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Bloggingheads
04-13-2008, 06:44 PM

bjkeefe
04-13-2008, 08:52 PM
That was really interesting. Thanks to both of you. Nothing that I can think of to debate, since I believe my leanings were matched throughout: drug war stupid, gun control unachievable, foot patrols good, extra incentives for arresting people bad. Peter had some ideas that sounded plausible and commonsensical that I'd really like to see tried, especially regarding foot patrols.

It was interesting to learn how cops game the system. I never heard of "dollars for collars" before.

About the only thing that didn't get touched upon, and I'm not sure if Peter would have been exposed to this at the patrol level, but there is an argument that another thing that contributes to the mess is the "prison-industrial complex;" i.e., that there are powerful special interests that like long, mandatory prison sentences, just to keep the money rolling in. People who run privatized prisons and the California prison guards union are two examples of this that I've read about.

Another really nice job of interviewing by Will -- prepared, unobtrusive, and just a light hand on the rudder.

Eastwest
04-13-2008, 08:54 PM
Fascinating.

Thanks to both.

EW

StillmanThomas
04-13-2008, 10:23 PM
Excellent conversation. Thanks, guys.

jh in sd
04-14-2008, 12:53 AM
Excellent diavlog. I was particularly interested in the conversation about guns and gun control. Where I live, hunting is part of the culture, and shotguns and rifles are everywhere. During hunting season, I often have 5-6 guns sitting in the corner of my kitchen. Yet here, there is very little crime perpetrated with the use of guns. Most people who die of gunshot wounds around here die in hunting-related accidents, and the numbers are not high. Neither is the population here large. I know this is a different issue than handguns, but it does illustrate that the problem of gun violence goes deeper than just the availability of guns. Still, and obviously, keeping handguns out of the hand of criminals will go a long way to curtail crime.

soibois
04-14-2008, 12:55 AM
This is great. Go Will Go.

I have a friend with a band called Foot Patrol, so I'll certainly be dingalinking the hell out of this.

graz
04-14-2008, 01:45 AM
[QUOTE=bjkeefe;
About the only thing that didn't get touched upon, and I'm not sure if Peter would have been exposed to this at the patrol level, but there is an argument that another thing that contributes to the mess is the "prison-industrial complex;" i.e., that there are powerful special interests that like long, mandatory prison sentences, just to keep the money rolling in. [/QUOTE]

Good point, and as intelligent and aware as Peter is he certainly would contend with this larger issue. No cop isn't aware of the power that they wield and the consequence of arrests.
I want to acknowledge my sense that Peter was a straight shooter and I bet that Will's dad was a righteous officer. What most interests me is the decidedly small but powerful effect of police brutality. It has always struck me that a scary number of recruits to police academies are attracted to the power as much as the desire to protect and serve. The prototype is the person who wants to control and correct. The laws on the books enable the rationale for the enhanced enforcement. My subjective view is informed by personal observation of family and friends who gravitated towards police work. Isn't it also obvious that the inherent conflict of interest of suburban and down state ("whites") policing inner-city persons of color is a recipe for potential abuse. Peter disagreed with this and rationalized that they are criminals after all. He is not a fan of the drug war, but fails to make the distinction between the obvious desire for the drugs and the resultant dealer that follows. And I don't have exact statistics, but my reading of journalists and crime reporters helps support my contention about abuse. I wish they would have touched on this concern.

That being said: My teenage sons were involved in a police call this very afternoon. A pack of six boys were at the skate park and were up on the low-slung roof of the restroom overlooking the park. As it was an extremely hot day they were also tossing water balloons. I witnessed this scene from a
distance while talking with another parent. In the course of our conversation I told her that I had misgivings about allowing them to continue cavorting on the roof. She mocked me and said, "Hey they're boys - let them have some fun." Not one moment later a patrol car cruised into the park. I watched from afar. The responding officer handled the situation beautifully. He asked them down and explained the risk. They all complied without any sass or challenge. He moved on without issuing any tickets or threats. Bravo.

