Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Are US Drug Czar Lies Driving Our Anti-Drug Crusaders?

Many Australian anti-drug zealots want us to follow the lead from the US and Sweden on drug policy. Considering the US spend about $69,000 million dollars a year fighting drug use yet have the highest level of drug usage in the world, you have wonder why.
Looking to the U.S. as a role model for drug control is like looking to apartheid South Africa for how to deal with race. -Ethan Nadelmann. Executive Director - Drug Policy Alliance
Australian anti-drug organisations and commentators often refer to the US government’s, The Office of National Drug Control Policy (White House drug czar's office) for proof that “tough on drugs” type policies are working towards their ideal of a drug free world. They regularly ignore the numerous reports that show how much of a failure US drug policy is but wave about the latest findings from the White House drug czar's office as gospel. The problem is the credibility of their source. It was the White House drug czar's office that:
  • Said about The Netherlands, “its streets are cluttered with junkies.” because of their relaxation of cannabis laws.
  • Labeled Dutch drug policy an "unmitigated disaster citing completely incorrect data (which he later had to apologise for after an official complaint from the Dutch government)
  • Bought off the media for their anti-drug advertising campaigns. [link]
  • Denied needle exchange programs and other Harm Reduction strategies [link]
  • Backed the scientifically discredited DARE education program even after research showed it actually encouraged drug use, not stopped it.
  • Falsely claimed “Today's users, confront pot that's up to 30 times stronger than what aging baby boomers smoked.”
Then I find an article that cuts into the very heart of the propaganda used by Australian anti-drug bullshitters. It’s more evidence that the White House drug czar's office fudge their figures but I wonder if this will simply be overlooked.
Drug Czar Fails Spectacularly at Cutting Marijuana Consumption By Bruce Mirken AlterNet October 2008 The White House drug czar's office, aka the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has been claiming loudly and frequently for several years now that its aggressive anti-marijuana campaign has been a rousing success. As deputy ONDCP director Scott Burns put it in a recent California newspaper interview, "drug use is down in the United States dramatically since 2001 by every barometer and indicator that we use. ... Twenty-four percent reduction in marijuana use by young people 12 to 18 years old." Uh, not quite. In fact, the major U.S. government study of drug use, the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that the drug czar's office has badly failed to meet its own goals for reducing use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, according to a pair of new reports by George Mason University senior fellow Jon Gettman, Ph.D. In addition, ONDCP and drug czar John Walters have misused treatment statistics to suggest that marijuana is dangerously addictive when the government's own data suggest that arrest-driven treatment admissions have wasted tax dollars by treating thousands who were not truly drug-dependent. During Walters' tenure, ONDCP has released at least 127 separate anti-marijuana TV, radio and print ads and 34 press releases focused mainly on marijuana, in addition to 50 reports from ONDCP and other federal agencies on marijuana or anti-marijuana campaigns. Beyond doubt, this anti-marijuana blitz -- coupled with record marijuana arrests year after year, to the point where in 2007 an American was arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds -- constitutes the most intense war on marijuana since "Reefer Madness." Gettman, who made international headlines in December 2006 with an analysis showing that marijuana is the top cash crop in the United States, catalogues the failures in detail. In 2007 there were 14.5 million current users of marijuana in the United States, compared with 14.6 million in 2002, while the number of Americans who have ever used marijuana actually increased. ONDCP has not even come close to meeting its goal of reducing illegal drug use by 25 percent by 2007 in any age group. In fact, among adults, overall illegal drug use actually increased 4.7% from 2002 to 2007. Teen marijuana use is down a bit but still remains common: One in nine (12 percent) 14- and 15-year-olds and one in four (23.7 percent) 16- and 17-year-olds used marijuana in 2007. Walters loves to cite increases in marijuana treatment admissions as proof that marijuana is addictive and dangerous. But Gettman's analysis of data from the government's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) shows that the percentage of marijuana treatment admissions referred by the criminal justice system jumped from 48% to 58% from 1992 to 2006. In other words, most of the increase in treatment admissions was driven by people being arrested and offered treatment instead of jail. Strikingly, just 45 percent of marijuana admissions met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for marijuana dependence. Also arguing against claims that treatment admissions reflect dangerously addictive "pot 2.0" (yes, some officials have actually used that phrase, and some in the press have repeated it as if it meant something) is the fact that, as Gettman notes, "Use of residential detox -- a clear sign of a serious addiction problem -- is used for 24% of heroin admissions and 21% of alcohol admissions, but just 2% of marijuana admissions." Gettman's bottom line on those treatment stats is simple and depressing: "Increases in drug treatment admissions for marijuana, often cited by officials as evidence that marijuana is dangerously addictive, are driven by criminal justice policies rather than medical diagnosis. These policies increase public costs for providing drug treatment services and reduce funds for and availability of treatment of more serious drug problems." This is your government on drugs.


Anonymous said...

Man i'm so sick of these idiot moralists, who have no idea about addiction. And it seems, they dont even bother to inform themselves.

Thank's for adding me!
I got slow release morphine too before, but switched to methadone a month ago. My morphine dose was so fucking low, i was sick all the time. And because of stupid restrictions, they didn't give me more, no matter what. But it wasn't a problem to get a higher dose of methadone. I'm not regreting it though, i'm feeling perfectly fine and it keeps me from using totally. Also, i'm able to work all day without feeling like shit.

But it's sad they restrict morphine for treatment so much in Austria, even though statistics and expert opinions are so positive about it. And people who couldn't stop using on methadone, stopped using when they got morphine. Politicians...

I also have a good job, a beautiful flat and a cute cat :) Sorry for babbling!

Amy said...

How do these dumb asses get into positions of power? It amazes me.

David said...

You wouldn't be moralising would you?

Is your only concern that the "anti-drug crusaders" are not effective?

There are positive steps you can take to help:

1. Just say no

2. Dob in an illegal drug user today.

You'll be contributing to a safer and healthier society. And you'll be able to cut back on your winging, too.

Jack Dorf said...

David how can I say no when I've just found out pot 2.3 will be out in time for xmas?

Amy said...

I am guilty of moralising. I have a moral objection to any social policy that induces additional harm and goes against proven evidence.

epicene said...

David - 1) why say "NO"? Against what criteria or even a single criterion is drug use of any concern to other than a puritanical/autocratic regime.
2) see above, "WHY?"
How would society be any safer with all dope smokers replaced by drunks? Do tell.
Only god botherers like the Rodent's drug czar SA Gen(sic!)Watter's urge an euphoriant (drug) free society.

David said...

I'm not really sure why Australians have to slavishly follow the USA with the "tough on drugs" policy.

But then why do Australians by their fucked-up cars, like holdens and fords, and watch the stupid cinematographical pieces of shit on the big screen and the glass tit?

And fight in their wars and kow-tow to their presidents.

You fucking stupid Aussies, you little, insecure country, don't you know that "just say no" means "don't tell me and don't get caught".

Fucking idiots. Now when are you placing your next heroin order with the CIA?

epicene said...

Hmm Terry, you were right about Davidsez -very angry. Perhaps too much meth?

Terry Wright said...

epicene said:
Hmm Terry, you were right about Davidsez -very angry. Perhaps too much meth?