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|Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:37 am Post subject: Mothers Against the Drug Czar’s War on Kids
|Mothers Against the Drug Czar’s War on Kids
Joy Strickland: Drug laws fertilize teen violence
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, July 18, 2008
Joy Strickland is CEO of the local chapter of Mothers Against Teen Violence and may be reached through matvinc
As an advocate in the crusade to prevent teen violence, my starting point is that every child deserves a safe and supportive home, school and community. Prevention strategies such as mentoring and conflict resolution – not to mention personal responsibility – are key pieces of the strategies of Mothers Against Teen Violence and other groups committed to preventing violence in our communities.
But those pieces are only part of the solution and must be balanced and supported by a rational and effective national drug policy.
Enacted during the Nixon administration, the so-called war on drugs was designed to reduce supply and diminish demand for certain substances deemed harmful or undesirable. But the drug war has never met this objective, and unintended consequences have undermined the health and safety of our citizens, especially our children.
I will never forget 9-year-old Cory Weems, who was killed by a stray bullet in 1994 while having ice cream on his grandmother's front porch in Dallas. A drug dealer engaged in a car chase was convicted of this crime. Cory's picture hangs on my office wall, a reminder of one of the drug war's victims.
Or consider that despite billions spent annually toward arresting and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people for marijuana offenses, high school students continue to find marijuana easy to obtain.
By some estimates, as many as 250,000 people die every year from the proper use of prescription drugs. On the other hand, I am not aware of one single death directly caused by marijuana. Yet we pay $25,000 per year to send a drug user to prison, where he will likely have access to the same drugs for which he has been incarcerated.
If we can't keep drugs out of prisons, it is irrational to expect that we can keep them off our streets. It is equally irrational to lock up an individual because of what he chooses to put in his own body.
Drug addiction is not a moral issue. It is a medical problem requiring medical intervention. But if news reports are any indication, it is easy to believe that the rich and famous go to rehab while the poor go to jail. This disparity is the real moral issue.
The drug war keeps prices for the targeted substances artificially high, assuring that drug trafficking remains an incredibly profitable venture. The fantastic sums of money flowing from illegal drug sales have caused elected officials, police officers and prison guards – just to name a few – to fall prey to drug trafficking.
I have never used illegal drugs, nor do I advocate their use. But I believe the time has come for a change because our drug laws have failed us. The substances targeted by the drug war need to be decriminalized and controlled.
Those concerned about the message decriminalization would send to our children would do well to consider the message we are sending by continuing the status quo.
We don't want our children to face the same powerful temptations that many adults in authority have been powerless to resist. Instead, we want to remove the fantastic financial incentives to sell these substances to our children or recruit them into drug trafficking.
We don't want our children to die as innocent victims of turf wars and gang violence. We want all nonviolent drug abusers, regardless of class or race, to have access to rehabilitation.
And finally, we don't want our tax dollars spent enforcing ineffectual policies that undermine faith in our nation's laws.
Joy Strickland is CEO of the local chapter of Mothers Against Teen Violence
"There are no long lasting ill-effects from the acute use of marijuana and no fatalities have ever been recorded ... there seems to be growing agreement within the medical community, at least, that marijuana does not directly cause criminal behaviour, juvenile delinquency, sexual excitement, or addiction."
-- Dr J. H. Jaffe,
The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics.
L.Goodman and A Gillman, 3rd edn. 1965
MAMA formed in 1982 to address the multifaceted issues of substance use, misuse and abuse.
MAMA's approach is based on Personal Responsibility, and Informed Decision Making, with Respect for Human Dignity
No matter what anyone tells you, YOU decide if, and how, you will take a drug, and YOU will live with the effects of that decision.
Informed Decision Making
Learn where to get accurate information and how to evaluate the risks & benefits of a decision.
Respect for Human Dignity
Respect people's differences by offering education and help, rather then alienating them with punitive laws.
Dare has stranglehold on Drug education!
Communities should have alternatives to using the DARE program, becuause of it's ineffectiveness. There are other programs out there infinitely more effective, but DARE has a stranglehold on drug education. DARE has, you stated contributed to increased drug use, and should be replaced with a more effective program. DARE gets some of it's funding from Pharmaceutical companies.
When the crime is so minor, having marijuana, and the punishment is so unreasonable, taking people's homes and years of their lives, as well as a very real Twentieth century shunning, one is forced to look for deeper motives. I have come to believe that it is not the proscription of a substance but the systematic oppression of a certain kind of people. There have been a whole series of decisions made, on local, state and federal levels, to the effect that hippies, by which is meant any committed liberal persons, are undesireable and are to be banned, interdicted, harrassed, discouraged, arrested and pee-tested. It is a blatant use of police power to frighten and intimidate millions of people into giving up a heartfelt spiritual practice and lifestyle.
There are probably 25 million marijuana smokers in the United States alone, as well as millions more who if not smokers now, are still sentimental about it. The oppression to which I refer is for the purpose of keeping these millions of people off balance to minimize their political power. All those 500,000 pot smokers doing time are out of the political process, present but not able to vote. The urine test is the loyalty oath of the Nineties. The hippies are this season's Jews, this season's Reds...
Who are these people? We are the yeast that makes the dough rise. And it's not just us, there's been people like us for centuries. Before there were hippies, there were beatniks, before there beatniks, there were bohemians. The European counterculture ran away from Nazî Germany. They brought hundreds of thousands of artists and musicians and writers into this country. Before that there were people like George Bernard Shaw and Voltaire and all the way back to Socrates. There have always been that fraction of people who have said, "I want to see the truth."
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I will have no intellectual training.
Knowledge is ruin for my young men."
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