Ex-officer: War on drugs 'far worse' than a failure



February 6, 2014 11:35 PM
By Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The war on drugs, Jack Cole said, has been "far worse" than a failure.

Speaking to about 75 students Thursday afternoon at Slippery Rock University, Mr. Cole, a retired New Jersey State Police narcotics detective and a co-founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, called it "a self-perpetuating and constantly expanding policy disaster."

Mr. Cole, who will be speaking in Pittsburgh at noon today at the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh's Northside, 701 N. Point Drive, said 43 years of drug prohibition, millions of arrests and an estimated $1 trillion spent on law enforcement and incarceration have failed to put a dent in drug supplies or their purity, price and rate of use or the explosion in associated crime.

"Once we start treating drug abuse as a health problem instead of a crime problem, we won't have to arrest and sacrifice on the altar of the drug war 1.7 million people a year who we arrest for nonviolent drug offenses, which is what we do today," said Mr. Cole, whose international nonprofit, composed partly of former police officers, prosecutors and judges, supports drug legalization.

He added that the nation's drug policy has also helped to make the United States the world's leader in per capita incarceration, a phenomenon disproportionately affecting blacks.

"The war on drugs has also been the most devastating single destructive social policy since slavery," Mr. Cole said.

His visit to Western Pennsylvania comes as the region has grappled with a rash of overdose deaths linked to fentanyl-laced heroin and the General Assembly considers a bill that would legalize cannabis for medical use and another that would legalize the "consumption of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, without regard to the purpose of that consumption."

Mr. Cole said overdose deaths, including the nearly two dozen in Western Pennsylvania tied to the laced batches of heroin, could be prevented by setting up Switzerland-style programs that provide the drug to addicts at supervised centers. With 20 states and the District of Columbia allowing medical marijuana programs and two states legalizing recreational use, drug policy in the U.S. is at a "tipping point," he said.

"The alternative policy is to try remove the profit motive from drug sales, and the only way you can do that is by ending prohibition by legalizing all drugs," he said.

Mr. Cole also argued that the attention police devote to drug work detracts from their ability to solve homicides, robberies, rapes and other crimes.

"The role of a police officer should never be to try to protect every adult human being from themselves by saying what they can put in their bodies. And it's when we're given that task that everything goes bad," Mr. Cole said, referencing the spike in gangland murder that alcohol prohibition created.

According to numbers provided by Pittsburgh police, about 19 percent of the 15,798 arrests the bureau made last year were drug related. Of the 3,023 drug arrests in 2013, 1,236 were related to marijuana possession.

David Evans, a New Jersey lawyer who works as a special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that has opposed marijuana legalization, said calling the war on drugs a failure was akin to calling the fight against cancer a flop because the disease still exists.

He said medical marijuana has not been proven to be safe or effective and that the health and social impacts of legalizing drugs far outweigh any perceived benefits, such as tax revenue.

"There's this perception that people are in the criminal justice system for smoking a few joints and that's absolutely not true," said Mr. Evans, a former public defender in Newark, adding that many marijuana charges are often incidental to other, more serious offenses. "It's not like cops are walking around looking for kids smoking pot."

Drug legalization means an increase in use and the problems that might come with it, from "drugged driving" to "big marijuana" advertising campaigns similar to tobacco and alcohol companies, he said.

"The complete legalization of drugs will result in millions more people using drugs," he said. "The rest of us are going to have to pay for that damage.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/02/07/Ex-officer-War-on-drugs-far-worse-than-a-failure/stories/201402070083#ixzz2sf2lfEZX
 

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Drug legalization means an increase in use and the problems that might come with it, from "drugged driving" to "big marijuana" advertising campaigns similar to tobacco and alcohol companies, he said.
The majority of problems that come with drug use come because drugs are illegal. Even if a few new people picked up, their "destruction" would be more than offset by the soothing of the problems due to the illegal nature of drugs.

This, of course, is not mentioning the problem that is telling a human being what he can or cannot do to his mind behind closed doors. If a person drives buzzed, we already have a law against that. Just because someone wants to overturn drug possession laws DO NOT mean that the person wants to overturn intoxicated driving laws. Is this not obvious? Apparently not. It's like saying that being in favour of looser gun laws automatically makes one in favour of overturning murder. Obviously that's absurd, but what's the difference? "But more people will drive high! It prevents it from happening at all!" Umm, let's pass a law against cars!
 
David Evans, a New Jersey lawyer who works as a special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that has opposed marijuana legalization, said calling the war on drugs a failure was akin to calling the fight against cancer a flop because the disease still exists
I hate how pro drug wart people always use their failed goals as justification to continue this madness and never are able to see that continuing something that causes so much extra harm while doing nothing good on is madness.
 
Yeah these people just do not see that the reason for all the crime and negatives regarding drugs, is because of the laws... so, they see crime and drug problems, and they crack down.. not realizing that they're just making it worse, so then they keep cracking down and it's a vicious cycle.

The real issue, is that the government doesn't want the drug war to end. The entire thing is a facade to make it look like they actually want to stop the use of illegal drugs, but they don't, which is why it's all bullshit and the police are basically just pawns of the politicians to make it look like to the public that they are being tough on drugs.

If the United States government really wanted to stop the drugs from getting in... they could do it. Very easily. But they don't want to because the wheel of people making money because of drugs is so large. There's the money from the direct sales of the drugs that you know parts of the government had a hand in, there's all the money the pharmaceutical companies make, the rehab/recovery industry, all the social workers and people who only have jobs because of drug addiction, the politicians/police officials who use drug stats to get elected and get more money from the state, etc, etc.

