Friday, 21 March 2008

Grampa Munster - The Next US President?

US drug policy is arguably the most unsuccessful strategies implemented by a government. The "War on Drugs" was originally a smokescreen campaign to steer attention away from a failing Nixon administration back in 1971. Nearly 40 years on, the "War on Drugs" has produced the opposite effect to what was first envisaged. This failure is mainly due continual demonising of drugs for political gain. Heavily backed by the powerful religious right, the US has embarked on numerous campaigns to portray all drug user as malfunctioning, addicted lowlifes who threaten American society if not locked up. Fortunately the campaigns were wrong as drug use grew massively. Tens of millions of Americans now use drugs regularly and they cause very few of the problems promised by government rhetoric. Instead the "War on Drugs" created it's own massive problems that has spread throughout the world costing millions of lives. As experts call for a stop to this insane policy, the hierarchy cling to their morals based ideals and refuse to acknowledge that the "War on Drugs" is unwinnable. 

As the US prisoner population has become the largest on the planet and other countries continue to prove a different approach will achieve significantly better results, the rhetoric remains the same. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a 5000+ group of drug squad police, judges, DEA and other police officers give a sure sign that even those involved in fighting the "War on Drugs" now accept that a new approach must be implemented.

A member of LEAP question's McCain on his opinion:

As usual, McCain cherry picks his sources or uses snippets of information to come up with his own logic. The argument about a few drinks is OK but drugs give mind altering effects instantly is wrong. Alcohol produces an instant calming effect as soon as the alcohol reaches the brain. No different to most drugs which increase their effect as you use more.

McCain mentions experiments in Europe where drugs were freely & openly used and had to be shutdown because they were a failure. These were experiments to try new strategies. They were analysed scientifically and were shutdown when they didn't produce the required result. What McCain left out was that these experiments didn't cause any more problems than existed already and actually had some minor success or that one experiment, called Needle Park, was replaced with the heroin prescription project which had complete success. It has since been repeated in Canada, Spain, Belgium and England. Another experiment was the Dutch "Coffee Shops" which sold marijuana openly. Drug use has not increased at all and The Netherlands has a reducing drug problem ... the opposite to the US.

John McCain & His Superior Foreign Affairs Knowledge  

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has about a 50% chance to be the next US president. One of McCain's arguments for why he is the best choice for the presidency is his claim of extensive foreign policy expertise. McCain recently made an official visit to the Middle East to emphasise his superior knowledge in foreign affairs over the democrats presidential contenters.

The 71-year-old said:

"It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq. That's well known"

Surprised at McCain's comments, the reporters pushed for more details. McCain continued:

"We continue to be concerned about the Iranians taking Al Qaeda into Iran and training them and sending them back."

It took fellow Senator Joe Lieberman to whispered into his ear that Al Qaeda are Sunni Muslims and the majority of Iran are Shiite Muslims.


"I am sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al Qaeda, not Al Qaeda, I am sorry"


Damian said...

That's a solid takedown, Terry. Nice post.

While I think of it, I meant to blog about a piece in last week's Guardian which you may be interested in reading. It's about the way narco-criminals from Colombia have been able to take control of a "failed state" (as they're known) in Africa: Guinea-Bissau. Another side-effect of the war on drugs.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Damian

I read the link you provided. I love the UN wanting to help Guinea-Bissau by "concentrating on reform of the security services, boosting the judicial police, and building a jail". Very important for those who don't have running water or electricity.

Chuck said...

Didn't "The War In Drugs" start in the Reagan era when Oliver North and the CIA were running drugs into the USA to fund the contra rebels?

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Chuck

It was Nixon who declared a "War on Drugs" in 1971. With Watergate brewing, the Vietnam War and a growing trend of American soldiers coming home addicted to heroin, Nixon needed an urgent public distraction.

It was Reagan who was in office when crack cocaine first hit the streets. He dropped most funding for rehab/treatment etc and increased law enforcement by radical proportions. Being the new breed of evangelistic conservatives, Reagan moved drug policy even more towards a moral issue and expanded the "War on Drugs". Even Nancy chipped in with that infamous "Just Say No" campaign.

Reagan eventually went too far and introduced sentences for crack cocaine to be up to 100 times the penalty for powder cocaine. The US has only now just reversed the law this month. It was commonly known as "Crack/Cocaine Sentencing Disparity".

Damian said...

