Subject: +quot;War on Drugs and Media+quot; Paper (LONG) Date: 11 Dec 91 00:52:13 GMT Repr

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From: Subject: "War on Drugs and Media" Paper (LONG) Message-ID: <> Date: 11 Dec 91 00:52:13 GMT Representation of the "War on Drugs" in "Time" and "Newsweek" By David Hirmes ( December, 1991 The Big Picture?: A Case for Perplexity My method of research was fairly simple. I searched for articles in Time and Newsweek that in some way dealt with the "War on Drugs" between 1986 and 1989. I came up with several cover stories, and many smaller ones. As for my purpose: I was looking for how these news magazines handled a problem that has been a part of society for thousands of years, and yet just recently has been declared a "war". Even in terms of hightened awareness about drugs, there were several times in history, not just the 60's and 70's, in which drugs became of "national importance". So why the hype? How had it changed and how does it change through the years analysed? I decided that the best way to discover this would be to search for the "frames" the media used to portray the "war on drugs". The idea of frames was first introduced to me in Todd Gitlin's book "The Whole World Is Watching". Gitlin's example was the turbulent times of the 60's, and in particular, the New Left. He found that the media used various ways of framing the New Left which gave a distorted view of what the movement was all about. In this paper I hope to expose some frames used in the "war on drugs". The overall impression I got through reading a plethora of articles from Time and Newsweek from August of 1986 to November of 1989 was that the news media were just as perplexed as the government and the general populous about drug abuse. The questions asked in '86 were still being asked in '89, with perhaps a heightened sense of urgency. The question of why people do drugs in the first place, why and how it leads to addiction, how serious is the problem, is it getting worse, what can we do about it as citizens, what can the government do about it, how has it gotten this far, who is to blame... The questions remain in a steady stream, yet no one seems to have realistic answers. Those who do make promises or predictions usually end up looking foolish a month or a year later. President Bush has learned his lessons, and has made little promises on how successful the "war on drugs" will be in the near future. Recently, "Drug Czar" William Bennett resigned from his post. One of the prices payed for turning a problem into a "war" is that there is always the chance one might lose. Framing the Problem - 1986 Discovery The government's "war on drugs", and therefore, coverage of the nation-wide drug epidemic, began in full force when large scale drug abuse expanded from the inner-city to middle-class Americans and the workplace. Coverage also expanded with increased violence in urban, and later rural areas. There is an interesting admission to this subtle (and not so subtle) classism in both 1986 cover stories from Time and Newsweek. In Newsweeks' "Saying No" article (8/11/86) it is stated that: "In part, the change in the public mood has a racist tinge: drugs simply moved from the black and Hispanic underclass to the middle-class mainstream and are being felt as a problem there."1 While the admission of racism within mainstream America was surprising, it was equally as interesting that Newsweek blamed Americans for their lack of caring about the plight of the inner-city, and not the lack of news coverage itself. I have found, although I did very little research before 1986, that the problems of drug abuse in the inner-city were covered only when the problem had reached many more levels of American society. This is exemplified by what seemed to be an extremely offensive comment in the Time article "The Enemy Within": As drugs have moved out of the ghetto and into the workplace, as bus drivers and lawyers and assembly-line workers get hooked, innocent consumers are put as risk. The cost of employers from drug abuse-- from lost productivity, absenteeism and higher accident rates-- is estimated at about $33 billion by the government.2 Are they assuming that there are no bus drivers, lawyers, and assembly-line workers in the ghetto? Is the loss of work- place productivity more of a concern than the decay of the inner- city? Obviously, Time knows its audience. A History Lesson After realizing that there is indeed a drug problem in America, the two news magazines diverged on two different paths. While Newsweek chose to deal with the current administrations changing policy, Time decided to give some historical context to the drug problem. Since the article had already framed itself as as dealing with the "war on drugs", the history that was presented held all drugs at an equally evil level. Pot, heroin, cocaine, and PCP were all equally responsible for the current drug crisis. Of course, no mention of legalization efforts, were mentioned, two notable deletions seemed to be the World War II program of "Hemp for Victory" as well as the complete failure of prohibition. While pot is regularly lumped with much more dangerous drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and PCP, or in the context of a "gateway" drug, cigarettes and alcohol are rarely mentioned. By leaving out cigarettes and alcohol, which account for over 100 times more deaths a year than all illegal drugs combined, an important facet of this issue is missing.3 The violent aspects of drugs like crack and PCP are hyped in many articles, but rarely are the moods of those on alcohol. There were some positive aspects of "The Enemy Within" article. For one, a framing in which the "enemy" is ourselves, rather than some evil Latin American drug empire is a positive shift the idea that DEA officials can cure the drug problem by cutting off the Southern supply. And the article did spend almost half of a small paragraph explaining the disproportionate cases of death and health care costs from tobacco and alcohol opposed to other illegal drugs. But it must be stressed that devoting even a half a paragraph on this subject was the exception to the rule. Reagan's Analysis Probably due to my reading Mark Hertsgaard's "On Bended Knee", a book about the relationship between the Reagan administration and the press, the coverage of Reagan seemed especially dubious. In the Newsweek cover story "Saying No", it is stated point blank that Reagan began taking the drug crisis seriously only when public opinion polls deemed it necessary. While Nancy's Just Say No campaign had been in full swing for a few years, the President had not considered it a top priority until '86. The article states that Reagan's philosophy had always been one of education and treatment, where volunteers and corporate America should take the responsibility to deal with the problem. Yet at the same time, a full $1.8 billion of the $2 billion given for "war on drugs" in 1985 was for enforcement, leaving the remaining $200 million to be divided between education and treatment programs.4 In fact, from 1982 to 1986, the allotment for treatment and education actually decreased over $80 million.5 The Newsweek article also featured a short interview with the President. When asked "You've described America as 'upbeat, optimistic' --why are drugs such a problem now?" Reagan replied: .ls1 For one thing... the music world.. has... made it sound as if it's right there and the thing to do, and rock-and-roll concerts and so forth. Musicians that young people like... make no secret of the fact that they are users, [And] I must say this, that the theatre--well, motion-picture industry--has started down a road they'd been on before once, with alcohol abuse...6 (note: ... and [] are Newsweeks, not mine.) When asked directly why drugs were a problem in America, our Presidents answer was rock and roll and the movies. This is the president who had been cutting social programs for the last five years, who had been virtually ignoring the problems of the inner-city, and this was his thoughtful analysis. But this had been part of Reagan's fairy-tale version of America from the start. By framing the issue in this way, Reagan disqualified his domestic policy from any part in the drug crisis, and at the same time trivialized the issue as non-political. As a side note, just as Hertsgaard points out over and over in "On Bended Knee", the press let the President frame the issues. Following his short interview, Newsweek dedicated a full article entitled "Going