26 January, 2007

Forgive Me In Advance For This Rant on Drugs

Let me start off by saying that I do believe God is taking care of us during this whole job-search thing. I know that eventually things will work out the way God deems best.

Now that I've got that disclaimer out of the way, allow me to say how much this ticks me off.

The Bush administration plans to ask Congress for $10.6 billion for Afghanistan, a major increase aimed at rebuilding the country and strengthening government security forces still fighting the Taliban five years after the U.S.-led invasion. ... The new U.S. money would be on top of $14.2 billion in aid the United States has already given to Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government.


The half of my brain that houses a rudimentary knowledge of global economic interdependence and global impact of national defence gets the principle behind this move.

But right now, as I wade through the red tape of my current circumstances I'm less than thrilled. From where I sit, it appears that the United States has this policy whereby we fight expensive wars in other countries and then pay as much--or more than--the cost of prosecuting the war in order to put back together a country we participated in tearing asunder. This is a very expensive policy that comes out of my pocket. And your pocket.

So we have this War on Drugs which makes the price of drugs go up. Which makes countries like Afghanistan--a major poppy grower--home to drug cartels swimming in wealth. So we spend more money to go over and wipe out the cartels, wipe out the poppies and set up what amounts to an Afghan welfare state. How screwed up is this?

I'll be honest. I grew up sheltered and can be naive about a lot of things. So perhaps I am living in an ivory tower on this, but I don't understand why some drugs are legal and others aren't. I've had relatives who are drug addicts and relatives who are alcoholics. Obviously there are just some people with weaknessess for chemical addiction, regardless of the legality of the chemical. I've known people who are sex addicts and food addicts too. They'll either screw or dine themselves into grave physical harm but last time I looked neither sex nor food was illegal. The Feds don't take your mama's house and car if you are growing carrots in a room in her basement. So why have we decided to prosecute the unwinnable war on drugs in order to make bad men the world over wealthy? So we can spend more of my hard earned money to go after those bad men and destroy their drugs making the drugs the other bad men have even more expensive and so on and so forth?

It's common knowledge that terrorists are funded in large part by drug money. Drug money we've created a demand for. None of it makes sense to me anymore.

And here I sit, a good law-abiding citizen without so much as a traffic ticket. All I want is to live in peace with my family. Maybe order a pizza every now and again. Unlike governments and drug-runners I haven't got an abundance of earthly wealth at my fingertips. So WHY ON EARTH do I have to keep throwing my money down this rabbit hole? Why?

Thank heaven it's Friday. I think I need a weekend.

11 Comments:

At 5:26 AM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If a joint had UpJohn written on the side of it, it would be legal.

The pharmaceutical companies are the legal drug dealers who along with the government and mid level dealers like lab rats are eating away those millions and millions. Then there is the FDA. You know. They're from the Government and they're there to protect you.

So the government makes illegal the drugs it can't profit from, while telling you and me what drugs we can take and what dealers we can use.

The war on drugs was lost a very very long time ago, and is a catch phrase used by our government to control us even more.

I've got a massive headache and I'm off to take a hydrocodone pill...which is an opiate...so I must support terrorism in Afghanistan.

On a brighter note, have you ever been to Amsterdam and seen how effective their system is regarding this matter? It works for everyone--drugs users and drug haters alike.

 
At 7:46 AM, January 26, 2007, Anonymous Lesley said...

I agree with Sharon. I believe that the government has made legal only what they can tax and control. Unfortunately, there is a lot of money that could be made just from legalizing marijuana, but the old-school puritans who think it's "bad" (but don't really know why) will always oppose that. Additionally, industrial hemp is a great source for all sorts of uses including paper and fuel.

I don't smoke pot (never have), but I do think it should be legal and regulated.

Not so much on the drugs that can kill you from just one use, though.

 
At 9:32 AM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Lynnster said...

Well, I hate to make your headache even worse, but there's also the aspect that our Federal and all of our state prison systems are bursting at the seams with inmates, nearly all of those state prison budgets are hurting, and not only is this creating a dangerous situation for inmates and state corrections employees alike, but there's the fact our tax dollars. are going to house the inmates (I should clarify housing and board only - contrary to what is generally popular belief, a bed and bedding, a minimal amount of clothing and one pair of shoes generally, and meals which are often made from food that comes in boxes marked "not fit for human consumption" is ALL our tax dollars go for - anything else, the inmates' families generally shoulder the brunt of the cost. But that's a whole other rant.)

Now, with all that in mind, here's what a good many of those inmates are locked up for:

1) Drug-related crime (sales/etc), and many of those marijuana-related.

2) Crimes that would likely have never occurred if the inmate wasn't an alcoholic or drug addict.

With the exception of a very few systems, substance abuse treatment in the state prison systems is a joke. The folks that are not doing life sentences get sent back out on the street eventually and, more often than not, in worse shape than they were in with their substance abuse to begin with, because it's generally easier to get drugs in prison than it is on the street.

If they released the inmates who are incarcerated for marijuana-related crime ALONE - that would take some of the stress off the pressure cooker that is our collective U.S. prison system, and save lots of money.

