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claymisher
05-03-2010, 01:29 PM
Mark Kleiman reports on the new Obama drug policy (http://www.samefacts.com/2010/05/drug-policy/the-obama-drug-strategy/)



The new strategy can’t completely avoid the trap of bowing in the direction of existing programs to get past agency review, and it has its share of pointless quantitative goals (some of them mandated by law). For example, there’s no reason to think that the federal government has the capacity to reduce the prevalence of drug use by 15%, or that raising the fraction of drugs seized on their way to the U.S. is either feasible or useful. The strategy insists, at least rhetorically, that something called “drug use” is the central problem (where “drug” does not include alcohol, and use is not distinguished from abuse or dependence), and that the goal of enforcement ought to be to reduce drug use by reducing drug availability rather than to protect public safety and order from the side-effects of drug dealing. (Reducing homicides related to drug dealing is not an explicit goal.)

But the strategy offers a fairly impressive list of innovations to set off against those disappointments. Of course the ones that matter most to me testing-and-sanctions programs for drug-involved offenders (which the “formidable” Bennett and McCaffrey never dared to endorse) and David Kennedy’s Drug Market Intervention program designed to eliminate problematic drug markets without mass arrests. Together, those two programs alone would radically reduce the links between drugs and crime, and yet because they’re neither “supply” or “demand” programs and have no visceral appeal to either side of the culture wars, they’ve struggled to get attention.

Rather than just promising to pump more money into the existing drug-treatment machinery, the strategy focuses on on the contribution the mainstream health-care effort could make toward dealing with substance abuse, in particular screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). The money potentially available for his purpose under the health care bill, and in particular through the community clinic system, dwarfs the formal treatment system. The strategy aims to make sure that potential gets used; if it does, the effective balance between “supply” and “demand” spending would shift radically in fact, though it wouldn’t change on paper.

Some of the innovations don’t leap off the page, but require a little bit of reading between the lines; they’re important nonetheless.

= “Provide information one effective prevention strategies to law enforcement” seems anodyne until you think about it. Right now, law enforcement is heavily invested in a single, ineffective prevention strategy: DARE, one of the sacred cows of drug abuse control. The implication is that the Feds are going to tell law enforcement agencies with information on programs that actually work.

= “Celebrate and support recovery from addiction” also sounds like an endorsement of motherhood and apple pie, until you scroll down and see “Review laws and regulations that impede recovery,” which turns out to mean getting rid of all the mean-spirited laws that deny driver’s licenses, housing, and student loans to people with drug convictions.

= “Prevention-prepared communities” turns out to mean replacing the plethora of boutique “prevention” programs aimed at specific behaviors such as drug-taking with generic programs aimed at addressing the community and personal roots of foolish and anti-social behavior. (For example, a classroom-discipline exercise called the Good Behavior Game, which never mentions drugs, is more effective at preventing early initiation of drug use than any drug-focused program.)

The culture warriors didn’t lose everything – drugged driving is still in there – but they lost a lot. AIDS prevention is now a top-line goal, with needle exchange endorsed as a means of pursuing it. Distribution of naloxone to prevent overdose deaths also gets an endorsement. So does reducing needless incarceration via diversion and re-entry programs and readjusting some parts of drug sentencing (e.g., the crack/powder disparity). The strategy explicitly mentions the flow of guns from the U.S. to violent Mexican drug traffickers.

listener
05-03-2010, 02:17 PM
Ha! I like your thread title. :)

Whatfur
05-03-2010, 02:27 PM
Ha! I like your thread title. :)

Title is about the only thing amusing. It may even be true but it sure sounds like another failure in the making. Yeah lets throw more "Mommy" at the problem. Different concepts sure, different outcome...not likely.

Wonderment
05-03-2010, 02:53 PM
= “Celebrate and support recovery from addiction” also sounds like an endorsement of motherhood and apple pie, until you scroll down and see “Review laws and regulations that impede recovery,” which turns out to mean getting rid of all the mean-spirited laws that deny driver’s licenses, housing, and student loans to people with drug convictions.

Huge and excellent if it happens. Not holding breath.

AIDS prevention is now a top-line goal, with needle exchange endorsed as a means of pursuing it.

Great and probably doable.

Distribution of naloxone to prevent overdose deaths also gets an endorsement.

Great and probably doable.

The strategy explicitly mentions the flow of guns from the U.S. to violent Mexican drug traffickers.

Mentions, huh? Does the strategy cut off funding for War on Drugs throughout Latin America. Mexico is at war. The war is a direct result of Washington pressures, American guns, American consumption and decades of stupid Drug War policies, which include the refusal to decriminalize. Mexico can also be blamed for plenty of their own problems: namely, corruption at every level of government.

Whatfur
05-21-2010, 10:43 PM
Bush never had America looking so weak nor were we ever in retreat as much as is evident now. (http://townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2010/05/21/the_fruits_of_weakness)