In the U.S., how the government approaches drugs has very little to do with science. The War on Drugs has put the focus on incarceration and enforcement, not on the public health aspects of addiction. We classify drugs based on politics, rather than their actual risk, and inhibit further research that might prove them useful to society.
As far back as his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has been calling America's drug war an "utter failure," but now it finally seems like his administration may be getting serious about enacting tangible reform with the "science-driven" 2013 National Drug Control Strategy released yesterday.
"Drug policy reform should be rooted in neuroscience—not political science," said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Since Obama's first drug strategy plan was released in 2010, the White House has been advocating for a "third way" for drug policy reform--something between all-out legalization and the War on Drugs.
In the 2013 outline, as might be expected from an administration that's launching a $100 million plan to map the human brain, there's an emphasis on the neuroscience of addiction and the fact that addiction is a disease to be cured, not a moral failure. It touts itself as a plan "based on science, not ideology."
According to the White House blog:
It also notes the economic impact of the War on Drugs: In 2007, "illicit drug use cost taxpayers more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs."
The new strategy probably won't spell an end to the drug war, though. It lays out a policy to "eradicate marijuana production" but doesn't tackle the issue of recent legalization under some state laws, nor does it discuss reforming the laws that put drug users behind bars in the first place, as Think Progress points out.
Its about money. The war on drugs is about obtaining vasts amounts of wealth with government backing. Its also about keeping the vast majority of people under control. Policing and funding.
That device looks like a spud gun, and may be an illegal weapon. Wonder where the gun law people are?
I think they ought to legalize all drugs with people who have a license. To get the license one would need to spend a weekend every year in an emergency room watching the results of drug use. And they ought to fork over $240 for the license.
Hey look - a link to the insane lefty 'think progress' website, complete with a anti-2nd Amendment spam pop-up. Gee, thanks a lot.
"As far back as his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has been calling America's drug war an "utter failure," "
Obamas approach is to just capitulate and try to tax it to pay for pet projects. Im sure Democrats would also find a way to amend AHA to include a provision to support addicts habit.
Big surprise that the comments to this article would be politically charged and biased. You guys make scrolling down too far unbearable.
Big surprise that the comments to this article would be politically charged and biased. You guys make scrolling down too far unbearable.
Some drugs should be controlled. But Marijuana is not a drug. It is a plant. No one has ever died from smoking it. It doesn't cause any major problems and it is a documented medicine for certain illnesses. Even Pat Roberson(700 club) thinks that prosecuting and imprisoning people for marijuana is insane. It is a waste of time and money. A lawyer told me that the Feds know it will be legalized soon so they are going to arrest and prosecute as many "pot people" as they can now. Another reason is they have hired too many prosecutors and agents so they need to justify their jobs.
@The first number of comments.
Americans never cease to amaze me how they can take any discussion and make it into an ideological battle. The article is about drug policy, not guns and not taxes.
Marijuana is a drug (well, it's a plant that has drugs within it, but that's just semantics). "A drug is a substance which may have medicinal, intoxicating, performance enhancing or other effects when taken or put into a human body". Just because it's a plant doesn't mean it's not a drug.
I assume that America will go the way of Canada soon though. Keep it illegal, but essentially don't enforce it for minor offenders.
The drug Marijuana isn't the only game in town. So do something else. Pick a drug that's not illegal. Or run marathons. Users know that their habit of choice can land them in jail - but they do it anyway. Don't let these big bad prosecutors and agents win - put them all out of a job by not being a criminal. It's the ultimate revenge.
Wow, that was hard.
Oh, and the photo of 0bama the drug user reacting to the kid firing the potato cannon in the whitehouse .... a better photo would have been on of the dozens out there of him stoned out of his mind smoking a "cigarette."
Not prosecuting drug offences but keeping them illegal will not improve the situation. There will still be an economic incentive to break the law. You need to flat out legalize at least some of it.
For the uninformed, there's a difference between simply using drugs and selling them. Using them harms you (and the people who depend on you, like kids or spouse). Selling them hams a lot of other people. The "war on drugs" is a war on the ones who sell drugs.
Lots of people are arrested each year for possession of drugs, but in most cases it results in a fine, community service, and often being required to attend a treatment program. If they have a lot of drugs on hand, they're selling them, and they go to prison. Prisons are full of drug pushers. There is no neuroscience needed to explain that what the pushers are doing is not only illegal, but incredibly destructive, immoral and evil.
It is unfortunate that so many people get involved with drugs, usually at a young and very impressionable age, but legalizing drugs will not solve their problem or prevent others from making the same bad choice. Neuroscience may eventually offer more answers than we have now, but there already are some very effective treatment programs. Better still, there are some well known behaviors, lifestyle choices and parenting that minimize the risk of getting involved in drugs. Unfortunately, Americans are increasingly turning away from such conservative, "old-fashioned" moral behavior and parenting and their kids--and society--are paying the price.
"there's an emphasis on the neuroscience of addiction and the fact that addiction is a disease to be cured, not a moral failure. It touts itself as a plan "based on science, not ideology."
The Fact? Who defines it as a “fact” that a person who is “addicted” to drugs has a disease?
Does this definition cover other self defeating or self destructive behavior such as
The pictures shown are from the journal article entitled “Loss of Dopamine Transporters in Methamphetamine Abusers Recovers with Protracted Abstinence”. It is quite supportive of the suggestion that taking drugs causes changes in the brain. Take a “normal” person, give him meth long enough and this is what his brain will look like…get them off meth and over a period of time the brain goes back to normal.
I do not see how this supports a “Disease” model of drug abuse. The change in the brain structure is a result of the drug use.
