Archive for Obama

Deciphering the War on Drugs

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , on October 13, 2010 by corecompany

I was in a hotel room in Canada recently. Mercifully, I found an old movie to watch amongst the bizarre Canadian programming. The movie was from 1972 and was adapted from a Joseph Wambaugh novel, “The New Centurions” starring George C. Scott as an LAPD police officer who develops his own brand of justice, which is a mixed bag, but he defends the rights of the immigrants and protects them from an exploitive slum lord.  The character argues that they do jobs nobody else is willing to do and they are humans seeking a better life for their children (what is a more American value than that?).  It struck me that the film was almost as old as I am and yet we have the same arguments today as we did then, it’s a forty-year argument, other than most marriages, who has a forty-year argument?

I have wondered about how the drug war is connected to the immigration problems we face. It must be, the border towns are bloodbaths, more people killed there than in Iraq (I swear, check it out). If we had a stable regulated drug trade would we have immigration problems? Yes. If we had a tax and regulate system of decriminalized free choice intoxicant would we have more secure boarders? Yes.

President Obama just signed a $600 million bill for border security. I am a huge Obama fan and am hesitant to be critical, but, is this  time to pander to the right?  Not to mention, I thought the Obama administration ended the “war” on drugs? They said they did, they said they wanted to change the language of it, move more toward the treatment and prevention. Did I miss the $600 million for treatment bill? Must have skipped CNN that day or maybe I was in Canada?

Am I crazy or is this thinly veiled funding for the war on drugs? Call it what you want, but I think if there are more people killed in an effort than the war on terror, it’s a war too. There is clear and present danger along the border of the US and Mexico and it’s not all housekeepers sneaking across, its drug traffic.

Lets enter Joe’s fantasy world and decriminalize Marijuana, tax it ( how a $40 billion industry doesn’t pay taxes I will never know), regulate it, sell it at 7-11. The violence along the border is greatly reduced, money is made instead of spent and we help the immigration problem. Oh, and some people get really high, giggle at comedy central and eat twinkies and chips.  How is this a choice? People shot and killed or people high, stupid, and complacent? I really don’t get it and I am fairly irritated with the President for not taking a bolder step with this. I am sure he will be really worried when he hears about how upset I am. I say it frequently. Humans like to get high, they like intoxication, no amount of money will change that.

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Needle Exchange Programs Reduce Collateral Damage of Addiction!

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2009 by corecompany

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Since 1988 the federal government has prohibited funding for needle exchange programs. Why? I’m not really sure. There is overwhelming evidence to support that needle exchange programs reduce collateral damage of addiction, most notably HIV and Hep C. People become addicted to heroin through a complicated system of genetics plus environment, does anyone really believe it has anything to do with a needle? This is a weird co-dependant policy. Control addiction by limiting needles?  One would think that republicans, who allege to be opposed to big wasteful government, would support needle exchanges. Wouldn’t needle distribution be way less money than health care for new cases of HIV and Hep C?

            Congress voted to repeal this policy but with restrictions that would prohibit distribution within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, etc. So places like New York City, Chicago, and other high concentration areas would have a difficult time distributing clean needles. So what’s the point of funding clean needles if nobody can get them? I am not sure what is allowed for mobile units to distribute needles. That would make sense. A truck at Washington Square Park giving out clean needles. How about along with your needle they give information to local 12 step meetings, treatment options (none if you’re poor, but 12 step meetings are free).

            Some people will always shoot dope; it’s just a fact. A sad fact of a complicated disease.  Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas) says, “Drug Users are dependant on a lifestyle that only leads to destruction, and I personally don’t want to be part of that destruction”. What an arrogant, judgmental moron.  Although I agree, I don’t want to be a part of their destruction either, which is why I think being a slave to heroin is bad enough without compounding it with HIV or Hep C.

            Ok Obama, where is the change on this one?

Gil Kerlikowske Heading to Brooklyn?

Posted in Current Events, Drug Reform with tags , , , , on May 25, 2009 by corecompany

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Gil Kerlikowske, in a statement outlining goals of the Office of National Drug Control Policy clearly states, “The Obama administration understands that addiction is a disease”…………..Wait a minute……Did I relapse? Did someone slip me some acid? Did I really just read that?

            After decades of fighting an unwinnable war on a health crisis it seems as though the Obama administration is establishing a foothold for substantial change. The document goes on to outline addiction as a “complex biological and psychological disorder”.  Gil (I like to call him Gil because I feel as though we’ll be friends) outlines a plan to blend treatment, prevention, and law enforcement. This seems to make sense. Gil clearly states, “This does not mean that law enforcement does not play a role”. Ok, I can accept that, especially if it plays a smaller role and is not the “solution”.

            I am imagining that with all of the demands of a new position, Gil doesn’t have time to read my blog ,but on the off chance he does, I want to invite him to Loft 107 for a discussion.  An open forum with families, addicts, treatment providers, and ok, a few cops. Come hear our view Gil, Brooklyn style!

Co Dependent Nation!

Posted in Drug Reform with tags , , , , on February 22, 2009 by corecompany

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“The available evidence indicates that the war on drugs is a failed war”, so says Former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardosa. Latin America has grown weary of a failed drug policy and endless violence.  In reading the perspective of Latin America, it’s remarkable how they play the addict to the co-dependant of the US. Just like a sanctimonious co dependant, the U.S. blames the Columbians and other nations for producing the products. Meanwhile we are the consumers. They have to be selling it to someone!!  

The dance of the addict and co dependant is a difficult one to unravel. Co dependants don’t see that they are as sick as the addict, often sicker and so they try to control consumption by controlling availability and blaming. How many of us are guilty of flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing away bottles? This can be done forever and yet the addict will drink and use again. It’s a similar dance with U.S. and Latin America. We say to Columbia “Wouldn’t you rather grow chili peppers or flowers?” but we keep snorting coke and we blame the Columbians? We tell scrub farmers trying to feed their families not to grow the most lucrative product, coca. Coca is deeply ingrained in their culture, contains only trace amounts of cocaine, and is believed to have medicinal purposes. It’s like tea to the English. How far would that go in London?” You have to stop tea production because we don’t like it in America”.  What a mess. What an arrogant, entitled, way to deal with a problem; blaming. with no reflection into our contribution to the problem.  Where is the discourse, the collaboration?

Obama has a unique opportunity to shift this paradigm. He could tariff and regulate products that the American people want and consume. Create a whole new tax base and funding for all kinds of health and human service programs. So what if people want to get high? Who are we to tell them not to? What would be so terrible if you could buy weed at 7-11? What if we did work closely with the Latin American governments and drafted policy that made sense for all Americans, north and south?