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Sun May 19, 2013, 04:21 AM

 

War on Drugs "designed to take that energy coming out of the Civil Rights Movement & destroy it"



Interesting discussion starting about 9:00, with reference to Baltimore

16 replies, 1188 views

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Reply War on Drugs "designed to take that energy coming out of the Civil Rights Movement & destroy it" (Original post)
HiPointDem May 2013 OP
davidthegnome May 2013 #1
HiPointDem May 2013 #3
davidthegnome May 2013 #5
HiPointDem May 2013 #8
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #4
HiPointDem May 2013 #7
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #9
HiPointDem May 2013 #10
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #11
HiPointDem May 2013 #12
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #13
HiPointDem May 2013 #14
Egalitarian Thug May 2013 #15
HiPointDem May 2013 #16
xchrom May 2013 #2
ananda May 2013 #6

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 09:20 AM

1. Good video.

Having grown up in a very conservative, very "white" community, I can't really relate that well to what life is like for many blacks living in more urban areas, especially areas that are so economically depressed. In my own experience....

A good number of the boys I attended elementary school with got into drugs during high school. For the most part, these weren't poor kids, these weren't kids from broken homes or from deeply impoverished families or neighborhoods. Yet for some reason, nearly every boy I played with as a child got into one form of drug or another. For some it was crack, for others it was X, or meth - but for the majority it was prescription drugs. My own sisters took some of the hardcore drugs - one of them developing an addiction at 17 that, fortunately, she was able to overcome.

Perhaps the fact that I was something of a strange kid who took the alternate route of going to a Job Corps was one of the things that helped me avoid the problem. Perhaps it was my fear of damaging my brain even more than it had been damaged with the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications I was prescribed at a young age...

About seven years ago, we had a meeting here, in a small town called Caribou. It was intended to address the issue of prescription drug abuse and illegal drugs overall. It's a small town, sort of classically New England in many ways... and I have never seen a bigger gathering for any social meeting or issue, ever, in the area. Over 1200 people went to the local high school to attend, we filled what we call the performing arts center - and the school cafeteria as well - and there were still more people who couldn't get in, waiting outside, or searching for a parking spot.

These drugs ARE destroying young minds and lives - regardless of ethnicity, regardless of socio-economic status. At a time when decent jobs are difficult if not impossible to find, when worship of job creators and profit over progress seems to be the thing... it's not too hard to understand why. I read somewhere that one of these drugs (I believe it was meth or X) creates something like three hundred times the euphoria of an orgasm. So, for a young adult, or teenager, working at burger king without any real thought of (or hope of) going to college... they may see that as, perhaps, the best thing they can ever have in their lives.

The war on drugs is primarily enforced against blacks, more blacks are arrested, prosecuted, pulled over simply because of their skin color... but the war has definitely grown to include just about every socio-economic group.

We all know that the enforcement policies are not working. We all know that far too many people are imprisoned for drug crimes, people who never had much chance of ever even dreaming the "American dream" let alone living it. Yet the feds seem more intent than ever on stepping up arrests, building newer and bigger prisons...

Is the solution to legalize drugs? To end the war altogether? I don't know - imagine if it was perfectly legal to pick up some meth at a local drug store - and smoke it in the street. The idea is... frightening, to me, because I imagine these folks driving, or freaking out and hurting themselves or someone else.

It's just one of those things I can't wrap my mind around. I don't think there is a solution that would work terribly well. I grieve for anyone who struggles with addiction - because I struggled with it myself for many years, with the prescription drug xanax. What I can't see is any viable solution that would improve this state of affairs. More severe punishment for drug dealers and offenders? Or... de-criminalize drug use? Or, let things simply stay as they are... however we approach this problem, it remains enormous and depressing.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #1)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:57 PM

3. The difference in economically devastated communities is that drugs are one of the few ways

 

to make good money & are basically 'the economy'. Lots of kids got into drugs in my peer group too, but most got out of that milieu to work, have families, buy houses etc. because there were other things to do & other things they wanted. They didn't become drug dealers or lifetime members of the drug economy. But I can see that 'drug economy' taking hold in my community today -- which is largely white, with a visible hispanic minority.