After Hollywood" which spent a good amount of time nit-picking at recent movies in which drug use was glorified.7 While the initial Newsweek cover story was entitled "Saying No!", no one from the inner-city was asked about the effectiveness of this campaign, nor were they asked about any of the new policy changes. In the place where the drug crisis supposedly originated, no voice was given at all. Framing the Solution - 1986 The Big Three Options to combat drug abuse are limited to the Big Three: enforcement, treatment, and education. Throughout the four years analyzed, the "debate" always dealt with which of the three is more important to focus on financially. Legalization is barely mentioned at any level, except to completely lambaste the idea. On the other end, enforcement debates range from cracking down on casual users, to full military intervention at home and abroad.8 "Battle Strategies"/Reagans on TV Even as early as September of 1986, the news magazines had a cynical view of the "war on drugs". The First Couple went on national television urging Americans to stop the using drugs at the same time when law enforcement officials were telling the press there was no way to stop the supply of drugs from entering the U.S.9 A Time article entitled "Battle Strategies" explained the various methods of "combat" (remember, this is a "war"): The border patrols, heightened arrests, drug testing (which would soon become a major issue), treatment, and education.10 Another article in Newsweek (9/22/86) explained how the Reagans were getting involved through Nancy's Just Say No campaign and Ronald's new interest in the issue (now that he realized voters felt it an important issue).11 The tone of both articles seemed to take the issue as more of a political one that a social or economic problem, a trend that would continue through my research. In a September, 1986 article, Time extolled: "The abuse of illegal drugs has certainly become the Issue of the Year, except that the main issue involved seems to be how far politicians scramble to outdo one another in leading the crusade."12 One must ask: Whose fault is that-- the politicians, the news media, or both? In framing the solution, the news magazines seem to forget that the problem itself has not truly been identified. The so- called solutions are attacking the symptoms, not the disease. This simple fact is not recognized by the news magazines. By telling kindergardeners in the inner-city not to do drugs is one thing, but when these same children grow old enough to see the best opportunity for wealth and power is that of the drug dealer, ideals could change quite easily.13 Re-Framing the Problem - 1988 Night of the Living Crack Heads The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) conducts a survey every two to three years called the National Household Survey on Drug Use, which questions about 8,000 people.14 Much of the government's policy relies on this document for data. In 1988, after decades of almost steady increase, the survey showed a decline in most drug use in the United States. The marked exception was cocaine (and its smokable derivative crack) which went down for casual use, but rose steadily for those who used the drug more than once a week.15 By this time, the "war on drugs" had been in full swing for several years, and while the NIDA statistics showed one side of the story, the "rising tide of violence" (a favorite media catch phrase), "crack babies", rise of crack use by upper and middle-class whites, and what appeared to be the growth of gangs, gang violence, and drugs in small towns across America, showed quite another. A common frame to begin articles in which policy changes or announcements were being made by Bush or William Bennett, were specific incidents of violence or irony resulting from the drug crisis.16 Interestingly enough, while this gave a cynical and somewhat confrontational frame for the article, it also seemed to lead into something of an aggressive opinion regarding the implementation of enforcement policy: In response to more violence, reporters' first reactions seemed to be "Where are our guns?" The vast majority of articles found from 1988 on that did not report specifically on an event or government announcement, dealt with various aspects of crack. Two out of the three cover stories dealing with drugs from 1988 to 1990 had to do with crack: Time had "Kids Who Sell Crack" (5/9/88) and Newsweek simply had "Crack" (11/28/88). The third was entitled "Addictive Personalities" and featured Kittie Dukakus on the cover (Newsweek, 2/20/89). Both "crack" cover stories had various problems and inaccuracies, although in general Time seemed to have a slightly better grasp on the "big picture" (i.e. some semblance of analysis) than Newsweek, in which sensationalism seemed a much higher priority. I'd like to give a somewhat detailed account of these articles because to a large degree, they focus on most of the (domestic) frames used in media to represent the "war on drugs". The Time story begins with the tale of a 13 year old dealer named Frog. In describing why young blacks from the ghetto might begin to deal drugs, Time explains: "Like most young American people, they are material girls and boys. They crave the glamorous clothes, cars, and jewelry they see advertised on TV." I suppose because most young Americans do not read their magazines, this allows Time to print ads of a similar type (not to mention another highly addictive drug, nicotine, which kids can't see on TV). Showing that not only kids from the ghetto can get hooked, Time next focuses on Eric, an upper-middle class white honor student who became addicted to crack. The next section of the article discusses the "live for today" attitude of many teenagers involved in drug dealing, as well as prison over- crowding. When a huge raid in L.A. is conducted and "Half (of those arrested) had to be released for lack of evidence" A mere sentence is dedicated to this frightening trend of mass arrest, with only the "civil libertarians" upset over the seeming loss of civil rights.17 The article redeems itself to some degree, towards the end, when it goes into a somewhat detailed account of the current job and educational situation for lower-class people in America. This is the only article I found where more than half a sentence is used to blame cuts in job training and education programs by the Federal government as a possible problem somehow related to drugs.18 It is also worthwhile mentioning that this article was written on Reagan's way out, over seven years since Reaganomics began. Newsweek, which tried to give a nation-wide view of the drug war by going to a crack house, a prison, a rehab center, and a court, failed to find any connections or insights into the drug problem except to equate all drug addicts as on the same low-life level. It's hard to expect much from an article that in the third paragraph states: .ls1 These are the two Americas. No other line you can draw is as trenchant as this. On one side, people of normal human appetites, for food and sex and creature comforts; on the other, those who crave only the roar and crackle of their own neurons, whipped into a frenzy of synthetic euphoria. The Crack Nation. It is in our midst, but not a part of us; our laws barely touch it on its progress through our jails and hospitals, on its way to our morgues.19 If images virtually out of "Night of the Living Dead" are used as the initial frame towards the drug addict, why would anyone not feel that these "Others" should be dealt with by any means necessary. Since this article was purported to be a "day in the life piece", practically no historical background on the crisis, and no analysis of a larger picture were given, leaving a very narrow view of the true problem. In Herbert Gans' book "Deciding What's News", he describes what he calls "enduring values", values that the press consider an intragle, positive, and necessary part of American society. It is when these values are threatened, that the news responds. Some of Gans' "enduring values" include: "ethnocentrism, altruistic democracy, responsible capitalism, moderatism, [and] social order"(p.42) All of these values are threatened by drugs. Newsweek's portrayal of this bipolar society, the "Crack Nation", is proof of how the threatening of these values can turn to dangerous assumptions, exaggerations, and misrepresentations within the "objective" news media. Re-Framing the Solution - 1988 Big Guns The journalists seemed as war-weary as the DEA agents they were