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 02:51 AM
graz:

It has always struck me that a scary number of recruits to police academies are attracted to the power as much as the desire to protect and serve. The prototype is the person who wants to control and correct. The laws on the books enable the rationale for the enhanced enforcement. My subjective view is informed by personal observation of family and friends who gravitated towards police work.

My own bit of anecdotal evidence: A few years ago, my sister ordered a sort of "Where are they now?" book put out by the high school that she and I had attended, sort of a Facebook when that was still a lowercase, dead trees thing.

For some reason, I started looking up the bullies who had, from time to time, made my high school life miserable. There were about a half-dozen of them who had managed to graduate, and every single one was listed as a cop or "retired" cop. No other occupations listed.

Which is not to say all cops are bullies, of course. But I agree: there's a strong attraction to the thought of getting to be an asshole with official sanction.

Wonderment
04-14-2008, 03:08 AM
The end of the dialogue was the best part, I thought -- when Peter discusses one of the dirtiest of the many dirty little secrets in the war on drugs: that we have become a prison nation with "an unprecendented scale of incarceration," essentially in order to curb a loitering problem in black neighborhoods:

"My job was just getting them to keep quiet."

The fact that whites sell as much dope as blacks or Latinos and are prosecuted at a far lower rate is blissfully ignored by the criminal justice system largely because white people don't do their business on the street corners.

The advantage to living in a rural area or the suburbs is that you basically get a pass on selling heroin, meth, crack, etc.

The "dollars for collars" overtime arrangement is also scandalous. I hope that is in Peter's book because it could really help people understand how institutionally corrupt the system is and how taxpayers may have an incentive in decriminalization.

All in all, a very interesting conversation.

otto
04-14-2008, 04:47 AM
I'm getting the picture that Will has been authorised to run the 'guns, drugs, and ho's' bloggingheads material. Sort of the airport thriller libertarian.

daveh
04-14-2008, 07:52 AM
Didn't I just hear the air running out of Mr. Florida's theories?

As Mr. Moskos describes it, the blue collar cops of Baltimore are diverse, tolerant, and encourage new experience, while those "creative class" types at Harvard are sneering and narrowminded.

bjkeefe
04-14-2008, 01:41 PM
Didn't I just hear the air running out of Mr. Florida's theories?

Didn't I just hear someone reaching for anecdotal evidence to support a preconceived bias?

Wonderment
04-14-2008, 03:28 PM
As Mr. Moskos describes it, the blue collar cops of Baltimore are diverse, tolerant, and encourage new experience, while those "creative class" types at Harvard are sneering and narrowminded.

He did concede that cops are generally conservative.

What I think he might have stressed more is that cops today are considerably less racist, sexist and chauvinistic than they were --paradoxically -- back when the prison population was 1/6 the size it is toady.

Cops today get a better education in liberal values and civil rights. Female officers and more minority officers have helped immensely in my view, as has the concept of community policing and the emergence of police review boards and better civilian oversight in general.

Another aspect of the puzzle that wasn't discussed is the role of prosecutors and DAs. In my area, unlike on TV's "Law and Order", the prosecutors tend to be more right-wing than the cops on the street. They have more ideological baggage and a stronger belief in the accused as the enemy.

harkin
04-14-2008, 04:44 PM
I really enjoyed this dialogue. For a liberal, Peter seems very open-minded. As a conservative, I completely agree with him that the drug war is a complete failure, but at the same time I also don't ignore the problems that we'll have if all drugs are legalized.

I at least appreciate that he recognizes the culture of violence that can't be blamed on legalized gun ownership. I own more than ten guns but I have never once fired it in celebration, of the new year or any other event.

jh in sd
04-14-2008, 05:09 PM
wonderment, You mention prosecutors who "have more ideological baggage and a stronger belief in the accused as the enemy." As advocates for people who have been robbed, assaulted, raped or in other ways violated, or even worse, advocates for family members of murder victims, it seems quite logical to think of "the accused as the enemy."