I think it's no coincidence that there's a long history of drugs of various types being flooded into communities being conquered or colonized -- e.g. gin in england, alcohol to native americans in canada and the US, opium in china during the opium wars, heroin & crack in the black ghetto, & now meth & heroin on a wide scale in the 'post-work' US economy. I also read of similar trends of rising drug use in areas of the middle east currently under attack from capital -- afghanistan, iran...



heroin/opium use & addiction was widespread among the US troops in vietnam, but once they came home, the majority did not remain users or addicts, part of a drug economy or a drug culture as we think of it. similarly, lots of drugs have been used historically without producing the pernicious effects we have today -- thinking here of drug use as part of religious/spiritual/economic rituals in tribal societies.

Drug addiction has a physical aspect and a social/psychological aspect. Of the two, I think the social/psychological aspect is the most powerful in creating addiction and 'cultures of addiction'. Lots of aspects to this as well -- one of them is the cultural narrative of drug use as a badge of identity -- the rebel, the artist, etc. -- for those who don't fit into the mainstream narrative. In my old age I find that narrative deeply damaging to individuals, though when young i was romantically taken with it myself.

The key is that our society produces *no place* of respect & worth for many people -- for the poor and jobless, for youth who don't fit into the standard mold, etc.

Drug policy is profoundly counter-productive, and I think that also is no accident. That's why the introduction of the "War on Drugs" under Nixon following the rebellious 60s feels to me like a psychological operations tactic.

Drugs & the war on drugs helped destroy various left formations from the late 60s on -- the panthers, the young lords, the anti-war movement, various white left formations based in NYC.

Drug policy destroys families/communities, intensifies any criminal tendencies people have (via prison culture and the closing off of other economic opportunities -- i.e. hard to rent, get jobs, etc. with a record), stigmatizes people (which is felt psychologically), turns them against 'normal' society. This policy is being widened to society at large.

It also seems to me problematic, odd, that pot legalization is probably going to happen in the US concurrent with economic decline. For some reason this reminds me of china in the opium wars period, also a culture in economic decline under attack from the forces of capital. Addiction in that period rose to heights likely unmatched anywhere else in the historic record.




In this analysis, there are clearly things we *could* do to reduce drug abuse and its harms. But is there a *will* to do them at the top? Because the first order of business would be job creation over a wide spectrum (to create niches for lots of different kinds of personalities to shine, feel useful, respected, interested, etc), and the second order of business would be to promote the stability of communities through various measures (low-cost safe home ownership, community facilities and organizations, family supports, local jobs & businesses, etc.)

That is not something I see our rulers doing anytime in the forseeable future.









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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Sun May 19, 2013, 05:48 PM

5. The question that leaps to my mind...

is who (or is it whom?) are we being conquered by? Corporations, I suppose - wealthy individuals or corporate elites that can buy politicians the same way you or I might buy a box of crackers. It makes me wonder where the real connection is, between drug dealers, users - and the people making the drugs and selling them, those at the top of the supply end. I mean, officially, the US federal stance is that we're against all use of illegal drugs, that we're fighting a "war" on drugs.... but how many of our political elites and their corporate sponsors are connected to the drug trade? Are the more "legit" drug companies involved? I just don't know enough. If I had to guess, I'd guess it's a lot worse than I can even imagine.

I learned a little about the practices of federal and state enforcement agencies a few years ago... my understanding is that there's a huge amount of money to be made in the war on drugs. Not just by those selling them - but also, from my understanding, there is some kind of law that enables police or DEA to seize someone's assets - all of their assets - based on evidence of any illegal drug related profit. That is - evidence, not proof. I imagine that if they wanted to seize someone's assets, they could do it without too much trouble... the accused could very well spend years in court to get them back - and without their assets, that would prove difficult.

