Friday, 28 March 2008

Drug Hysteria Carnival Rolls On / Society is Doomed!

An Australian motorist identified as the first in the world to return a positive roadside drug test will now be paid compensation by police who've admitted making a mistake. Ballarat courier John De Jong was pulled over by police for a roadside drug test in 2004 - the fourth driver to be tested using the new technology.
A large media contingent had assembled for the event - they were told Mr De Jong had tested positive for cannabis and amphetamines - his case broadcast around the world.
But the result was wrong - a further laboratory test confirming the technical error - Mr De Jong sueing Victorian police for defamation. Just weeks before his case, the matter has been settled confidentially. Victorian police may be facing a payout of up to 150 thousand dollars. They've also apologised for the hurt and embarrassment caused.
Laura Tunstall - Macquarie National news
I have no problem with charging people for drink/drug driving. It's dangerous and by now we should be aware of what damage someone can do behind the wheel of a car. The problem with this case is that in an effort to follow the government's "tough on drugs" rhetoric, the Victorian Police invited the media to witness the new roadside drug testing unit in action. Knowing full well that anyone who tested positive would be publicly outed as a drug user, they let the media in anyway. Their stunt backfired and because of a technical problem John De Jong was known as that speed freak/dope smoker who got caught being "stoned behind the wheel". 
John De Jong and his family paid the price for drug hysteria. Pushing a fairly common practice of recreational drug use into the public domain as some sort of degenerative act will put many everyday people in a precarious position. What has been laughed off for decades as "it's only grass" might now make you public enemy number one. Being caught drug driving is going to portray some well respected people as something they're not ... a scourge on society. This is not because of the drug driving charge but because a "tough on drugs" approach demonises even the most casual user of drugs. 
Society is Doomed!
A new global study ranks the Netherlands 9th in the world in stability and prosperity. The U.S. follows at a distant 22nd. I'll give you one guess where I'm going with this. Ok, times up. If you said, "Scott will argue that superior quality of life in the Netherlands proves that an enlightened marijuana policy won't destroy society," you win a cookie.
Indeed, superior quality of life in the Netherlands proves that an enlightened marijuana policy won’t destroy society, and there are no complications which ought to prevent anyone from understanding this. A bunch of white Europeans have been prancing around for decades allowing one another to sell and smoke marijuana openly, culminating in their designation as the 9th best nation in the world. Not to mention their progressive policies on psychedelic mushrooms, safe injection sites, drug sentencing, and criminal justice spending, none of which have produced outcomes resembling those we've been told to expect should we abandon our obscenely harsh approach to these matters here in the U.S. The numbers speak for themselves.
Scott Morgan -
For years, the US drug czars has been predicting the downfall of society in The Netherlands since they changed their drug policy to Harm Minimisation from the US styled Zero Tolerance. The Netherlands of course have the infamous 'coffee shops' where you can buy marijuana and hash with your coffee. They also give free heroin to long term addicts at many of their clinics.  During the late 1990s, US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey publicly lied about the effects of Harm Minimisation in The Netherlands and quoted incorrect figures in an effort to denounce their liberal drug policies.
"We told the Dutch the comparative crime rates are higher than the United States’ -almost double in some cases. In some cases there is much as four times higher than Germany, France, Belgium. Comparative data, I know, is a flaky. But in everyone of them, their crime rates are higher than ours."
Even though it was pointed out that his figures were rubbery at best, he continued with his harsh criticism.
"The Dutch have consistently followed a harm-reduction policy...In their country, drug-abuse rates among their youngsters have gone way up under this policy and their prison population has gone way up"
"The United States’ preventive approach, in contrast, was a roaring success"
The Dutch government was understandably upset at the blatant lies and produced the real statistics which caused a major retreat. McCaffrey visited The Netherlands on a fact finding tour and came back with a new spin claiming that the real issue is to catch traffickers and dealers.
Here are some statistics from the around the period when US Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey made those wonderful comments. Incidentally, more recent figures have pushed the two countries even further apart statistically.
Last month use of cannabis (marijuana) by high school seniors: 
18.1% in the Netherlands (1996); 
23.7% in the U.S. (1997). 
Any lifetime use (prevalence) of cannabis by older teens (1994): 
30% in the Netherlands; 
38% in the U.S. 
Recent (last month) use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 
15% in the Netherlands; 
16% in the U.S.; 
24% in the U.K. 
Any lifetime use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995): 
29% in the Netherlands; 
34% in the U.S.; 
41% in the U.K. 
Heroine addicts as a percentage of population (in 1995): 
160 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
430 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
Murder rate as a percentage of population (in 1996): 
1.8 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
8.22 in the U.S. 
Incarceration rate as a percentage of population (1997): 
73 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
645 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
Crime-related deaths as a percentage of population: 
1.2 per 100,000 in the Netherlands (1994); 
8.2 per 100,000 in the U.S. (1995). 
Per capita spending on drug-related law enforcement: 
$27 per capita in the Netherlands; 
$81 per capita in the U.S. 
Sources: The Trimbos Institute of Amsterdam, Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Netherlands Ministry of Justice, World Health Organisation, Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation


The Happy Revolutionary said...

Good stuff. Free markets and Laura Norder don't necessarily give one any more reson to abstain or quit.

Terry Wright said...

Right on Rev.

First time I have seen "Laura Norder".

... I like it.

naomi-louise cave said...

its naomi from
sorry its taken me so long to get back to you. im waiting for my taxi (im at my nans; net access place). quite interested as my family hail from adalaide, they emigrated there in the late 40s early 50. i corresponde with them often. wonder what its like over there? well, junkylife is shutting its doors. i have to get off me arse and make a new layout, find a new place etc. etc.
have you noticed the most well read things are full of tragedy?
my grandad has just screamed at me, as its taken 24 pages to print out your journal, im going to read it in bed. you can facebook me or write me, im naomi cave. be nice to chat, compare stories! take care, god bless. naomi xxx

Terry Wright said...

Howdy there Naomi.

I just caught up with your blog and OMG you're clean! That's really great to hear and I think you're a brave, brave girl going cold turkey ... that's determination.

We will get in touch one way or another.

Take care & good luck.