AemJeff
04-14-2008, 05:23 PM
wonderment, You mention prosecutors who "have more ideological baggage and a stronger belief in the accused as the enemy." As advocates for people who have been robbed, assaulted, raped or in other ways violated, or even worse, advocates for family members of murder victims, it seems quite logical to think of "the accused as the enemy."

jh, can you think of a better way to ensure tyranny than to conflate the state of having been accused with an assertion of guilt? Prosecutors use conviction stats as effectiveness benchmarks. Advocacy for victims is a wonderful thing. It is a terrible thing to set victims' rights against those of the accused.

dankingbooks
04-14-2008, 07:43 PM
I'm open minded on drug legalization. But I do have a few questions:

1) If some drugs are legalized, won't there still be a trade in drugs that remain illegal? You could legalize cocaine, but have a thriving trade in methamphetemines, for example.

2) Don't people use more drugs in the Netherlands, compared to here?

3) How are today's drug dealers going to get laid if drugs are regulated? The questions isn't facetious - they are going to do something. What?

4) What are health issues for the broader society?

uncle ebeneezer
04-15-2008, 02:03 PM
Great diavlog. Will is challenging Bob as the best interviewer on BHTV. I wonder who chooses the interviewees. Everything about this diavlog was enlightening. Foot patrols, rotating door policy etc., etc. Good stuff and an important topic. Plus, a look into the real world of Baltimore police force was cool too.

moskos
04-19-2008, 07:08 PM
bjkeefe, I do have knowledge of the "prison-industrial complex." It is real and needs to be confronted. It's not the only thing keeping out prisons going, but it's a big part of it. The term comes from a 1998 article by Eric Schlosser in the Atlantic Monthly. I assign it in my classes. Everybody should read it.

dankingbooks: drug legalization would not end all drug-related problems. No more than alcohol regulation ended alcoholism. But legalizing alcohol did save lives and end Prohibition-related problems. Drug regulation would do the same.

To answer your questions:

1) If some drugs are legalized, won't there still be a trade in drugs that remain illegal?

Yes. That's why I think we need to legalize (and regulate) all drugs. Though I also think that if we legalized the "big" drugs, people might not bother with dangerous lesser-used drugs. Why huff glue or huff gasoline if you can get a better high legally and with less brain damage?

2) Don't people use more drugs in the Netherlands, compared to here?

No! Many drug prohibitions state this, but it's simply not true. There is a surprising consensus on this from everybody that cares about the truth. All studies show less drug use in the Netherlands than the United States. Even the percentage of people who have ever tried marijuana, which you can buy legally in the Netherlands, is lower than in the United States. Heroin addiction rates are lower in the Netherlands. Fewer people in prison. Less violence. Much fewer overdoses. And they spend less money on all of this. I talk about this (and cite my sources) in the last chapter of my book, Cop in the Hood.

In fact, I write this right now from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I urge anybody who doubts the basic success of Dutch policy to come to the Netherlands, talk to police here (as I do), and judge for yourself. It's not perfect here, but it's heaven compared to East Baltimore.

3) How are today's drug dealers going to get laid if drugs are regulated? The questions isn't facetious - they are going to do something. What?

That's a good question. My guess is that some dealers would become successful legal businessmen. Others would simply become losers. The former would continue to get laid, the losers wouldn't. But at least as losers, they wouldn't be a glamorous influence on others.

4) What are health issues for the broader society?