I think you're right regarding alternatives, as well. Our manufacturing industry mostly dead, the corporate giants free to ship as many jobs as they want over-seas... a deeply de-regulated market and the ongoing circus of wall street and the stock market..., I don't even know what it was like back when our manufacturing industry was strong. I can't imagine an America with plenty of jobs, plenty of jobs that might help you pay for college, or even have a family and a home.

I started working at seventeen, twelve years ago now. Minimum wage was 5.45 here in Maine - and I worked for a fairly busy (for the area) Chinese restaurant. My bosses were terrible, the cooks barely spoke any English, and I learned plenty of Chinese swear words. Double shifts that leave you exhausted, annoyed... bosses that don't really give a damn, a community that is either unaware of simply uncaring regarding various and even outrageous offenses against a worker's rights. Complain about the cigarette ashes being flicked into food, or about the fact that your boss doesn't give you a break to let you sit during a twelve hour shift... and hell, it's at will employment, he can simply can your ass and hire someone else.

I've had many jobs in between, but I'll never forget that first one, to this day I hate it the most of all of them. It's not a way to survive, you're not going to get by on 5.45 an hour unless you can work maybe 100 hours a week or so. Minimum wage has increased since then - but not nearly enough to match up with inflation, with rising prices, with today's economic climate.

So I suppose drugs are the alternative for many people - even up here. There's a lot of money to be made selling painkillers, or simple anxiety medications, anti-depressants, and so on...

I wonder though... where are these kids getting the money to buy all the drugs? I suppose it's from their parents in many cases, who may not realize they're being robbed. Sooner or later though, something has to give - in an increasingly poorer society, fewer and fewer people will be able to afford drugs, illegal or otherwise. Somehow I imagine that the response to that though... will not be to drop the price dramatically...

I'm rambling. Your analogy is a good one - and from what little I know of the history of the war on drugs, I find it absolutely despicable. Your suggested solutions are good ones as well, but without the power to implement them, I think the most that will be done is that people will rant about it on the internet.

Thank you for the video and your reply. I learned something new today.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #5)

Sun May 19, 2013, 06:01 PM

8. not rambling at all. it's a huge picture with lots of aspects. when people become poorer, they

 

lower the price of soma.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #1)

Sun May 19, 2013, 05:39 PM

4. One of the most ignored facts in this whole issue is the percentage of the population

 

that use drugs to the point of destruction. It's perfectly flat going back over the hundred-some years that data exists. A small percentage (slightly less than 3% IIRC) of the population is going to kill themselves through the abuse of mind-altering substances, regardless of societal pressure, legality, or enforcement, period.

The bottom line is that drug abuse is a social/medical problem and no amount of threat or force is going to change that. People are going to do what they are going to do whether we like it or not.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #4)

Sun May 19, 2013, 05:57 PM

7. I'd like to see the source for that claim, because in my hometown (which i have known intimately

 

for 60 years, & its small enough to know it very intimately) that is definitely not the case.

'to the point of destruction' is not only equal to deaths caused directly by consumption of intoxicating substances, either.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Sun May 19, 2013, 06:58 PM

9. Writing from memory and can't find an online reference for you, but here is where I

 

started;

Illegal Drugs By Paul Gahlinger

You've pointed out one of the problems with using statistical methodology to glean information, it frequently doesn't reflect anecdotal experience. That destructive drug abuse (note that the above linked reference does not distinguish between drugs based on legal status) has increased significantly in your hometown doesn't preclude the likeliness that it has dropped in someone else's.

The point is that drug abuse has always existed in human populations. Most of us use them for a while and quit or use them in moderation, but there is and has always been a remarkably consistent minority that don't and either increase their use or continue to use until they become ill and die. Another factor that is so hard to account for, due to the constantly shifting legal status of these substances, is in assigning a value to relative harm caused. There are more than a few rock stars, for example, that have been heroin addicts for decades, but because they have the means to acquire pharmaceutical grade heroin and good medical care, they don't suffer many of the effects we see in the street-level addicts.

