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Old 12-07-2012, 10:18 PM   #1
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Breaking The Taboo: a rational discussion on the War On Drugs

A warning before you TL;DW me. It's an hour long. I know.


But it's narrated by Morgan Freeman. And it's awesome in and of itself. Well worth the watch.

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Old 12-07-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:22 PM   #3
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great documentary, just watched the whole thing

always agreed that legalizing is the way to go, especially for marijuana as a start. My question is around legalizing hard drugs...they say in amsterdam there's all those rules about the weed has to be smoked only in a coffee shop, shop can only have a certain amount on hand per day, and there are age etc. restrictions. That's great - most weed users have an income and dont live on the street.

If the same concept was applied to crack or heroin, where many users are living on the street or often on that path, and many rob to use, how will this concept work? I get it, safe injection facilities. But if they're buying it and taxed from a shop rather than a guy on the street, don't they still need to come up with the money in some way? And what happens to those drug dealers when they lose business - do they all just get desk jobs and go legit? I dunno about that.

In any case, i think even including weed in this discussion and statistics in 2012 is retarded. The damage it causes is comparable to alcohol, it should be legalized and taxed. As for the other drugs, this documentary didn't really convince me on that one. Though i do think going after the cartels hasn't necessarily worked - it just seems to shift their locations and give rise to new cartels in new places...fuuu
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:33 PM   #4
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You're right, they will have to come up with the money some way. But the mentality behind it is that we'll be cutting other types of costs. In the Obamacare thread that was posted here awhile ago, we had a brief discussion about the "million dollar patients"; homeless people who cost the emergency medical system literally millions of dollars because of things like overdoses, communicable diseases, and injuries due to intoxication.

Let's look at a single type of incident: ambulance calls. A single ambulance call costs $750 and (if made in the DTES) would probably take about an hour. Let's assume an addict has an incident which results in an emergency call once a month (not unreasonable; some would argue too low, others too high). Because the person is homeless, they can't afford to pay the $750. That means that the government needs to pay $750 to the ambulance system because the person can't. Yet if drugs were legalized and taxed, the money could go towards treatment programs--because they are new sources of income, they could go directly towards these kinds of programs, and avoid the whole "if you're raising existing taxes then you should do something to help the people paying them" mentality. The PIMBY, if you will.


You know how in elementary school there was that one asshole who wouldn't shut up at the back of the class and was just a douche and wanted to disrupt the class? Well, this kind of program is like the colouring book your teacher would give him. Sure, it's not a solution. But it's a distraction. And it lets the rest of the class (society) function more effectively.


As I said in the Obamacare thread--it's not always about fixing a problem. Sometimes they can't be fixed. Sometimes it's just about reducing the harm that people can do to themselves and others.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:28 AM   #5
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That documentary was very well put together, and I agree with the message it's conveying, I always have.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:44 AM   #6
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If the same concept was applied to crack or heroin, where many users are living on the street or often on that path, and many rob to use, how will this concept work? I get it, safe injection facilities. But if they're buying it and taxed from a shop rather than a guy on the street, don't they still need to come up with the money in some way? And what happens to those drug dealers when they lose business - do they all just get desk jobs and go legit? I dunno about that.
They're robbing to use already, I don't see why it would get any worse. It could only get better with more money into recovery programs.

Drug dealers won't have a choice if they can't make any money at it. How many bootleggers peddling moonshine cause a problem in the USA today?
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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Honestly, I've changed my stance on the legalization of drugs(specifically mj) in more recent times.

First, let me say, I hate weed. I would love for the war on drugs to work. I hate the culture around it, the smell, the look and I've tried it, and I don't like its effects either. And the thing I hate most about 'weed culture' is I will get failed into oblivion just for saying "I hate weed". But I think the overall harm it causes is less than the societal cost to police it. As a conservative, I have to look at those financial realities.

I think the main point that I took out, is even the message is wrong about the evils of drugs. I think in ANYTHING to do with drug prohibition, I think its wrong to lump in all currently illegal drugs together as "drugs are bad, mmmk?" I think you need to look at drugs as weed, then the others.

I'm curious to see whats going to happen with Washington state and Colorado. Here you have 2 states that are in, now, complete disagreement with federal policy. It will become a states rights issue for sure. But does the Federal gov't now actually fight against their own people to promote a federal policy that the voters have said they no longer wish to partake in?