reporting about. So when Time purports in March of 1988 that "Americans lose patience with Panama", they are possibly referring more to the administration and news journalists, than the American people.20 With hind-sight, we can see that Noreiga was actually a minor player in Latin American drug smuggling operations. Soon after the U.S. invation, the New York Times reported that the flow of drugs in and out of Panama actually had increased. Later in 1989, when Newsweek reports on William Bennett's progress as Drug Czar (one of the oddest terms associated with the "war on drugs"), the reporter intones: "...he is likewise correct that tougher law enforcement is the necessary first response."21 To a large degree, it seems that reporting on the drug war by 1988-9 turned from cynical, somewhat hopeless, and aloof, to cynical, angry, and battle-worn. Reporters began to tire of the governments rhetoric, and as drugs began to draw closer to their own homes, they became more anxious for a solution. So perhaps because of the fact that law-makers are giving no other solutions, when Bennett and Bush explain the solution begins with more cops, more guns, more prisons, and harsher treatment of casual users (as well as treatment and education, of course), the press are not so alarmed. When the Presidential appointee Bennett explains that legalization would be a "national disaster" as would attacking the "social front", one find the options even more limiting.22 .pa Breaking the Frames: Distortions and Omissions In beginning to understand the framing of the "war on drugs" within the news media, one must first look at the statistics (the NIDA survays) and how they are used to shape governmental policy and public opinion. First, it must be noted that these are household surveys, which would exclude the homeless and those with no permanent homes. Second, the rising trend to punish the casual user would automatically create an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. Third, the surveys do not consider legal drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes, which account for many more deaths a year than all other illegal drugs combined. I am unaware if the police reports, which have been used to show that large amounts of people arrested test positive for drugs, include alcohol. While these reasons do not completely disqualify the results of the surveys, they do question their accuracy.23 The next problem found through the articles analyzed were the selection of sources for information and anaylsis, in a word: who was given a voice in the news. By this I mean who was interviewed, quoted, and used as the source of information for the articles. For the most part, ordinary citizens were interviewed only to determine the level of the crisis-- how bad a neighborhood had gotten, how many people they knew were involved with illegal drugs, etc. Never was a man or woman from the inner-city, or even one from a suburban area for that matter, asked what they thought the causes of the drug crisis were, or why it was so bad in certain areas. For the most part, the Big Picture was left to the government and to a lesser extent, the news media itself. Where were the voices of teachers, medical professionals, social workers, minority group leaders, civil rights activists, and the most taboo of all, legalization activists? The medical professionals and social workers were asked how their various programs were coping, and sometimes the successful ones were examined in detail, but that was the extent of their voice. Minority leaders, even media favorites like Jesse Jackson, were ignored, and their cries for reinstating social programs lost in the Reagan years were never heard. Civil rights activists were only refereed to in the third person as in "civil libertarians were worried of this law" or "those concerned with civil rights had reservations about the legality". The one notably exception to this was the continuing controversy over drug testing. But it is important to realize that this controversy deals with almost all Americas. Anyone with a job (no longer simply air-traffic controllers and government employees with "security" positions) could be effected by these measures. And yet the truly dangerous actions, ones that most Americans take for granted, are all but ignored. From mass arrests of suspected drug dealers and not using warrants to search homes and cars, to suggestions of using the military to destroy coca fields in other countries- - these issues were barely discussed. The entertainment element within the news media played an important role in the "war on drugs" as well. Just as with Magic Johnson now, were it not for the death of Len Bias and the scandal of Daryll Strawberry, who knows how long it would have taken the media to catch on that there was a drug problem in America. When looking up source articles for this paper, the list of "Drugs and Sports" was longer than that of "Drug Abuse" or "Crack" for several of the years between 1986 and 1990. Possibly the media found in sports-drug related scandal,an entertainment side of the drug war that had more mass appeal than an inner-city murder or siezure of some odd tonnage of cocaine from Latin America. Finally, while it is not a panacea, nor a complete answer to the reasons behind America's drug crisis, I had thought that questioning the social and economic policies of Reaganomics would have brought to light some of the reasons why drug dealing, let alone drug abuse would become more appealing to those who suffered from the cuts in Federally funded social programs in housing, medical care, and education. But those comparisons were never made. Except for a small section in the Time cover story of 1988 mentioned earlier in the paper, simply the idea that economic factors were somehow involved in drug abuse were completely ignored. A portion of the reason for this might have to do with Reagan's insistence that it is the drug user and potential drug user that must be focused on. It is "Just Say No" and law enforcement-- these are our options. Not much has changed. 10"Battle Strategies" Time (Sep 15 86) 11"Rolling Out the Big Guns" Time (Sep 22 86) 12"The Enemy Within" Time [cover story] (Sep 15 86) 13see "Addictive Personalities" Newsweek [cover story] (Feb 20 89) for the sillyness of trying to find a definition. 14see "Drug Abuse and Drug Abuse Research", U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, 1991, also see the first chapter of "Communications Campaigns About Drugs", Pamela J. Shoemaker, ed., Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc., Hillsdale, NJ, 1989. 15 see "Drug Abuse and Drug Abuse Research", U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland, 1991, and "National Drug Control Strategy", U.S. Government document, 1990. 16"Tears of Rage" Time (Mar 14 88) and "Bennett's Drug War" Newsweek (Aug 21 89) 17"Crack" Newsweek [cover story] (Nov 28 88) 18"Kids Who Sell Crack" Time [cover story] (May 9 88) 19"Crack" Newsweek [cover story] (Nov 28 88) 20"Tears of Rage" Time (Mar 14 88) 21"Bennett's Drug War" Newsweek (Aug 21 89) 22Ibid. 23see the chapter "Cocaine-Related Deaths: Who are the Victims? What is the cause?" Linda S. Wong, M.A., and Bruce K. Alexander, Ph.D., in the book "Drug Policy 1989-1990: A Reformer's Catalogue" Arnold Tresbach, ed., The Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1989. Article Bibliography (in chronological order) "Saying No!" Newsweek [cover story] (Aug 11 86) "Going After Hollywood" Newsweek (Aug 11 86) "The Enemy Within" Time [cover story] (Sep 15 86) "Battle Strategies" Time (Sep 15 86) "Rolling Out the Big Guns" Time (Sep 22 86) "Urban Murders: On the Rise" Newsweek (Feb 9 87) "L.A. Law: Gangs and Crack" Newsweek (Apr 27 87) "The Southwest Drug Connection" Newsweek (Nov 23 87) "Drug Use: Down, But Not in the Ghetto" Newsweek (Nov 23 87) "Tears of Rage" Time (Mar 14 88) "Where the War Is Being Lost" Time (Mar 14 88) "Kids Who Sell Crack" Time [cover story] (May 9 88) "Crack" Newsweek [cover story] (Nov 28 88) "Addictive Personalties" Newsweek [cover story] (Feb 20 89) "Fighting on Two Fronts" Time (Aug 14 89) "Bennett's Drug War" Newsweek (Aug 21 89) "A Plague Without Boundries" Time (Nov 6 89) BIBLIOGRAPHY "Drug Abuse and Drug Abuse Research", U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (NIDA is under this orginization), Rockville, Maryland, 1991. Gans, Herbert J., "Deciding What's News", Vintage Books, New York, 1979. Gitlin, Todd, "The Whole World Is Watching", Univ. of CA Press, Berkeley, 1980. Hertsgaard, Mark, "On