Legalized drugs wouldn't end problems of drug abuse. But many illegal drugs aren't addictive. I'm not so worried about recreational use of non-addictive drugs. Heroin, on the other hand, is a bad drug. I don't have the answers to heroin addiction. Nobody does. But at least regulated drug distribution would end the violence around the drug trade (saving lives) and virtually end fatal overdoses (saving more lives). Let doctors deal with health issues. It shouldn't be the job of police officers and prisons.

moskos
04-19-2008, 07:24 PM
I would argue that if you don't sell drugs on the street corner, if nobody complains about your drug selling, then you *should* be ignored by the criminal justice system.

The link between arrests and court overtime pay is in my book (Cop in the Hood). Even without drastically changing our drug laws, we could drastically reduce arrests numbers by giving police officers easier and different opportunities to earn overtime pay.

Remember, though, that in the police world, arrests are good. The more the better. So in the police world there is no problem with police making arrests for whatever reason. Rather, the onus is on the low-arrest officer to prove that he or she is actually working (and not just a lazy hump).

I would often think how much it cost the city every time I arrested somebody for a prosecutable offense. Multiple court appearances. Jail time. Court expenses. Lawyers' fees. It ran in the thousands of dollars. A few hundred of that would go to me.

There is a lot of money that could be saved. But I think from a societal standpoint, it goes beyond dollars. I mean, if prison costs $30,000 a year, couldn't we just give somebody $25,000 to stay out of trouble (and prison)? But how many taxpayers would prefer to give (undeserving) people money, even if it would save money? Money is wasted on the criminal-justice system, but it seems to bother people less because at least they think that bad people are getting what they deserve.

There's more at www.copinthehood.com

bjkeefe
04-19-2008, 07:38 PM
Peter:

Thanks for checking in and for adding some useful comments. Let me repeat that I enjoyed your diavlog and hope to hear from you again.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the prison-industrial complex, in particular. Thanks for the reference to the Atlantic article.

bjkeefe
04-19-2008, 07:39 PM
BTW, here's a link to the article that Peter mentioned: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199812/prisons

jh in sd
04-20-2008, 03:11 PM
Peter, You say let doctors deal with the health issues. Don't problems with any kind of addiction spill over into society? You don't propose what will be done with the addicts who can't function in their day-to day-life. Anything different than what is being done now? Will it become the responsibility of society to take care of these addicts if society condones their behavior by legalizing it. I'm sure that will become the argument-away from personal responsibility and toward bigger government. Doesn't the thought of meth being legal sound like a nightmare?

Note to Bob Wright-This would be a great issue to explore further-maybe you could get former Gov. Gary Johnson to be a blogginghead.

Wonderment
04-20-2008, 03:31 PM
Will it become the responsibility of society to take care of these addicts if society condones their behavior by legalizing it. I'm sure that will become the argument-away from personal responsibility and toward bigger government. Doesn't the thought of meth being legal sound like a nightmare?


I am pro-legalization on principle and because I also saw in Europe that it works. I lived in Spain where all possession is legal, although trafficking is vigorously prosecuted.

Society already has the responsibility of dealing with addicts. A legalization program would have as its goal to REDUCE addiction. It would have to be accompanied by a very robust education and rehabilitation program. Yes, that costs money, but so does the current epidemic and the prison state.

The thought of legal meth is not much more daunting than the easy universal access to meth that already exists. Same goes for heroin.

bjkeefe
04-20-2008, 03:40 PM
jh:

I'm inclined to agree with Wonderment. I'd add one point: because a new policy cannot be shown to solve all problems is not a sufficient reason to dismiss it, particularly if the current policy is doing such a poor job.

Additionally, as I think Peter said, legalization would mean that even if we continue to have addiction problems, at least the addicts will have less need to commit crimes to support their habits.

All that said, I do share your worries about this problem, particularly for hard drugs that are truly physically addictive. But it might help, in the long run, if we viewed drug addiction purely as a health concern, and not as a criminal matter. We continue to have alcoholics and pain pill junkies, but it seems to me these problems are at the manageable state, for society overall -- not perfect, but not overwhelming, either.