I think the result of the war on drugs has been the criminalization of culture in the US. It's black men. And I'm not saying its because they are black, but its inner cities that went through a major negative move for the past 30-40 years creating ghettos that just re-inforce the need for drugs, which in turn creates an even worse ghetto.

I think countries like switzerland..and portugal, they didn't get there over night. You are seeing steps, like insite here in Van and what happened in Washington as small steps towards a more workable solution.

Ultimately, I'm forced to believe the following, based on logic regardless of my personal belief on drugs:

Putting people in jail/prison costs a LOT of money

Putting people in jail/prison means they can no longer have a good job, etc due to now poor standing in society

That in turn reinforces their desire for drugs

Entire cities are being decimated by the incarceration of their inhabitants

It's not working.

Even, as a conservative, if I want to completely ignore the drugs, and look at it purely as a cost center...I want to spend less, so I need to do something that curbs the use at the source..and jail isn't the answer.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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I learned the "War on Drugs" made no sense in my first year Micro/Macro economics classes.

It's frustrating trying to explain it to people who are just so closeminded they refuse to accept/believe what you're saying.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:46 PM   #9
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Spoiler!


About the throwing people in prison bit, don't forget that many prisons in the states are privately owned and that throwing people into these prisons is a business in its self.
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #10
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Absolutely. It's a seemingly one huge corrupt system. Some random(s) is holding a joint, gets caught, goes to trial, found guilty, given an ridiculous amount of time, goes to prison PRIVATELY owned by some rich dude (maybe even a politician). And the wheels keep spinning.

Personally, I think this "war on drugs" can never be won. It can only be slowed down. Drug dealers (not street guys, but those guys up at the top) are around because bottomline:
-society has always needed a vice in whatever form they come
-there's just way too much money to be made. Sure, there really are some people up in high places who want to stop the flow of drugs but they are heavily outnumbered by those who just want to make a quick $ (shit, even the CIA are rumored to have dabbled in the drug business but that's another topic on its own).

The hard core drugs are always imported in to the States from countries where poverty is common sight. Why? Because Americans have the biggest appetite for drugs lol. Buy dirt cheap, sell sky high (no pun intended). At the moment, they are the most influential nation in the world. The movies and music that come out from there are viewed by the entire world. More often than not, drugs are talked about or seen. The rest of the world sees this and follow suit. It's like free advertisement. Globally lol.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:00 PM   #11
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Morgan Freeman could narrate a Denny's menu and I'd still listen to it.

Great watch.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:17 PM   #12
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If it was up to me, I'd legalize ALL drugs, including all the ones that are absolutely addictive and usually affect your life in a negative way (cocaine, heroine, etc.)

For me, it's a matter of personal freedom. The government should have no say in what people can do to themselves. If people were taught the correct information about drugs, especially starting in elementary schools, the use of the really harmful drugs wouldn't be so high. And please don't say that the info taught from the beginning of the "War on Drugs" till now is correct information. It's more like government propaganda.

Also, having drugs like marijuana being illegal while tobacco and alcohol are directly related to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year is just ridiculous. Not 1 person has ever died directly from the use of pot. THC is soooo non-toxic that you'd have to smoke over 10,000 joints in a row to even have a small level of toxicity in your system.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
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The War on Drugs is a colossal failure. Like the video shows, too many people in America are being incarcerated for simply possession. If it was up to me, I'd follow a dutch type model and allow certain drugs that are currently prohibited. I'd sell them in regulated stores, tax them, and divert some of the profits to helping the 10% that are problem users (according to the video) and in educating people since were going to pay one way or another.

Meanwhile, tobacco and alcohol are legalized as they are preferred by the "moral center" - police, politicians, "upstanding" citizens, etc - and are far worse than some of the drugs that are prohibited. This doesn't make any logical sense given the substantial harms they pose.

Alcohol is a factor in:
64% of all homicides
31% of all suicides
40% of all hospital admissions
50% of all highway deaths
34% of all rapes
40% of all family court appearances
(Addictions Foundation of Manitoba in Sneiderman, 1996).

Tobacco kills an estimated 400,000 Americans and 40,000 Canadians every year, which is roughly the number of Americans and Canadians killed in all of World War II, not including all the people elsewhere in the world that die as tobacco use is aggressively targeted towards those in the developing world.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:33 PM   #14
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Spoiler!


About the throwing people in prison bit, don't forget that many prisons in the states are privately owned and that throwing people into these prisons is a business in its self.
i've always heard that prisons are a business and have a few ideas on how that works, but can someone explain to me how such prisons earn most of their money? And where/who this money comes from?

is it a cheap labour thing? or a government subsidy thing? or am i totally missing something obvious?
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:44 PM   #15
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In America, they view government as a plague upon society (the general principles of the founding of the States, and the selectively-held views of the conservative side of the US).

