Saturday, May 19, 2007

Street smart narcs

Today, I went to my town's annual Pride Day (an event at which people of all ages wander aimlessly and get free candy from various organizations' or businesses' tables). At the police department's table, they were handing out propaganda. I saw my old DARE officer and greeted him. He appeared to have no idea who in the wide wide world of sports I was. My inner fifth grader felt a little hurt. Rule #1 for public outreach: remember who you're reaching out to. Geez, and I'd looked up to that asshole.

Anyway, they had a couple of pamphlets about drugs. The following is entitled "Street Smart Drug Dictionary."

Among the helpful definitions contained in the pamphlet are:

bong: A large pipe used for smoking drugs.
hit: Crack or marijuana cigarrete to be smoked.
o.z.: One ounce of a drug substance.
pipe: Instrument used to smoke cocaine or other substances.
reefer: Marijuana - also called grass, weed, dope, ganja and Mary Jane.
shrooms: Psilocybin/Psilocyn mushrooms (sold frozen, fresh, or dried)
spliff: Large marijuana cigarette.
tweaking: To be in a state of drug paranoia.
wigging: Odd behavior resulting from the use of mind-altering drugs.

First of all, "Honey, are you tweaking right now?"
"... I'm sorry?"
"You know. Wigging."
"Uhh... Mom, are you on drugs?"

Second, if you can't figure out what is meant by the terms "o.z.", "pipe", and "shrooms", perhaps detective work is not for you.

Third, even if these definitions were 100% accurate, up-to-date, and informative, I don't see the community becoming safer when a bunch of soccer moms know what "dope fiend" means (dope fiend: A person who is drug dependent, according to the pamphlet). I see a rift forming between children and their parents/law enforcement due to distrust and suspicion. Maybe some mutual disrespect developing in response to the parents' initial disrespect. For the few kids who decide to take the pamphlet's advice, I don't envy their unpopularity after they report one or more of their peers.

But that's just my humble opinion, Officer... I'm sorry, what's your name again?

Tomorrow's featured pamphlet: Tell Your Children!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


In the throes of frantically cramming for finals and painfully ignoring all mentions of drug policy in the news, I couldn't ignore this article from the NY Times. There are some important things we should learn from this:

1. Money from the illegal drug trade goes to criminals. Oh wait, we knew that. Mr. Balbo, that is kindergarten.
2. More specifically, the Taliban actually has the nerve to use drug profits for terrorist activities! Indeed, terrorists are the kind of people to get involved in high risk, illegal markets to fund expensive criminal operations. Wow. The government is finally catching on.
3. So, clearly, the United States should approach the "drug problem" in Afghanistan with a repeat performance of their involvement in Colombia.
a. Training people to use weapons and destroy property that accounts for 40-50% of Afghanistan's GDP is the best way to bring peace and stability to a region. Rest assured, the continued war, corruption, and poverty in Colombia is merely a coincidence.
b. Oh yes, didn't you hear that Afghanistan and Colombia have drug problems? Growing poppies and coca is a drug problem. These people are addicted to profitable land use, and it needs to stop. United States to the rescue.
4. "Drug wars are long, and there are no quick solutions." Yeah, I'll say. I can't wait 'til we win. How much longer 'til the end of forever? How many more victims across how many more borders for how much more money? This is getting old.

Read for yourself and see what parallels you can draw between history and moronically repeated history. There are lots. There's also a lot of interesting information about how the drug trade goes down in Afghanistan and about the zany ideas intended to stop the madness (naturally everything but what makes sense). Most interesting is the fact that our generation is going to have to deal with the legacy (read: the messes) our government leaves in developing countries as it plays a perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole* trying to eradicate the supply of illegal drugs. Nothing justifies terrorist attacks, but giving them more reasons to be pissed off at the United States certainly won't help us in the future. We will be held accountable for what our government is doing now, not our crazy predecessors who are actually responsible. Meanwhile, we'll still have the same problems to deal with at home.

... I think I'll go drown my sorrows in biology notes.

*Thank you, Sanho Tree, for the analogy. You too can learn awesome Drug War analogies when you attend the next SSDP International Conference.