Wonderment
04-20-2008, 04:15 PM
We continue to have alcoholics and pain pill junkies, but it seems to me these problems are at the manageable state, for society overall -- not perfect, but not overwhelming, either.

Actually, our success in dramatically reducing tobacco addiction is a good measure of how far education can go. Tobacco addiction has been reduced without any punitive measures or abolition.

Studies in Europe suggest that there is a roughly stable percentage of the population at risk for addiction. Poverty, education, availability and cultural acceptance variables all matter, of course, but by and large legalization has not significantly increased the percentage of hard drug addicts.

There's also the hypocrisy issue: Alcohol, a far more dangerous drug for the user and his/her victims, is legal, glorified and sold by targeting alcohol addicts and youth. Marijuana or mescaline can get you sent to prison.

jh in sd
04-20-2008, 05:09 PM
bj and wonder, Your arguments are persuasive, and I do agree that in many ways it is helpful to treat addiction strictly as a medical problem. But speaking as someone who can shake the family tree and have addicts come raining down on me, I have seen the destructive force that alcoholism has on families, causing problems that spill over into other areas that ultimately impact society. One thing I would point out about drug addiction is that for most drugs other that pot, the physical and psychological toll taken on the user can overwhelm them much more quickly, and can cause more irreparable damage, than with alcoholism. And since these drugs are often used by adolescents, it become very dangerous. Also, legalization seems to take away the stigma.

bjkeefe
04-20-2008, 05:42 PM
jh:

... for most drugs other that pot, the physical and psychological toll taken on the user can overwhelm them much more quickly, and can cause more irreparable damage, than with alcoholism.

I'm not sure I buy that. I don't have real knowledge of the numbers, but intuitively, I think of how many people I know who dabbled in hard drugs and outgrew them, as well as the studies I've seen suggesting early episodes of binge drinking has permanent effects. I repeat, I don't know for sure, but it seems like your belief is about the same as mine -- mostly an informed gut feeling.

Also, legalization seems to take away the stigma.

That's something to ponder. On the other hand, there is the "forbidden fruit" effect to consider. Many young people are attracted to experimenting with drugs, in part, because they have the aura of "being bad."

I'd also point out that alcohol is legal, but most of us consider chronic drunks as losers (or people with health problems, if we're being charitable). And as Wonderment noted, the creation of a stigma regarding smoking tobacco has been quite impressive.

AemJeff
04-20-2008, 07:13 PM
legalization seems to take away the stigma.

There's also reverse stigmatization. Forbidden fruit is especially tempting for the rebels and more particularly the wannabe rebels who are the most likely types of kids to be initially attracted to the idea of drug use. Legalization would kick a peg from under the romance of drug use.

Wonderment
04-20-2008, 08:00 PM
There's also reverse stigmatization. Forbidden fruit is especially tempting for the rebels and more particularly the wannabe rebels who are the most likely types of kids to be initially attracted to the idea of drug use. Legalization would kick a peg from under the romance of drug use.

There's also a serious civil rights issue. If I want to get high the state has no more business in more brain than it does in my body when I have sex with another consenting adult.

Decriminalization enhances human freedom. People shouldn't have to live in fear of the police because they want to relieve stress or boredom or whatever. This is an especially compelling argument with regard to psychedelic drugs, which are often used for therapy, self-discovery and spiritual exploration. The Native American church exemption should apply to everyone.

Decriminalizing allows us to focus on prevention and early intervention with teens and rehabilitation for habitual users.

The inequity in drug arrests, prosecutions and sentencing is another huge problem. As was pointed out in this dialogue, street users are much more vulnerable than suburban users. Cops and prosecutors often have ulterior motives in pursuing drug busts.

AemJeff
04-20-2008, 08:08 PM
There's also a serious civil rights issue. If I want to get high the state has no more business in more brain than it does in my body when I have sex with another consenting adult.