Bended Knee", Schocken Books, 1988. Hiebert, Ray E., ed., "What Every Journalist Should Know About the Drug Abuse Crisis", Voice of America, Wash. DC., 1987? (this book has articles from Nancy Reagan and Ed Meese amoung others.) Hoffman, Abbie, "Reefer Madness", The Nation, Nov. 21, 1987. Levine, Michael, "Going Bad", Spin, June 1991. (this article is the story of a DEA agent disallusioned by the governments handling of the drug war) "National Drug Control Strategy", U.S. Government document, 1990. Shoemaker, Pamela J., ed., "Communication Campaigns About Drugs", Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc., Hillsdale, NJ, 1989. (a suprisingly uninformative book.) Trebach, Arhold S., ed., "Drug Policy 1989-1990: A Reformer's Catalogue", The Drug Policy Foundation, Wash. DC, 1989. (an excellent resource for those interested in drug legalization.) Some sources suggested to me that I didn't get a chance to read: "The Great Drug War" by Arnold Treback. Macmillan, 1987. "Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream" by Jay Stevens, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987. "Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Revolution" by Martin Lee (one of the founders of F.A.I.R.) and Bruce Shlain, Grove Press, 1985. [END OF PAPER] ============================================================================== From: (Loco Dudley) Subject: A "must read" paper on drugs (longish) Message-ID: Date: 29 Apr 92 17:10:39 GMT I came across this paper a few days back and thought it was something that many people should read. While it is reasonably large, I found it easy and quick reading. Most of what is said in this letter has been discussed extensively in this group. Check back articles and the FAQs before bringing up any threads off of this paper! I DID NOT WRITE THIS PAPER!!! The author wishes to remain anonymous to avoid trouble and I intend to uphold his wish. Furthermore, he does not have access to Usenet News and thus will not see any follow-ups. Finally, the bibliography is missing. If there is considerable interest, I will retrieve this and forward it to those who request. I cannot guarrantee the timeliness as I do not see the author frequently. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- For as long as mankind has lived, mankind has used drugs. This is totally natural. All animals are active drug users, and humans may well lead the pack. All organisms with brains seek to alter their normal states of consciousness, to fulfill a need to experience novel stimuli. Elephants eat fermented fruit off the ground to get drunk. In order to experience an altered state, monkeys will eat insects that have gorged themselves on psychedelic plants. Cattle will eat marijuana in great quantities to get high. Humans are the most active drug seekers; they seek out and use mushrooms, peyote, DMT (from tropical plants), cocaine, alcohol drained from rotting grain, marijuana..If it can be used to alter basic brain activity, humans have probably eaten, smoked, snorted, or injected it. Young children will spin around in circles to experience the vertigo "high". But as they get older, this ceases to be novel. The child moves on to more intense experiences, such as alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and speed. The concept of a "gateway" drug is a myth. We are constantly engaged in a search for a new kind of kick, beginning with the drugs in our own bodies. We are thoroughly indoctrinated into a drug using culture. As children we are fed caffeine in soft drinks. When we have physical pain, we reach for an aspirin. When we need a charge of energy, we eat sugar to fire up our systems. In fact, almost anything we eat can be considered a drug. Normally we are protected from serious psychoactive properties of common foods by such built-in safety measures as the blood-brain barrier (Carlson, 1992). If it were not for this basic protective measure, we would be bombarded with the psychedelic properties of such common foods as bananas (which contain minute amounts of the psychedelic bananadine). But we are protected from the psychedelic effects of our normal diet. Only when we take in certain molecules that are small enough to slip through the blood-brain barrier do we feel the alteration of our perceptual systems. Foods such as Psilocybe cubensis profoundly affect our perceptual systems, yet they are as harmless to us as common edible mushrooms. Despite this, natural psychedelics are outlawed by our government. Individuals who cultivate naturally occurring plants such as the various psychedelic mushrooms, Cannabis sativa, or the opium poppy are arrested and can be sentenced to long stretches in prison. Tragically, some innocents who simply have the plants growing wild on their property are charged with cultivation of a controlled substance. These plants differ from common weeds and mushrooms in only one way: they contain a substance which can slip past the blood-brain barrier. This is the only distinction. Yet, these plants and fungi are hunted with an almost genocidal fervor, and those individuals who eat or smoke them are branded as criminals. Although it is not widely taught in schools in the U.S., every culture that has developed on this planet has had a favorite drug of almost religious significance. Many cave paintings in southern Europe depict the magic mushrooms as almost holy. They were seen as the sacrament by which man could commune with the primal forces that dwell within each of us. Recently, the science of ethnobotany has opened up new territory in the field of drug study. Ethnobotany is the study of the plant-derived drugs of different cultures. Ethnobotanists are trying to change the militant attitudes of individuals who erroneously believe that drug use is an unnatural and immoral practice. Terrence McKenna, in his book Food Of The Gods, even provides a highly plausible theory about the development of human consciousness. He maintains that the early proto-humans which humankind is descended from were active users of psilocybin mushrooms. which were in ready supply around the herds of animals they hunted and raised. The mushrooms grow quite well in livestock dung. The psilocybin mushroom causes stimulation in the area of the brain humans now call Broca's area (McKenna, 1992). This area is directly responsible for speech production when it is developed (Carlson, 1992). Knowing that our entire ego-structure (and, consequently, mental processes and social rituals) is based on our ability to generate and understand complex language, we see that the sort of stimulation produced by the magic mushroom could be responsible for the development of the earliest language. If this is the case, we owe our entire society to the effects of psychedelic drugs. This theory is borne out by many European creation myths. Many of these myths are parallels of the Christian "Garden of Eden" story. Ignoring certain patriarchal particulars, the story is essentially a tale of the first humans eating a fruit that imparts knowledge. Fruit is a very old word, and has not always been a designator of a particular fleshy type of seed pod. It often simply meant a type of food that is grown and eaten. It is important to note that this gaining of knowledge was seen by Christians as a fall from grace, a separation from God, and the beginning of our earthly miseries. This view was not held by any of the pantheistic cultures which were brutally conquered and subjugated in the name of God by monotheistic crusader religions. Some individuals in our society seem to hold a serious disdain for drugs without any apparent knowledge of why they do so. This makes it easy for these people to fall prey to misinformation. Our federal government is predominantly composed of white male Protestant politicians. Many of these individuals have a serious interest in keeping certain psychoactive plants illegal, mostly for economic considerations. The marijuana plant has been demonstrated to be a superior source of paper, a cleaner burning alternative fuel, the strongest plant fiber on the planet, and the ideal source of long lasting clothing. This makes it the enemy of logging interests, petroleum interests, and petro-chemical interests. In addition, our Protestant political leaders carry the Christian prejudice against psychoactives. This is a powerful array of opponents for the marijuana legalization movement. It insures that the well-financed opponents of marijuana legalization will have adequate funds to misinform the American public. Rehabilitation