the only answer she can give that won't make her look foolish, and not looking like a fool in front of Congress and the American people ought to be more important than maintaining such an absurd stance as this.

The irony of it all is that Leonhart's silly statement comes at a time when more people are paying attention to the issue than ever before. When the public is exhibiting increased skepticism about our drug policy priorities, the need for candid and intelligent commentary from public officials is that much greater. If more people are asking questions about the issue, then our policy-makers should be giving longer answers, not shorter ones.

The power to enforce these laws should never be separated from the obligation to articulate whatever wisdom and necessity underscores them. When political posturing compromises a spokesperson's ability to speak intelligently about their own area of expertise, it's a sign that something is wrong. In this case, that something is our nation's ongoing war on marijuana, a fiasco so embarrassing and inexplicable that insisting the stuff is as bad as heroin remains a top argument in its defense.

Polis Questions DEA on Marijuana Policy


Past Member (0)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 8:14 am

Life Without Parole for Pot? 10 Worst Cases of Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Our government spends more than $7 billion annually to enforce marijuana prohibition in shockingly cruel ways, but the efforts have not deterred marijuana use.


Past Member (0)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 10:06 am
War on Drugs Spreading HIV/AIDS

JL A (281)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 10:40 am
Using a medical model instead of a criminal justice model to address drug problems would cost the taxpayer far less, be more humane and actually reduce the related impacts on the rest of the community more effectively.

Lucie G (39)
Thursday June 28, 2012, 12:44 pm
these people need to be dealt with understanding and kindness. There is always a reason why someone chooses this path. Often a kickback of not been able to cope with their life as it is so they seek a release.
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