But even if that would never happen, if they would funnel some of the cash spent on the War on Drugs into REAL substance abuse treatment in the system - or send some lesser criminals to REAL treatment centers instead of locking them up to rot behind bars with little help for their problem - not only would some of these folks get back on the street and not go back to their drinking and drugging, and often criminal, ways, but it'd just save money all around in inmates not getting stuck in the system for extreme lengths of time for things like marijuana crime; people getting paroled earlier after having had real and thorough substance abuse treatment; overcrowding problems being solved which would result in less tax dollars spent as well; etc., etc.

Obviously, I could just go on and on about this, but there are just so many better - and logical - solutions than the effort and money that's been put into the War on Drugs. So very many.

 
At 9:32 AM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Lynnster said...

Well, I hate to make your headache even worse, but there's also the aspect that our Federal and all of our state prison systems are bursting at the seams with inmates, nearly all of those state prison budgets are hurting, and not only is this creating a dangerous situation for inmates and state corrections employees alike, but there's the fact our tax dollars. are going to house the inmates (I should clarify housing and board only - contrary to what is generally popular belief, a bed and bedding, a minimal amount of clothing and one pair of shoes generally, and meals which are often made from food that comes in boxes marked "not fit for human consumption" is ALL our tax dollars go for - anything else, the inmates' families generally shoulder the brunt of the cost. But that's a whole other rant.)

Now, with all that in mind, here's what a good many of those inmates are locked up for:

1) Drug-related crime (sales/etc), and many of those marijuana-related.

2) Crimes that would likely have never occurred if the inmate wasn't an alcoholic or drug addict.

With the exception of a very few systems, substance abuse treatment in the state prison systems is a joke. The folks that are not doing life sentences get sent back out on the street eventually and, more often than not, in worse shape than they were in with their substance abuse to begin with, because it's generally easier to get drugs in prison than it is on the street.

If they released the inmates who are incarcerated for marijuana-related crime ALONE - that would take some of the stress off the pressure cooker that is our collective U.S. prison system, and save lots of money.

But even if that would never happen, if they would funnel some of the cash spent on the War on Drugs into REAL substance abuse treatment in the system - or send some lesser criminals to REAL treatment centers instead of locking them up to rot behind bars with little help for their problem - not only would some of these folks get back on the street and not go back to their drinking and drugging, and often criminal, ways, but it'd just save money all around in inmates not getting stuck in the system for extreme lengths of time for things like marijuana crime; people getting paroled earlier after having had real and thorough substance abuse treatment; overcrowding problems being solved which would result in less tax dollars spent as well; etc., etc.

Obviously, I could just go on and on about this, but there are just so many better - and logical - solutions than the effort and money that's been put into the War on Drugs. So very many. It's a shame that those who have the power to change things never can seem to see them.

 
At 11:14 AM, January 26, 2007, Anonymous nm said...

Mostly I agree with this. Remember a few years ago when some anti-drug agency was running all those TV commercials about how buying drugs was helping to fund terrorism? They showed some person doing drugs (or talking about it) and then explained how the money got to some terrorist organization. Every single one of them seemed to me to be a textbook example of exactly why drug use ought to be legalized and (as in Amsterdam) regulated.

But we should also note that part of the reason Afghanistan is so messed up, and the reason that drug dealers could take the place over in the first place, is that there has been a war on there for coming up on 30 years now. Not our doing, just a mess whose consequences we now have to deal with.

 
At 11:50 AM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Slartibartfast said...

This is a devastaing apologetic.

I have no logical argument against it. All I have left are random "feelings" based on things I've seen over the years.

Could I, conservative evangelical, actually be considering taking a position of legalisation?

It disturbs me to think so, but you've got my left brain convinced.

 
At 12:09 PM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Patrick said...

Kat, you've got some good points, but I have to call you on your analogies:

- you have to eat to survive
- the human race has to have sex to survive

Come to think of it, no sex... and you won't have a drug or overeating problem in about 90 years...

On the drug side, you have to really really work to find a "survival" argument for hallucinogenic or other mind altering/numbing drugs.

I don't have a solution, and your other descriptions of the situation are good. That's why I comment, and don't post. :D

 
At 12:09 PM, January 26, 2007, Blogger Lynnster said...

Well, I apologize again for the duplicates.

Blogger obviously is hatin' on me for talking people into jumping to WP. Speaking of... ;)

 
At 7:59 PM, January 26, 2007, Anonymous Captain Bringdown said...

This is the Poison of Politics.Politicians make the laws.Politics dictates what is popular,not what is right.
Seldom do we as individuals take the time to analyze what serves our best interest as a society,only what serves our own narrow vision of what is "right or wrong".We satisfy our own interests in the short term,and damn what is needed for the long haul.
Government reflects what is identified as our own "best interest",because it is a beast that feeds on approval by the way of the ballot box.Such are the trappings of a free republic.

 
At 12:08 PM, January 27, 2007, Blogger Elena said...

Why do we have to battle drugs more than other substances which people use to satiate themselves? Because some drugs have a devastating effect on the users, their families and friends, and on society in general. Take meth/crystal meth, for example. Check out the Frontline episode about it: www.pbs.org

 
At 8:56 PM, January 29, 2007, Blogger Chance said...

"Why do we have to battle drugs more than other substances which people use to satiate themselves? Because some drugs have a devastating effect on the users, their families and friends, and on society in general."

Should pornography be illegal then?

 

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