clinics capitalize on drug horror stories. They cite worst case scenarios as the norm. They provide unsubstantiated information about drugs shown to be harmless when used in moderation. These clinics have provided a means of depriving certain individuals (such as teenagers) of their basic rights. The Partnership for a Drug Free America has even gone so far as to fabricate information to scare the public. The most glaring example of this was the famous "Brainwaves" ad. This ad started with the statement, "This is the brainwave of a normal fourteen year old," showing an electroencephalogram indicating an active brain. Immediately following this was a nearly flat EEG readout, coupled with the statement, "This is the brainwave of a fourteen year old who smokes marijuana." In fact, the second brainwave pattern was taken from a man who was in an accident induced coma (High Times, 1989). "Get the message?" is their catch phrase. The message is clear: our government can find no concrete evidence of significant harms stemming from the use of marijuana, so they scare the public with lies. In fact, no reliable studies have demonstrated any significant harms from smoking marijuana (Brecher, 1990). Many studies have clearly demonstrated that hashish smoke causes serious lung damage (Nahas, 1990), but these studies were conducted on isolated tissue samples, away from the host organism, away from the immunosystem. These samples have no homeostatic mechanisms to remove the caustic tar that is present in hashish. We must also note that hashish is a concentrated form of THC (Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol). Drugs are usually condensed into a more concentrated form such as hashish in order to smuggle them past ports where it is illegal to import the substrate material. In effect, prohibition leads to the development of the more harmful drug concentrates (Hoffman, 1987.) Cocaine hydrochloride is another example. Raw coca leaves have been used for centuries by South American natives of Peru and the surrounding empires. These leaves were too bulky to smuggle past authorities, so cheap methods of making coca paste were devised (Ray and Ksir,1987). The dried paste is easily processed into the white powder we know of as cocaine. Increased enforcement efforts led to the further development of crack, only a few years ago touted as the most dangerous drug of all time. Then the amphetamine concentrate called ice was brought onto the scene, making the rush from crack seem like a No-Doz. All of these concentrated drugs are dangerous to human health, and all are the direct result of misguided attempts to reduce our country's drug problem. By our heavy-handed enforcement tactics, we have created drugs far more dangerous than those we originally sought to prohibit. We can separate the major illegal drugs commonly used in the United States into a few broad categories: opiates, stimulants, cannabinoids, depressants, and psychoactives. The opiates are medical drugs, used to reduce pain. Our own bodies synthesize opioids for use in cases of extreme trauma. These drugs produce euphoria by locking into receptor sites on cell membranes; these receptor sites, when filled with an opiate, prevent the neuron from sending pain impulses to the brain. When overused, these drugs cause the body to produce many more receptors on the membrane surface (Ray and Ksir, 1987). If these receptors are not blocked, the addict is adversely affected. Experienced addicts suffer few impairments when they receive their drug; they are totally dysfunctional without it. Prohibition forces them to endure pain, and gives addicts the undeserved reputation of being unable to function. The media construct of death by heroin overdose is often held high by anti-drug forces, but it does not stand up to close scrutiny. In almost every case, the addicts who reportedly died of heroin overdose were mixing drugs (most common and lethal was the alcohol-heroin combination), had used tainted heroin (which would not happen if drugs were available to addicts), or they had taken far too much and were unable to call for medical assistance (heroin overdose is a slow way to die, and can be neutralized if it is treated). The social stigma around drug use prevents addicts from openly admitting their addiction, and makes them fearful to seek medical aid. This would not occur if addiction was not viewed as a crime. Stimulants include synthetic amphetamines and cocaine. These chemicals cause their effects by blocking re-uptake of neurotransmitters at a pre-synaptic membrane (Carlson, 1992). This means that a cell secretes activation chemicals, but cannot re absorb them in the presence of cocaine or speed. The user feels "wired", full of energy, because his/her cells are receiving massive stimulation. The more concentrated the drug is, the more intense the rush is, and the more damaging the effects are. In worst case scenarios, cardiac arrest will occur from over stimulation and energy depletion. Coca leaves themselves are too weak to cause this effect. Only in concentrated forms, such as injection and crack smoking, is cocaine lethal. Alcohol is the premier depressant. It causes its effects by an overall depression of the central nervous system. When taken with other drugs, the effects of both are enhanced in a geometric progression. Coupled with drug concentrates, alcohol is highly lethal. In fact, even without other drugs, alcohol is surprisingly deadly (Ray and Ksir, 1987). In addition, its depressant effects severely inhibit motor response time, decrease inhibitions of sexuality and violence (often in combination), and cause general emotional depression. Alcohol, the sacrament of the Christian church, is legal. The Cannabinoids and psychedelics are best grouped together. They affect various areas of the brain and central nervous system. The cannabinoids primarily attach to the hippocampus, a structure vital to relational learning, and the cortex and cerebellum (Carlson, 1992). It causes profound changes in mental state, and inhibits motor response time. There are no known cases of overdose. There are no observed harmful effects to the brain (Brecher, 1990). Other psychedelics include LSD (a synthetic), mescaline, DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), and psilocybin. These chemicals enter the central nervous system, act on cells, and are metabolized in the range of fifteen to sixty minutes. The powerful alterations of consciousness caused by these drugs can persist for as long as two days (with powerful LSD). Usually, the "trip" lasts from two to fourteen hours. There is evidence of brain alteration, but not brain damage accompanying usage. The alteration is a result of the strengthening of certain synapses during the drug induced state. These same changes occur when humans learn. If we consider psychedelic effects as brain damage, we must also consider learning as brain damage. Despite current enforcement attitudes against psychedelics, the federal government was quite interested in them in the 1960's. During this time, the C.I.A. carried out the infamous Mk. Ultra experiments (Vankin, 1991). These consisted of dosing civilians and military personnel with various types of untested psychedelics. This was not done in laboratories, but on the streets, without controls. The movie Jacob's Ladder was based on this series of experiments. Many times the agents who dosed the "subjects" forced them to endure distressing stimuli, inducing "bad trips". These formed the core of the LSD myths reported in the media. In controlled circumstances, with a trained guide, "bad trips" are easily managed. Unfortunately, this avenue of psychic exploration is closed to law abiding citizens, despite an utter lack of harms claimed by anti-drug advocates. Those individuals who take adulterated psychedelics can look forward to anything from permanent brain damage (because of "hitchhiker" toxins transported with the psychotropic drugs) to strychnine poisoning (LSD is very similar to strychnine, and is often cut with it by unscrupulous black market dealers.) Every adverse effect claimed to be a result of psychedelic use is actually more properly attributed to contaminated psychedelics, which would not exist if we would legalize and enforce quality control measures. Having reviewed the major illegal drugs of concern in the United States, we will now look at the historical facts behind illegalization in the U.S. The first act toward national criminalization of drugs was the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (Silver, 