It's a never ending wheel and the only people loosing are the actual addicts, because they don't give a fuck or actually want us to stop.
 
the war on drugs was necessary to create a revolution in consciousness thank you DEA and all; remember we are all one right?
 
I want a car like that!!

Drug prohibition is a fucking industry. A lucrative one at that with a guaranteed client base. Just how the establishment wants it. Period.
 
WantToBeReborn;12136576 said:
I want a car like that!!

Drug prohibition is a fucking industry. A lucrative one at that with a guaranteed client base. Just how the establishment wants it. Period.
A powerful industry at that, with a lot of influence in keeping things just the way they are. To start with, an end to prohibition would vastly decrease crime rates to a point where many, many jobs and departments would become completely redundant, and what government wants a weak police force?

I'm guessing rationality has to prevail sooner or later, even if it takes decades, centuries; counter-productive, impossible to enforce laws that defy common sense surely can't last forever.
 
Ya drug use doesn't go up, if anything evidence points to the contrary, in Portugal as well as the Netherlands (I'm not sure on the ladder but definitely Portugal) rates of marijuana use either stayed the same or DECLINED in some areas.

But besides that the entire argument is pretty stupid because I would think it to be pretty obvious that people wouldn't all of a sudden start banging heroin just because all of a sudden it's legal.

"Oh my god no way heroin's legal now! I've just always wanted to stick a needle full of grimey shit into my veins, It's just been against my moral values!"

lol
 
We're already starting to see the light of common sense shine through. If someone had said 30 years ago that Washington and Colorado would be among the first handful of places to officially legalize marijuana, people would have laughed in their faces. Cooler heads will prevail eventually.

Even the existence of groups like "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition" is a sign that change is coming in the near future. Eventually people are going to take notice of the fact that the very people who are tasked with enforcing these troglodytic policies are coming out publicly against them. Sure, it's going to take some time, but I would wager that within my lifetime, (I'm currently 24,) the wheels of progress will begin to turn.

Ultimately, I see a time on the horizon where the local liquor market will be replaced with a general intoxicants vendor that functions in just about the same way. There will still be age restrictions and regulations against buying for minors or selling to intoxicated individuals. The only difference will be the products: the vast majority will be far less detrimental to the health of the consumer than alcohol is.

The folks at the DEA and international counterparts will have no need to worry about their jobs, either. Their name can remain the same, it's just the context that will change:

"Hey you! We've been getting reports that someone hasn't been getting high over here! You'd best pick up that pipe quickly, or it'll be community service for you!"
 
I have to admit to being quite impressed at the recent US cannabis laws. They're being pragmatic; why spend millions on enforcing the the law against this relatively benign plant, when they can earn a crazy amount more in tax revenues from the new boom industry? Here's to Cannabis Capitalism!
 
Why don't you think of the children! Those kids who are being helped with their debilitating diseases, those kids who'll now have parents who aren't locked up in jail for growing or posessing a plant? How the fuck are the kids of the police, prison guards and other U.S. employed fuckstickles going to buy their children the latest toys now? You people are disgusting.
 
^ damn fucking RIGHT

dopemegently;12137596 said:
I have to admit to being quite impressed at the recent US cannabis laws. They're being pragmatic; why spend millions on enforcing the the law against this relatively benign plant, when they can earn a crazy amount more in tax revenues from the new boom industry? Here's to Cannabis Capitalism!
As long as they let me grow at least a couple plants for personal use at home without charging me or trying to tax that as well... then it's all good.

Hope the UK catches on and stops being this fucking anti-plant. At least Salvia is still legal here though...
 
neversickanymore;12134395 said:
I dont know about you guys but that vehicle makes me smile from ear to ear=D
Made it my background. I bet if u get pulled over by it they give u sterile water and needles.
 
and what government wants a weak police force?
The people that founded the US wanted a police force whose powers were substantially limited. Eight of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights have to do with limiting police power.

Slowly the law enforcement industry has eroded that fundamental intent and enlarged itself to virtual omnipotence. And worse, they've tweaked our culture so that wedon't care that they have absolute power over us. Police are now seen as heroes and demigods, and we are happy to be told what to do by them.
 
David Evans, a New Jersey lawyer who works as a special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that has opposed marijuana legalization, said calling the war on drugs a failure was akin to calling the fight against cancer a flop because the disease still exists
Quite possibly the most ignorant pile of verbal rubbish to ever come out of a man's mouth.

Can you please direct me to the huge sect of people who oppose cancer research and argue that it is counter productive to the goal it claims to strive toward (aside from some religious zealots, whose opinions are mute).
 
David Evans is a lying bitch. Ending the war on drugs is more like if we were trying to fight cancer by forcing the entire population to regularly take small doses of arsenic as a preventative measure then stopped because it had no effect on cancer and just killed people.
 
23536;12137862 said:
The people that founded the US wanted a police force whose powers were substantially limited. Eight of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights have to do with limiting police power.

Slowly the law enforcement industry has eroded that fundamental intent and enlarged itself to virtual omnipotence. And worse, they've tweaked our culture so that wedon't care that they have absolute power over us. Police are now seen as heroes and demigods, and we are happy to be told what to do by them.
Yeah very true. It's only getting worse too. They've somehow trained people to take it in the ass and then say thank you afterwards.
 
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