As a result, the American view is "Why should we let the government waste our money inefficiently when we can have corporations compete over the scraps we throw them?"

Except that when Government is unwilling to compete, corporations are free to charge what they like. Also, because corporations are out to make a buck and the priority on many lawmakers' plates is to "get these criminals off the streets" as opposed to "getting these criminals back on their feet", there's a lack of prioritization for rehabilitation and no real mentality on stewardship. It's analagous to what's happening in the US to healthcare: "Government shouldn't interfere with business because business is more efficient!" Except that it's not because you're looking at the short term gains and not the long-term losses.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:45 PM   #16
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If it was up to me, I'd legalize ALL drugs, including all the ones that are absolutely addictive and usually affect your life in a negative way (cocaine, heroine, etc.)

For me, it's a matter of personal freedom. The government should have no say in what people can do to themselves. If people were taught the correct information about drugs, especially starting in elementary schools, the use of the really harmful drugs wouldn't be so high. And please don't say that the info taught from the beginning of the "War on Drugs" till now is correct information. It's more like government propaganda.

Also, having drugs like marijuana being illegal while tobacco and alcohol are directly related to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year is just ridiculous. Not 1 person has ever died directly from the use of pot. THC is soooo non-toxic that you'd have to smoke over 10,000 joints in a row to even have a small level of toxicity in your system.
After the 10th joint you'd probably green out and sleep like a baby.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:59 AM   #17
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First, let me say, I hate weed. I would love for the war on drugs to work. I hate the culture around it, the smell, the look and I've tried it, and I don't like its effects either. And the thing I hate most about 'weed culture' is I will get failed into oblivion just for saying "I hate weed".

Marijuana is a boon to artists!

I have to agree, some people take pot too far and build their personalities around it. Same goes for other things people take to extremes, like sports, my little pony, harry potter, etc
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:43 AM   #18
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The only drugs I mind are the ones that make you hallucinate/makes you aggressive.

Defenders always quote "STEVE JOBS DID LSD AND LOOK HOW CREATIVE APPLE IS NOW!" but I've seen/heard too many horror stories to support legalizing those kinda drugs.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:13 AM   #19
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The only drugs I mind are the ones that make you hallucinate/makes you aggressive.

Defenders always quote "STEVE JOBS DID LSD AND LOOK HOW CREATIVE APPLE IS NOW!" but I've seen/heard too many horror stories to support legalizing those kinda drugs.

Well, having done DMT and mushrooms, I can honestly say they were both incredible experiences that opened up my mind.

However, having the right environment for such experiences is key.

If you're in a bad place in life and you take one of those drugs, or too much, or unsupervised without a "trip sitter", you can end up really fucked up!


Check out some of these freak outs:

Damnit, I can't find the one with the naked college dude screaming and ranting in the dorm hallway. That one is a classic. So many people just walk by him before the cops show up. Poor guy.








The first few are really fucked up. I've done salvia and I don't like it, it really scrambles your thoughts in a negative way, IMO.

FYI, I've known of two people who killed themselves a short time after coming down off LSD. A few days.

Anyone remember that story a few years back about the girl on E who jumped off a 25th floor balcony in the middle of a party? Heard it happened in Vancouver.

Having said that, I couldn't come up with creative shit without tapping into the places in my mind that drugs have opened up!
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:16 PM   #20
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Hallucinogen are great though. Aside from being wayyyyy down on any kind of harm index, they have the most positive effects and aren't addictive (in fact, some studies have proven them extremely useful in BREAKING addiction). But they need to be used with some respect. Particularly the stronger ones, they can be very far from recreational but amazing learning and development experiences.

If it weren't for the war on drugs, there would probably be a lot more studies/information, and knowledgeable shamans and guides around.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:03 PM   #21
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great documentary, just watched the whole thing

always agreed that legalizing is the way to go, especially for marijuana as a start. My question is around legalizing hard drugs...they say in amsterdam there's all those rules about the weed has to be smoked only in a coffee shop, shop can only have a certain amount on hand per day, and there are age etc. restrictions. That's great - most weed users have an income and dont live on the street.