1979). This set the stage for a national criminalization craze. The original food and drug act stipulated that all patent medicines must label the drugs they contain. In addition, the use of cocaine in soft drinks was specifically prohibited, and prosecution of druggists who dispensed "poisons" to addicts was now legal (Silver, 1979). The first local drug control laws were enacted some 30 years prior to this act, and these were targeted directly at Chinese opium smokers in San Francisco and cocaine-using blacks in the deep south. These discriminatory laws, coupled with the 1906 act set the stage for the intrusive drug controls we see today. A strange zeal to "protect the native races" (who used the drug anyway) (Silver, 1979) initiated "World War on Opium Traffic" in Shanghai in 1909, which, in turn, led to the Hague Convention of 1912. These measures did not reduce production as was hoped. Instead, it gave the United States an excuse in the form of international treaty to implement the Harrison Act of 1914. This act was the basis of modern drug regulation. It forbade the use of opium and cocaine for any reason other than medical. It was now impossible for doctors to prescribe drugs to addicts, which forced the addicts to turn to other sources, namely, a now booming black market. This market did not, indeed could not, exist prior to criminalization. "America soon consumed ten times more dope than any other country," (Silver, 1979). To combat this problem, the Jones Miller Act (1922) established a Narcotics Control Board, and mandated five year sentences for illegal drug dealers. It is noteworthy that in England, the Dangerous Drugs act of 1920 authorized physicians to give their choice of treatment (usually maintenance levels of the addict's drug). The black market there remained negligible. Meanwhile, the United States government was busy blaming England and Japan for America's drug problems. The League of Nations debated the issue, and implemented rigid treaties regulating world drug production to amounts required for medical purposes. These were ratified in 1933, and illicit drug trafficking immediately skyrocketed (Silver, 1979). The men behind the policies were also quite interesting. The son of Col. Levi Nutt, the chief of the U.S. drug police force, was payrolled by Arnold Rothstein, a prominent drug smuggler supplying 85% of all narcotics in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood. Several agents were also charged with "corruption, incompetence, and willful neglect of duty." This resulted in the formation of a new drug bureau, headed by Harry J. Anslinger, who would control drug regulation in the U.S. for thirty years (Silver, 1979). Now, we must follow the words of Gary Silver, in his book The Dope Chronicles. He presents the incredible story in a very succinct fashion. Silver points out that it was sometimes difficult to tell the government agents from the "vicious criminals" they were supposed to apprehend. Police inflated dope prices and seizure amount figures, releasing estimates of confiscation, but not showing anyone any evidence. The narcotics agents' bloodthirsty tactics drew little public attention, as they draw little attention now. In Silver's words: "The Fanatic Dry Killers of prohibition had their counterpart in Killer Narks, who drew less public loathing because they operated mostly in ghettos far from the fashionable speaks. No statistics as there were for dry killings, only anonymous droplets of blood awash in a sea of crime: here a cop kills a vendor, there a drug runner dies, here a "boy shot as police chase dope peddler," there an innocent woman beaten by narks." Silver then goes on to specify city by city instances of graft: "California: State agents confess being ringleaders of a dope racket, taking protection money and then selling prisoners back the dope seized...Chicago: "Federal narcotics agents in every big city in the United States are involved in a gigantic 'dope' traffic."(Silver, 1979). Its funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Racism has always been a key factor in marijuana legislation and enforcement. Most of the articles culled from the 1920's and 30's were filled with cases of "black men" taking "liberties" with "white girls" whom they had intoxicated with the Devil's weed. This tactic seems rather transparent today. Yet, when we see drug dealers portrayed in the media, they are most often black or Hispanic. In particular, Mexicans have been targeted. This has something to do with the fact that Mexico grows some of the best marijuana in North America, but it seems to have even more to do with prejudices and jealousies toward Mexican migrant workers (Abel, 1980). It was even claimed that Mexicans became "very violent, especially when they become angry and will attack an officer even if a gun is drawn on him...I have also noted that when under the influence of this weed they have enormous strength and that it will take several men to handle one man while under ordinary circumstances one man could handle him with ease." (Bonnie and Whitebread, cited by Abel, 1980). The myth of marijuana-induced violence has often been perpetuated by the media. This claim has no support. Marijuana has been demonstrated again and again to be relaxing and pacifying, Yet, stories of axe murders by reefer smokers were common in the 1930's, adding fuel to the governmental anti-drug fever. In truth, a very disturbed young man named Victor Licata went berserk and belabored his mother, his father, two brothers and a sister. The boy was a marijuana user, and this was seized upon as evidence of marijuana induced violence. There was no indication that the boy was intoxicated at the time of the murder (Abel, 1980). One could just as easily attribute the crime to "something in the water". The government has been involved with drug regulation for the better part of this century. It has also been involved in drug importation. There has been a persistent rumor about C.I.A. involvement in the various drug trades. The C.I.A. was supportive of the contras in Nicaragua, and there is a good deal of evidence to link the C.I.A. with illegal drug trafficking (Beirne and Messerschmidt, 1991). The evidence clearly demonstrates affiliations with known drug traffickers despite Executive claims of zero-tolerance policies toward drugs. Intelligence agencies see a ready source of funding for illegal covert operations in drugs: "The U.S. Government's Mafia and narcotics connection goes back, as is well known, to World War II. Two controversial joint operations between OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and ONI (U.S. Naval Intelligence) established contacts (via Lucky Luciano) with the Sicillian Mafia and (via Tai Li) with the dope-dealing Green Gang of Tu Yueh Sheng in Shanghai. Both connection were extended into the post-war period."(Kruger 1980, cited in McKenna, 1992). Even more suspect is the tendency of the "problem drug" of the United States to follow the area of covert operations of the C.I.A. In the 1950's-1970's, the problem drug was heroin; the U.S. was involved in the "Golden Triangle" at the time. In the 1980's, C.I.A. operations turned to Central and South America; the problem drug of the U.S. became cocaine. As the U.S. intensifies its presence in the Middle East, we see a resurgence of marijuana and heroin as the problem drugs. The Middle East has long been considered a mecca of marijuana and hashish production, and the "Golden Crescent" area in Afghanistan has increased its output of heroin to large levels, particularly in areas controlled by the U.S. backed Mujahideen. The correlation is clear and disturbing. When we also consider that President Bush is an ex-C.I.A. director, how can we do anything but doubt his sincerity about his "War on Drugs"? This "war" was originally meant to be a metaphor for a concentrated attempt to cut down on drug related crime in the U.S. It has come to resemble an actual war on the drug using population of America. The F.B.I. and the D.E.A. are armed with state of the art infra-red sensors and film, super listening devices, surveillance equipment used for illegal eavesdropping on suspects, wire-taps, automatic weapons, and questionable powers of confiscation and detention. These technological and legal advantages undermine the fundamental rights guaranteed to each U.S. citizen by the Constitution. The "war on drugs" has become a brutal assault on the rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens. The naive person would ask, "If you aren't