And that disparity, forgive me if I'm wrong or yakkin' on without references, has been a source of angst in terms of race politics. Crack is the black man's drug, and so more black people go to prison than white, for essentially the same drug.

Some have drawn a connection between the introduction of crack to poor black communities (deliberately?) and the political offensive against black political movements. Not an area I know enough about, I'm afraid.

Terry Wright said...

Yes Damian, you're right.

There are some theories, Reagan himself or the CIA introduced crack to the US as a way to control the Blacks. Like some of the grander conspiracy theories though, it would be impossible to implemented without leaks or real evidence surfacing. If anything, it's just another example of how prohibition and the "war on drugs" can encourage the drug cartels to come up with new ways to make massive profits. If cocaine was regulated, crack may have never been created. Even if it is available, with regulation, addicts could get their cocaine for free at clinics and crack dealers couldn't compete. Similar to heroin in The Netherlands where heroin dealers are starting to disappear because addicts are prescribed free legal heroin. New users are not exposed to it as much as the dealers are losing their main customers to legal prescription heroin.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) has a great reference - Crack/Cocaine Sentencing Disparity.

The DPA website may give some insight into many of my rants.

I hope this helps.

The Editor said...

O/T, Terry, but flying monkeys at twelve o' clock.

Just ignore them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a junkie who doesn't want people to vote for John McCain.

Johnny Mac must be devastated.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Ed, I saw that.
Blair must be bored.

Anonymous, I really thought McCain would have more sense about banning drugs outright. Considering he was probably around during alcohol prohibition.

Anonymous said...

Yes poor McCain. He's lost the "I collapsed my life into a degenerate pit of drug abuse and depression and it's Andrew Bolt's fault" demographic.

There's a reason Tim Blair linked to you, you're a case study in why everything you believe in leads to dysfunction and misery. Good Lord your life is hell, even I felt depressed reading some of your entries, and what I find amazing, and not a little ironic, is that from a position of complete failure, you can lecture "God-fearing, right wing Australia" on everything under the sun, as if you aren't an utter, utter fuckup and we should all respect YOUR OPINION.


Ant Rogenous said...

Timmeh must be so proud when his scat pack goes out a-crusadin' in his name.

The post above is from a turd named Amos.

Terry Wright said...

Amos: "I collapsed my life into a degenerate pit of drug abuse and depression and it's Andrew Bolt's fault"

No, it's not Andrew Bolt's fault, it's mine.
I wrongly turned to alcohol and drugs when I woke up beside my dead wife one morning. I was later diagnosed with bi-polar and have been told I will probably be on opiate treatment for the rest of my life. It is my fault I started drinking and using heroin. I was born with bi-polar and certain chemical imbalances and this is my concern only, no one is to blame.

If your attacking me about my health and the reasons I have to take opiates, then that really says more about you than me. If you disagree with my politics, you're stooping pretty low to get your opinion across. Pretty nasty comments really.

Surely, ...surely you have better things to do than bully a "an utter, utter fuckup"? Maybe I'm just easy pickings and it's easier for you here because you don't get taken seriously elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

Ah, the ever-collectible victim card, classic offensive option A of the passive aggressive lefty.

"Then Andrew Bolt ... man he's a fuckhead ... always antagonising, always moralising, always looking for an angle, forever obdurate. Cynical of anyone thoughtful or clever, demoralising those who want to fix this crumby world and give it some shine, always on the lookout for those naive losers who feel we need to balance our natural resources. How depressing"

Not quite so sad and helpless when you're on the attack, are you Terry? But I guess, for people like you, venom is only venom when it travels in one direction.

See, for me, your little shtick doesn't play. I've known people like you, to my great cost and detriment. You're a magnet that draws those around you into your sphere of self-obsessed misery. I know your kind, I know junkies, I know screw-ups and I know a whining narcissist when I see one.

Good luck, genius, and please, do continue giving us the benefit of your wisdom. 'Howard's Australia', which you hate so much, and which I am a member, does so need to embrace the values that have made you the man you are today.

Daddy Dave said...

you know, I admire you for trying to get on with life in the face of adversity and for fighting a very insidious problem, but if you really want to conquer your addiction, think about changing the title of your blog.
It's good for branding, yes, but bad for your state of mind.

Ant Rogenous said...

Hooley Dooley. You'd never guess that sanctimonious creep Anonymous Amos was a card-carrying member of "Howard's Australia", would you?