Why dont we use marijuana instead of pain relievers like vicodin or morphine? It is so much safer. For those of you who believe that smoking marijuana is "Immoral" or "evil" then you should go back to the dark ages because we live in an age for scientific research and not witchcraft...
Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. It's treatable. Perhaps not as successfully as one might like, but on a par with other chronic diseases that require substantial behavioral change, like diabetes and hypertension.
Unfortunately, many people still don't believe addiction is a disease. That's why science-based education is so important.
For a not-for-profit website that discusses the science of substance use and abuse in accessible English (how alcohol and drugs work in the brain; how addiction develops; why addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease; what parts of the brain malfunction as a result of substance abuse; how that malfunction skews decision-making and motivation, resulting in addict behaviors; why some get addicted while others don't; how treatment works; how well treatment works; why relapse is common; what family and friends can do; etc.) please click on www.AddictScience.com.
That is definitely a marshmallow cannon, not a spud gun, jackasses. The only people those pose threats to are those with diabetes.
A genuinely suspicious proposition. Notice in the article the double sided argument, doing away with use of hard drugs yet, at the same time, promote “research that might prove them useful to society”. If you want to get down to it, the “war” on everything from burglary to murder is failing, too, since neither seem to be disappearing and huge sums are devoted to that every year. But who is calling for their being ended? A good question about the “war on drugs” can be not so much, “Why continue it?”, as, “When is it going to start?”
"That is definitely a marshmallow cannon,"
It doesn't matter what it shoots. Building it and taking it across state lines and possessing it in DC are all crimes. It is by law, a weapon and a firearm. Guess you didn't know that.
It also is a very unsafe device. A normal explosion type firearm is "proofed".
Addiction is not a disease. Some meth user or crack head who has no self control and ignores the endless warnings about starting drugs and pays no heed to the legal ramifications is NOT the same as a cancer patient. You can stop smoking crack. You can't just "stop having cancer."
Eradicating marijuana production is akin to the government being a thief. If the government took a shipment of Budweiser and poured it all out, those are lost profits. If it's not being taxed because of the faulty logic in prohibition, that's not our fault.
"the fact that addiction is a disease to be cured, not a moral failure"
Let's get real here. The moment that that first joint is smoked or whatever the drug is. It is a moral failure. So put that in your pipe and smoke it
I would think that the reason Obummer looks surprised is cause the secret service didn't get that gun out of the hands of that child
Politicians typically slander the other politician. The above comments referring the comments of the politicians about the other and the writer are all just opinions, simple opinions, slandering the other.
I find this article a bunch of crock and appreciate laurenra7 comments.
How do you increase the price of a product and still sell? Declare it illegal, stimulate all kinds of criminal behaviour by producers, traffickers and users, so governments can ask for ever larger budgets for "security". Those are then mainly used to snoop on the vast mayority of law-abiding citizens. Ask any politician why drugs shouldn't be made legal and you won't get a coherent answer.
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At the very least they need to fully decriminalize small amounts of all drugs.
Sending users to prison does not help them it just turns someone who originally was largely harmless into a professional criminal.
If the White House is serious then they need to undo Nixon's work , disband the DEA and pull federal funding for anti drug swat teams etc.
By outlawing hemp in general including the non drug uses such as paper,fiber, and fuel, the government has done maybe a hundred times more damage to the environment then every SUV produced.
It should be noted fiber producing varieties of hemp contain very little THC and you'd have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to get a buzz.
Not that THC is harmful anyway.
I was a fan of this site for a long time, but have become disenchanted because of the constant political barrage the writers have chosen to unleash on the readers. I can't say that I will never visit the site again, but it will take me a long time to read anything here without wondering what "agenda" the author had when writing the article. There are a few authors on this site that I don't even bother reading at all, because writing about scientific discoveries without making politic rants seems entirely beyond their capability.
If Obama LOVED science so much, maybe he wouldn't spend so much time getting the CPSC to outlaw so many useful chemicals.
Yeah, let's examine that "science."
Opium smoking was originally outlawed because of the fear that Chinese men were luring white women to have sex in opium dens. They didn't outlaw all uses of opium - in fact, kids could still buy it in the store. They just outlawed the Chinese custom of smoking it in opium dens. At the same time, they outlawed the chinese custom of wearing their hair in pigtails and banned Chinese from various businesses.
Cocaine was outlawed because of the fear that superhuman Negro Cocaine Fiends would go on a violent rampage and rape white women and shoot white men. It was believed that cocaine made them better marksmen and invulnerable to bullets, prompting police departments across the nation to switch to larger caliber pistols. Caffeine was almost outlawed at the same time for the same reasons.
Marijuana was outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy." The second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - exactly the opposite of the modern "gateway" idea.
Only one medical doctor testified at the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The representative of the American Medical Association said there was no evidence that marijuana was a dangerous drug and no reason for the law. He pointed out it was used in hundreds of common medicines at the time with no significant problems. In response, the committee told him that, if he wasn't going to cooperate, he should shut up and leave.
The only other "expert" to testify was James C. Munch, a psychologist. His sole claim to fame was that he had injected marijuana directly into the brains of 300 dogs and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn't know what to conclude because he wasn't a dog psychologist.
Mr. Munch also testified in court, under oath, that marijuana would make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood. He also said that, when he tried it, it turned him into a bat. He then described how he flew around the room for two hours.
Mr. Munch was the only "expert" in the US who thought that marijuana should be illegal, so they appointed him US Official Expert on marijuana where he served and guided policy for 25 years.
For reference, see the many histories linked at http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/history.htm
The Drug Czar, like all those before him, is a lying fool. US drug policy has never been based on science, and it won't be until people like him are gone from the policy-making scene.