breaking the law, what are you worried about?" The formidable arsenal of powers now at the disposal of the police is enough to chill the blood of the staunchest anti-drug advocate. Currently, police have the power to confiscate any property used in drug related offense, regardless of whether the property's owner was involved. In order to retrieve the property, a deposit of not less than one tenth the value of the property must be paid, and this is still no guarantee of the property's return. What this amounts to is holding property responsible for criminal acts. The Constitution grants the people the right to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure, but this does not prevent the injustices which have occurred of late. For further information on this issue, I would recommend the April 5 episode of 60 Minutes news magazine, on CBS. Time constraints did not allow time for ordering a transcript. The second most frightening power is the power of arrest on suspicion because a suspect matches a "drug courier profile". Conveniently, this profile is general enough to include anyone a police officer might choose to scrutinize. The profile simultaneously includes such traits as "walks too slow", "walks too fast", "walks nervously", "appears calm"...The list goes on. Even more frightening, police may now pay employees of service companies such as busses or airlines to point out individuals who carry large sums of cash and little luggage, or who match any other aspect of the profile. This power coupled with the ability to detain suspects for 48 hours without charges is very likely to be abused. Further, the police power to use evidence obtained by an illegal search (provided the evidence does not relate to the specific case being investigated when the search occurred) leaves citizens open to search, arrest, detention and prosecution for any violation (such as carrying a weapon of self defense, found by police during a drug frisk) without any probable cause other than fitting an ultra-general drug courier profile. It is clear that the federal government has loosed the dogs of oppression on its controllers, the American people. Further, these acts of oppression have been committed under the guise of protecting the U.S. from drugs. The truly obscene thing about this is that it is that selfsame war on drugs that is directly responsible for the social harms cited as effects of drug use. Crime rates have skyrocketed as drug enforcement has increased. Our prisons are stuffed to overflow capacity with people whose only crime was to have a few joints on them. Dealers are now so paranoid of arrest that they are more likely to kill potential buyers for fear of the buyers being drug agents in disguise. A member of our group had personal experience with a nark encouraging him to use cocaine, even though the member refused. This nark later tried to justify his drug use and dealing as an "attempt to blend into the drug using community." That particular nark brought more drugs into that county than any of the dealers who lived there ever considered bringing in. Individuals not trained in law enforcement are now being used as Judas goats to net small time users and dealers, while avoiding the entrapment charges which would apply to police officers in the same situation. Entrapment is common. Abuses are legion. And all are committed in the name of drug law enforcement. Accounts of overzealous officers harming terminally ill people are now becoming increasingly more common. The therapeutic properties of marijuana are well known (even though the DEA refuses to acknowledge this fact, and continues to classify it as a schedule one substance ), and chronic pain sufferers and chemotherapy patients sometimes turn to it to relieve their pain and nausea, despite the law. These people are not in any condition to go on a spree of violence, as some individuals ignorantly believe occurs when a person uses drugs. They are otherwise law-abiding citizens. Yet, police have broken down doors, thrown suffering people to the ground, and confiscated the few possessions owned by some unfortunates. Their health related expenses insure that they will not be able to recover their property. Any law enforcement body that strikes out so savagely at such a harmless portion of the population is in need of some serious review of priorities. This sort of action is the legacy of drug criminalization. Two distinct cases of abuses illustrate the patent lunacy of supporting continued draconian ant-drug efforts. The Chicago Sun Times reports on the DEA bust of a major Chicago dope ring. "Among the 19 people arrested...were a sergeant with 26 years on the Chicago police force, and a patrolman with 35 years." (High Times, 1989). The second case comes to us from Los Angeles: "Charged with vandalizing homes and terrorizing citizens during a 1988 drug raid, nine Los Angeles cops have been ordered to appear before LAPD board of rights tribunals. The nine face long suspensions or job termination; 25 others have been suspended without pay." (High Times, 1989). It seems that the officers raided a poverty stricken Southwest LA neighborhood, smashing down walls, windows, and plumbing fixtures. They also spray-painted anti-gang messages on the walls of private citizens' property! Of 30 people taken into custody, 9 were arrested. The people filed a lawsuit, which is what prompted the action against the police. In addition to the above crimes, the officers also forced some of those arrested to whistle the theme song to the Andy Griffith Show; those who refused were punched and beaten with metal flashlights. These are not the most shocking cases. These are what are reported. If these people could not have hired a lawyer, no action would have been taken against the police, and the whole episode would never have come to public attention. How many cases like these are occurring in the U.S.? It seems that the spirit of the Gestapo lives on in American anti-drug laws. It is quite clear that we must restrict the police and drug enforcement agencies. Regardless of whether one feels that drug use is right or wrong, this much is clear: the war on drugs has exploded into a government supported destruction of our rights as citizens. The biggest victim of the war on drugs is the truth. The hysteria which has been whipped up by this campaign of anti-drug propaganda has the American people terrorized into standing idly by while our government lies to us and imprisons our free thinkers for daring to speak out. Some government officials have used drugs, especially marijuana, as the universal scapegoat for all evils of our time. There was even one U.S. Senator who attempted to blame the My Lai Massacre on marijuana use (Grinspoon, 1987.) Anyone who doubts that our government lies to us about drug arrests needs only to sit down with a piece of paper and figure it up:....."Every six months or so, the DEA and the media parade a new and more powerful kingpin. Even more regularly, some prosecutor in our country holds a press conference announcing another "largest drug bust on record." If any serious statistician or investigative journalist used his brain and a calculator, it could be easily "proved" that over the past four years, we have eliminated more than 400 per cent of the drug supply for all users in America. In other words, capturing a "kingpin responsible for 80 per cent of the cocaine" or making the "largest drug bust in history," or adding bigger numbers to the body count (arrests) may be nothing more than propaganda ploys to justify the expense of the war on drugs. Ironically, after all the DEA's "successes," the problem keeps getting worse and worse." (Hoffman, 87.) Hoffman also states, "Using this economic system (DEA drug value estimates), I can prove that a car you bought for $10,000 is actually worth $500,000." (Hoffman,87.) If we are truly a democratic, free society, why must our government misinform the people of America? A lie cannot stand up to the piercing light of truth but if the light is never allowed to shine the darkness will continue to cloak us all with confusion and paranoia. Our government should not be afraid to tell us the truth unless it had something to hide. It cannot be denied that drugs do cause certain health harms. These are often exaggerated by the experimenters who report their findings to the federal government. After all, why would the government give grants to researchers whose findings contradict the official position? What we must consider is not the absolutist position of "any health harms