Wingnuts: smashing preconceptions one stereotype at a time.

Terry Wright said...

Amos, it must really upset you that even a junkie doesn't take you seriously, let alone most of Australia.

Thanks Daddy Dave.
I do appreciate comments like yours.

The sad fact is that many addicts will never be clean. I have always pushed so hard to get my methadone down to zero but I could never do it for some reason. It was only a few years ago that the researchers started wondering why some can and some can't. It's not will power because I have plenty of that yet some ex users have none at all but seem to kick their habit so easily.

When my doctor first said to me that maybe we should look at not dropping your methadone but putting it up and keeping it there, I was was shattered. I wanted desperately to be clean but as I am learning the hard way, maybe my doctor is right.

I have just decided to accept my fate and no longer worry about getting clean. I use heroin from time to time because it is really no different to morphine which I get legally anyway. I suppose the title "shocks" a bit but as the bottle of Bayer's Heroin indicates, it was a legitimate medication once. It will become the treatment for all opiate addicts eventually though maybe not in Australia in my lifetime.

Damian said...

Oh no! You've been TYPO-SPOTTED by Meh!

I hope Blair's happy with the quality of the comments left here. Anonymously, of course.

I notice nobody argued with the Herman Munster comparison.

Broken Left Leg said...

Hi Terry,
All ways look on the bright side of life. Sure you have experienced tragedy and you face a daily battle, BUT, at least you're not a Blairite!

Terry Wright said...

Thanks BLL.


Bridgit Gread said...

There's a reason Tim Blair linked to you, you're a case study in why everything you believe in leads to dysfunction and misery.

And Tim Blair contracted cancer because he is a right-winger, and all right-wingers are teh evil.

(Not a statement I actually believe, but since you're being so utterly illogical, I don't want you to feel lonely.)

Jeremy said...

Unbelievable. "Pogria"'s comment was a new low, even for Blairville.

Broken Left Leg said...

I think pogria's comment is just an example of what it means to be a "compassionate conservative".

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your addiction. Not sure why the title is "Diaries"? Are you asking for others to contribute their stories?

If you were free from heroin and coping with bipolar issues prior to your wife's passing, you can return to this state. I don't think accepting it as permenant seems logical or sensible. Doctors can get it wrong.

pete m

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Pete.
Your support is appreciated.

I actually do have diary entries. I originally started this blog to illustrate what most heroin addicts go through. Too many blogs by addicts were pushing the stereotype that addicts were non functioning and isolated. Addicts still exists everyday and have to do the things we all do. Most addicts don't use heroin regularly anymore but are on substitute treatments like methadone. There are over 30,000 people in Australia on methadone/buprenorphine. I wanted to show what an addict or a reforming addict goes through each day. As my circumstances changed, so did this blog. Now it's part diary and part commentary.

My situation started to change as my depression became worse. So did research into dual diagnosis (drug addiction & mental health). So did the focus of this site. Without going into too much detail, researchers started to notice that some people could become clean easier than others regardless of will power, family support etc. The idea of treating dual diagnosis with opiates long term became an option and my doctor suggested I not try to get clean but accept it and stay on opiate treatment. It was explained like this: some people go searching for something all their lives. They don't know it or what it is but tend to be extreme in behaviour, drink a lot and often try drugs. Eventually they stumble onto heroin which fills that 'thing' that were searching for. For these people, opiates helps the brain do what it's supposed to do naturally so they will probably never give it up. Others who just get addicted to heroin with out this searching can get back to normal eventually. Added to this, initial opiate use can change a part of the brain that deals with will power. Once this is altered, it is almost impossible to not crave opiates. They too are doomed to a life of opiates. It's not that simply, but you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Terry. It's pretty hard to accept there are people who "must" use opiates in order to have a functioning brain. However, we are talking small numbers, and I'm no scientist / doctor, and gladly yield to their expertise in such instance. I hope you don't give up and still try hard to overcome the opiate addiction in your life. Your family deserve much respect for their help and understanding of this struggle.


Terry Wright said...

Thanks pete m.
I haven't given up on being opiate free but more like I have accepted it for now until my doctors come up with something new.

I am actually trying some new anti-depression medication which hopefully might stop me using heroin for depression.

Yes, you are spot on about family. Mrs Terry, my dad etc. have put up with a lot, especially at the start.