Decriminalization enhances human freedom. People shouldn't have to live in fear of the police because they want to relieve stress or boredom or whatever. This is an especially compelling argument with regard to psychedelic drugs, which are often used for therapy, self-discovery and spiritual exploration. The Native American church exemption should apply to everyone.

Decriminalizing allows us to focus on prevention and early intervention with teens and rehabilitation for habitual users.

The inequity in drug arrests, prosecutions and sentencing is another huge problem. As was pointed out in this dialogue, street users are much more vulnerable than suburban users. Cops and prosecutors often have ulterior motives in pursuing drug busts.

Wonderment, this was very well said. Drug laws (and sex-as-commerce laws, and vice laws generally) have no place in a free society. The standard should always be adult consent.

jh in sd
04-20-2008, 08:32 PM
AemJeff, I'm all for personal freedom-as long as people assume responsibily for their actions. As long as no one expects society to foot the bill in fixing the problem, let people take all the drugs they want. Sadly, it never works that way, does it?

AemJeff
04-20-2008, 08:43 PM
Actually, as a general proposition I agree with you. But, I think that the equation legalization = associated problems get worse is probably false. I'm not saying that I think the reverse of that is true - just that I believe the relationships are a lot messier than what a prohibition model assumes.

jh in sd
04-20-2008, 10:04 PM
AemJeff and Wonder, Personally, I'd rest easier if certain drugs were made legal, but I just can't reach a point where I think it would be good for society as a whole.

bjkeefe
04-20-2008, 10:45 PM
AemJeff and Wonder, Personally, I'd rest easier if certain drugs were made legal, but I just can't reach a point where I think it would be good for society as a whole.

Do you think the current situation ("War on Drugs") is good for society as a whole?

moskos
04-21-2008, 06:48 AM
As I discuss in Cop in the Hood, the debate really needs to move beyond "drugs good" vs. "drugs bad." We need to discuss "prohibition good" versus "prohibition bad."

To me, drug legalization is not just a civil liberties issue. It's a societal issue. Though I'm sympathetic to many of Libertarian-based arguments, ultimately I think drugs are too dangerous to be left to the free market and individual choice (I mean, that, plus incarceration, is what we have now). To me drug legalization is all about regulation and control. If I could successfully ban and eliminate heroin and crystal meth, I would. But we can't. The war on drugs doesn't work. So the question is, now what?

On my blog, www.copinthehood.com (http://www.copinthehood.com), I've put up a few pictures of the corner drug dealer in Amsterdam, where am I right now. I dare anybody to say that the American system is better.

And I think Wonderment makes a great point by bringing up tobacco. That's the only drug we've been successful with reducing use. Over one or two generations, use has been cut in half and it's no longer cool or normal for everybody to smoke. And yet not a single nicotine addict has been jailed (at least not yet). Tax, regulate, control, educate. That's the answer.

And like bjkeefe, I think the burden of proof should be on drug prohibitionists and not those who advocate drug regulation. We know prohibition doesn't work. We don't know for sure what drug regulation would do, but it might work. It is hard to imagine it regulation would be worse that the war on drugs.

moskos
04-21-2008, 06:51 AM
I don't really have anything to add to the Prison-Industrial Complex issue accept how police desire for court overtime pay plays a large role in the majority of discretionary arrests.

But I do urge everybody to read Schlosser's article. I agree with it. And he says it very well.

jh in sd
04-21-2008, 10:08 AM
Peter, The one point you make that I will take issue with is the use of smoking as a parallelism. Smoking, no matter how excessive, does not induce inpaired judgment and anti-social behavior that spills over into family life in particular and society in general. To me, legalizing all drugs seems like an idea that sounds better in theory than in practice. My concern with the legalization of "harder" drugs would be that their use would become more extensive with adolescents and teens. As the mother of two children, ages 20 and 22, I know the biggest challenge for parents of teenagers is to keep their kid on the straight and narrow, and I don't see this as helpful. Many, many kids already use these drugs-I have a niece who was addicted to snorting OxyContin by age 14-and I do believe more kids would experiment with them if they were more readily available.