are grounds for illegalization," but the comparative advantages to be obtained by legalizing certain drugs. Most opponents of drug legalization claim drug use is abhorrent because it alters consciousness. The claim that drug use is immoral cannot be borne out empirically. Both of these arguments assume one fundamental assertion that is basically untrue: the assumption that the human body exists in a "pure" state which should not be defiled. Our bodies constantly change, incorporating whatever materials exist in our environment as a part of themselves. If we ingest a good deal of selenium, we will have a higher concentration in our bodies. If we snort cocaine, we will have a higher concentration of cocaine hydrochloride metabolites in our bodies. This is neither a good nor a bad thing, it is simply a state of being. Our state of consciousness is not a stable, enduring thing. It is a pattern of highs and lows in electrical and chemical activity, directly related to brain composition and dietary intake (Carlson, 1992). To say that one mental state is any more or less moral than any other is simply a matter of personal opinion. Drug use is not an act of evil, it is a behavior, much like sleep (Carlson, 1992). Neither of these behaviors is necessary for a healthy person, but they are patterns of behavior which people fall into, and when that behavior is interrupted, it takes time for a body to compensate. This is why people feel edgy or angry when they have not slept. If we are to condemn drug use as something that distinguishes the good from the bad, where do we draw the line? Are non-sleepers inherently more moral than sleepers? Should we imprison those who sleep and force them to stay awake? And whom should we blame if one of these sleepers becomes deranged because he is not allowed to sleep and lashes out, killing someone who kept him awake? If we argue that the consciousness altering effects of drugs are what makes them immoral, what about sugar? It gives you a charge of energy, stimulating the brain. What about sleep? It depresses the normal conscious brainwave pattern, and introduces two totally new types of brainwaves. How about television? It alters consciousness, and it distorts peoples' views of the real world in a far more long-term manner than any chemical (McKenna, 1992). Television addicts may not even be aware that their electronic fix has them in its iron grip. So what's next? Do we imprison television viewers for immorally altering their consciousness? Or do we imprison those who don't watch television? These examples are not ridiculous. They are directly analogous to the claims of anti-drug activists. They illustrate how weak the rationale is, and how repressive this sort of legislation can become. Let's go back over the facts. Drugs have some minor health harms in their natural substrate forms, but the harms usually cited are results from concentrated drug distillates (which would not be in demand if the substrates were legal). Drugs do induce changes in consciousness, but these are no different than those caused by dietary and environmental stressors. The concept of a gateway drug is nothing more than a cover-up theory for the fact that increased enforcement limits supply, forcing addicts to ease their craving with whatever can be found. Bad trips and psychotic episodes are the results of adverse stimuli, such as paranoia, which is induced because the drug is illegal and the user fears arrest. The violence often claimed as a "natural by-product of drug use" is actually the unnatural product of profit hungry profiteers fleecing the drug using public of money. If you only need two dollars to buy your fix, you have a lot more options of where to get the money than if you need fifty dollars; your options are limited to the criminal unless you are wealthy. The poor are beaten and abused by police, their scant possessions confiscated or destroyed by authority-crazed zealots. Our city streets are a war zone, with armed engagements between gangs and police. The motive is drug profit. Rehabilitation centers, which amount to little more than sanitarium style behavior modification, also seek to cull profits from drug users who are arrested and forced to pay for treatment. Once again, profit is the motive. Inexpensive hemp products are not widely available (due to marijuana's illegal status) so the American public is forced to buy ecologically damaging synthetic fiber clothing, forest-annihilating paper products, and greenhouse effect inducing petroleum fuel. Once again, the oil and lumber corporations reap huge profits while destroying the planet, when legalized hemp would be much cheaper and ecologically sound. We see profit as motive on all counts, except police action: there, we see control of the American people as the motive. With legalization, the black market would cease to exist (Kleiman, 1989). Gangs who thrive on the drug trade will either be out of business, or they will be forced to switch to less profitable activities. Either way, they lose money, and without money, they cannot afford their weapons of terror. With legalization, the money currently being wasted on a losing battle against drugs can be applied to education. An educated society can make informed, responsible decisions about whether or not to use drugs. Since natural substrates are cheap to produce (after all, marijuana is a weed, mushrooms grow where there is cow dung and water, and coca can be cultivated relatively inexpensively), prices could be regulated by a government agency which would keep them affordable. The addicts would not have to commit crimes to support their habits. Some maintain that legal drugs would make everybody into a drug addict. First, I would ask the "coffee generation" and the "TV. generation" what they think they are now, and secondly I contend that usage will in general not change. There will be an increase in new users, but some users who take drugs to demonstrate their rebelliousness would lose the incentive to use. Also, with increased education, it seems unlikely that people would use the highly addictive drugs which keep people using. In addition, legal drugs would not be adulterated or contaminated. Purity of product will improve the health of the drug user. This will, consequently, improve the overall public health. Legalization will also help the people to rein in the runaway enforcement arms of our government, removing their justification for the erosion of our rights. Unnecessary surveillance currently justified as drug preventative will require proper justification. The public will not have to live in fear of matching a drug-courier profile. They will not have to forfeit their hard earned property because they were caught using a drug. Illegal funding of covert operations will become increasingly more difficult for our intelligence agencies, perhaps helping to reshape the currently anti-American attitudes which are becoming alarmingly more prevalent around the world. The Gestapo tactics currently being employed under the banner of the drug war will either stop, or be exposed as the vicious assaults on basic liberties that they truly are. We do not seek to legalize all drugs. Only those which have been shown to be relatively harmless will be legalized. The substrate plants will be totally legal to grow or purchase. It is recommended that sale of drugs by unlicensed individuals remain illegal, with penalties being restitution to the licensed dealers of the area. Physicians and psychiatrists will be able to prescribe any drugs shown to be relatively harm-free, including recreational psychedelics, if they feel the prescription is warranted. Expanded educational programs will make people more aware of the factual behavioral and pharmacological effects of drugs, allowing for informed decisions on use. We do not advocate drug use for children, although this will undoubtedly occur. We do not seek to wipe out drug use or addiction. This is an impossible goal. We seek to protect the American people from a government of out of control power fiends, as addicted to control as any heroin addict. The difference is that the heroin addict harms only himself. Power addicts in political positions get their "high" by oppressing the American people, the very group who elected them, the very group to which they have sworn loyalty. The choice is clear: legalize now and damn the minor health harms, or let our country continue its slide into a totalitarian police state. -anonymous -- - dudley is -


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