If the same concept was applied to crack or heroin, where many users are living on the street or often on that path, and many rob to use, how will this concept work? I get it, safe injection facilities. But if they're buying it and taxed from a shop rather than a guy on the street, don't they still need to come up with the money in some way? And what happens to those drug dealers when they lose business - do they all just get desk jobs and go legit? I dunno about that.

In any case, i think even including weed in this discussion and statistics in 2012 is retarded. The damage it causes is comparable to alcohol, it should be legalized and taxed. As for the other drugs, this documentary didn't really convince me on that one. Though i do think going after the cartels hasn't necessarily worked - it just seems to shift their locations and give rise to new cartels in new places...fuuu
I'm not a proponent of the term, "hard drugs," as it was created as a part of the war on drugs, and it does a very poor job of categorizing. I prefer to refer to crack, heroin, meth, and the like, as drugs high on a harm index. I'll continue this post using that terminology.

In my mind, a discussion on the legalization of drugs low on the harm index is straightforward and simple. These drugs should be legalized, the general people is competent enough to weigh the harm and benefit balance for themselves. I consider marijuna, mushrooms, peyote, LSD, DMT, alcohol, tobacco, and others to fit in this category.

Truly dangerous, harmful, drugs become very complicated. The illegal status of heroin has never prevented a person intent on using it from proceeding. No heroin user operates under the delusion that it can be used recreationally, they realize it will consume them and are accepting of it. If that's the case, what does making heroin illegal achieve? It raises the price, it creates a dangerous lack of consistency, it allows users and dealers to be arrested. Price doesn't prevent users from using, and neither does the danger or risk or arrest. Heroin should therefore be legal, because nothing is achieved by it being illegal. The people who use it now will continue, and the money saved by not policing and arresting those users can be dedicated towards lifting them up and out of the social position that allows them to consider heroin. I use heroin as a proxy for all drugs high on the harm index.
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:24 PM   #22
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^on that topic, often "crack" has become a "hard drug" whereas pure coccaine is something that the rich, elite investment bankers do on their off time. I believe posession of crack in the u.s actually gets you more jail time or something than of the raw stuff...or maybe it's about dealing. I don't remember exactly but i remember reading something about the whole BS around it and how it's a way to essentially pick on the residents of poor communities while not touching the white collars

also wondering if you can explain why prisons make money and how they make money. Genuinely interested, still confused how that even works. Where does the revenue come from? Just a random question to anyone haha
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:31 PM   #23
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Truly dangerous, harmful, drugs become very complicated. The illegal status of heroin has never prevented a person intent on using it from proceeding. No heroin user operates under the delusion that it can be used recreationally, they realize it will consume them and are accepting of it. If that's the case, what does making heroin illegal achieve? It raises the price, it creates a dangerous lack of consistency, it allows users and dealers to be arrested. Price doesn't prevent users from using, and neither does the danger or risk or arrest. Heroin should therefore be legal, because nothing is achieved by it being illegal. The people who use it now will continue, and the money saved by not policing and arresting those users can be dedicated towards lifting them up and out of the social position that allows them to consider heroin. I use heroin as a proxy for all drugs high on the harm index.
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The fallacy with this type of argument here is two-fold:

1) Certain people in society don't know how to protect themselves. By making the highly harmful drugs illegal and therefore unavailable, the government is trying to protect this particular group.

2) If the harm index is high, but the substance is not illegal, it will send the wrong message to enough people that despite the dangers, this is still something that they could experiment with. This point is sort of points back to point #1 in that certain people in society really don't know any better.

An imperfect analogy that I have just thought of is seat belts and helmet laws (for cars and bikes, respectively). Everybody knows the odds of surviving a car accident is dramatically higher if seatbelts / helmets are worn, just as people know heroin are highly dangerous. But if you don't make it illegal to not wear the seatbelt and helmets, the government (and society in general) is sending the wrong message to the general public, and a significantly larger portion of the population is gonna skip both the belt and the helmet. (The equivalent to this with heroin is, they are gonna try it because it isn't illegal.)

Also, suppose there are no seat belts nor helmet laws, and a person gets seriously hurt after an accident. Who is gonna foot the significantly higher medical bill to treat that person? And who will end up paying the costs of that significantly larger number of people getting hurt from not wearing seat belts / helmets?

The analogy extends to heroin and other highly harmful drugs.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:28 PM   #24
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fascinating article on the subject. Super long, but it gives you a liberal view, high level on each administrations thoughts, and policies on the war.

How America Lost the War on Drugs | Politics News | Rolling Stone
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:29 PM   #25
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great film. Really makes you wonder how this is even a debate at all.
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