Sunday, August 7, 2011

American Drug War: 'Prop 5: Do Sick People Deserve Drug Treatment or Jail Time?'

Source:American Drug War- One of the inmates interviewed for this documentary.

"Proposition 5 will cut state costs. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst estimates those savings at $2.5 billion or more. Prop. 5 safely eases prison overcrowding by investing in drug treatment - which costs much less than prison - for youth and nonviolent offenders. Prop. 5 provides treatment with strict accountability.

Prop. 5 is supported by the League of Women Voters of California, Consumer Federation of California, California Nurses Association, California Society of Addiction Medicine, California Federation of Teachers - and many others.

Prop. 5 is opposed by the state prison guards' union, which has contributed almost $2 million for deceptive TV ads. Prison guards benefit from prison overcrowding and new prison building, but California loses.

This video has been brought to you by:American Drug War and Drug War Coalition." 

Whatever your view on drug criminalization or the broader so-called War on Drugs and you are sensible, you probably agree that the so-called War on Drugs that was started forty years ago isn't working and has even failed, all you have to do is look at the facts. 

Today in 2011 we have more drug offenders per capita if you take in consideration that are population has 100M people or more in 2011 than in 1971. Narcotics are available more today than they were in 1971, we now have 2M people in prison today, with hundreds of thousands of those inmates being in prison for drug use or drug possession. As well as a lot of these drug offenders being addicts or severe addicts and do their time in prison as addicts and if anything their condition gets worse. And they get new charges in prison for drug related offenses, even though they aren't a threat to anyone. 

Now possessing or selling drugs in prison, is obviously a serious offense that has to be appropriately dealt with. But addicts feeding their habit is not a threat to anyone other than themselves. And if they just had gotten help for their drug addiction instead of punishment, they probably wouldn't be in prison in the first place and taking up space for a dangerous offenders who needs to be there in prison for the good of society. 

Richard Nixon did a lot of bad things as President, most of them relating to his character and paranoia, like the illegal wiretapping and the Watergate coverup (to use as examples) but the worst thing he did as President as far as policy, was launching the so-called War on Drugs and treating drug addicts and drug dealers as equals throwing them both in prison and forty years later and a couple trillion dollars later, we've paid a heavy price for it, money that could've been used on a lot of other things, like getting people off of narcotics and helping them with their addiction. 

Prison has a place for drug dealers, people who sell cocaine, heroin, and meth. Law enforcement can play a big role here in getting drug dealers off the street and keeping those three narcotics out of the country in the first place. 

The good news is we have a lot of positive alternatives to the traditional so-called War on Drugs that has failed, its hard to find anyone anymore who's credible who'll say the traditional so-called War on Drugs has been a success. If you want drug addicts off of narcotics indefinitely, you do that by collapsing the narcotics market. This is where law enforcement can actually play a positive role by getting heroin, cocaine and meth dealers off the street and into prison. 

We should be working with our North American allies to keep these narcotics out of the country in the first place. Then you get drug addicts off of narcotics and help them with their addiction with drug rehab and send them to drug rehab. As well as transferring non-violent drug addicts who are just in prison for drug use and have good prison records, to drug rehab instead of prison. 

The drug addicts would pay for their drug addiction, not tax payers so this program would pay for itself. And once they've successfully complete their drug rehab, get them into halfway houses to help them back on their feet and independent. 

We have now forty years of experience to know what not to do in the so-called War on Drugs. Someone intelligent once said the definition of insanity, is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Which is exactly why our so-called War on Drugs is insane and has failed and why need to bring sanity to this issue. And why it's time for a different approach.

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