Meth is one of today's favorite bogey-men of the prohibitionists. Methamphetamine has been around since the 19th century. We've given it to soldiers, children, fat people, depressed people, etc. for over a century. It is not a good thing for the human body or mind, but the severity of the deleterious effects commonly shown in order to scare people is mainly due to the fact that it's illegal (Trivia: Pot is a schedule 1 drug while meth is schedule 2) necessitates its black market production that includes all manner of impurities and other toxins. IOW, in many cases the shit that's in it because it's illegal is worse than the meth itself.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #9)

Mon May 20, 2013, 04:59 AM

10. "doesn't preclude the likeliness that it has dropped in someone else's". nor does it preclude the

 

Last edited Mon May 20, 2013, 05:34 AM - Edit history (2)

possibility it's also increased in someone else's.

i don't particularly disagree with anything you've said here, but you claimed something else initially. i find the initial claim dubious, & not just because of the evidence of my own experience.

to say that it's a steady percentage of people everywhere, at all times, who abuse drugs 'to the point of destruction' (whatever that means) smacks of essentialism -- that somehow this percentage of people is just inherently/genetically susceptible or whatever. it denies the cultural aspects of drug use, which are what give drug use, abuse and addiction their meaning.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #10)

Mon May 20, 2013, 11:29 AM

11. I'm not really concerned with your belief or lack thereof. I gave you the book, the book

 

has the specific numbers and citations. Go find it for yourself or not, it's not like you can do anything about it.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #11)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:13 PM

12. why the snark? i asked a civil question in a civil manner.

 

if the best you can do is say 'it's in this book somewhere, go find it,' not much of a cite.

if it's such an acknowledged fact, it should be somewhere else on the internet. burden of proof is on you, you made the claim.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #12)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:37 PM

13. Dude, just returning the favor. Perhaps we have a lack of communication here.

 



Or perhaps it is a lack of understanding that most of everything we have learned over the last 10,000 years or so doesn't have a hyperlink. Scientists have been studying and publishing about human induced global climate change since at least since the 70s, for example. Try to find something on line about those studies and theories from that time.

There is no burden to prove anything and you can believe it or not. When certain people that shall not be named post a link to a White House press release extolling the ultimate wisdom of why we simply must cut Social Security, do you believe the fact that there is a link to it makes it true?

As I said, that book is where I first learned what was to me a surprising fact. If you want to learn the specifics, the numbers and the sources for them, you can start there. There is no requirement for anyone to spend hours or days tracking down some data to enlighten someone else. Either you want to know or you don't. People used to get paid a decent wage to do what you seem to be demanding for free.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #13)

Mon May 20, 2013, 05:45 PM

14. If you make a claim on the internet, it's up to you to provide some evidence. Scientific research

 

generally has a hyperlink, and if this fact is so certain as you claim, that book is not the only place it appears.

But since you're not interested in discussion or data, just in posting your opinions unchallenged, not particularly interested in your beliefs either.

you posted some thoughts on addiction. i posted some other thoughts & asked for some evidence for a claim you made. you told me you weren't interested in my beliefs and told me to go read a book.

what are you doing on a discussion board, go rent a billboard.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #14)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:29 AM

15. I did, you have no interest in learning. Not my problem. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #15)

Tue May 21, 2013, 03:46 AM

16. i have no interest in buying an expensive book to find a cite that may or may not exist. you

 

imagine you have something to teach; just another rude blowhard.

people who are uninterested in learning don't ask for cites, and they also refuse to give them, as they imagine their unattributed ramblings should be taken as gospel by all and they should be paid for their droppings on discussion boards.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 09:21 AM

2. du rec. nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sun May 19, 2013, 05:52 PM

6. Yes, I see it as an excuse to go after minorities and the poor..

.. and prevent them from organizing.

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