Wonderment
04-21-2008, 03:33 PM
It is hard to imagine it regulation would be worse that the war on drugs.

One more point that often doesn't get mentioned in the US: The War on Drugs is also a war on other countries. It true that drugs are a global problem, but the solution doesn't need to be imposed on the rest of the developing world by the US.

For example, the US used the war on drugs as a pretext to invade Panama and slaughter a couple of thousand civilians in 1989.

The coca eradication program in South America is another example of punishing a culture and its peasants for cocaine addiction in the US. (Ecuador has recently reclaimed its right to cultivate coca).

The War on Drugs also served as a cover for political operations in Colombia against FARC and probably a dozen other countries I'm less familiar with.

A few years ago, Mexico (a country I lived in for 12 years) passed legislation to decriminalize possession, and the Bush regime virtually vetoed(!!!!) it with a series of threats forcing President Fox to back down and not sign the legislation he had promised to sign.

Wonderment
04-21-2008, 05:10 PM
As the mother of two children, ages 20 and 22, I know the biggest challenge for parents of teenagers is to keep their kid on the straight and narrow, and I don't see this as helpful. Many, many kids already use these drugs-I have a niece who was addicted to snorting OxyContin by age 14-and I do believe more kids would experiment with them if they were more readily available.

I also have a 20 and a 21-year-old daughter, and in my community I've seen quite a few instances of Oxy and meth addiction, as well as meth-induced psychosis and deaths by Oxy overdose.

The question, however, is does punishment and prohibition reduce the risk to our youth, or would we do better redirecting the enforcement/punishment resources to early intervention, treatment and education?

I think decriminalization can lead us to a healthier society with less suffering from drug abuse.

jh in sd
04-21-2008, 05:26 PM
Wonder, In my community there are extensive drug education and prevention programs in the school systems, yet the availability of narcotics through the internet seems to have led to access for teens. The education does not seem to be as pursuasive as you might want to believe.

moskos
04-21-2008, 10:09 PM
jh in sd, Wonderment pretty much said what I would say.

You're right that the smoking parallel is limited in that the drugs are different (alcohol would be a better comparison). But my point isn't about the harm of the drug, it's about the effectiveness in reducing use.

Who knows what regulation of drugs would bring? But I'd like to find out.

I will throw this out: I don't think there's any OxiContin addiction in the Netherlands... maybe because people can go out and smoke weed. It's probably a better high. And a lot less damaging to the person and to society.

moskos
04-21-2008, 10:12 PM
This international pressure to enforce failed prohibition is a truly catastrophic part of the war on drugs. I'd hate to think what the U.S. would do if another country invaded Afghanistan and opium production went from zero to all-time world-record high. If nothing else, we should first practice what we preach. ....there's more than enough there for another book... hmmmm.

Wonderment
04-21-2008, 10:33 PM
....there's more than enough there for another book... hmmmm.

I'm looking forward to reading it! And great thanks for your last one, the fascinating talk with Will, and the follow-up here.

bjkeefe
04-21-2008, 11:50 PM
Peter:

I will throw this out: I don't think there's any OxiContin addiction in the Netherlands... maybe because people can go out and smoke weed. It's probably a better high. And a lot less damaging to the person and to society.

That's an excellent point. On a personal note, I can think of times when I've gotten drunk because I couldn't easily get my preferred drug of choice, and I have to say, a beer buzz at a jazz concert is far less preferable to one from pot, and to my mind, probably more harmful and dangerous.

On a somewhat related note, I think that one of the reasons that heroin and cocaine are so prevalent in the US is due to their compactness. Given that you're facing about the same jail sentence for smuggling or otherwise possessing significant enough quantities, who wouldn't rather deal with a briefcase than a boatload?