Friday, May 14, 2010

AP Slams the Drug War

The Associated Press has hit the drug war hard with a piece that examines U.S. drug policy's efforts and claims that 40 years and $1 trillion later, we're actually worse off than we were before this thing started.

Even ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske admits that "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified." Attempting to grasp onto his fading limelight and defend the drug war is Kerlkowske's predecessor John Walters, who firmly disagreed.
"To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous," Walters said. "It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcment, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SSDP Board Member Gov. Gary Johnson on the Colbert Report!

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Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was on the Colbert Report yesterday and he wasted no time giving his opinions about marijuana prohibition.

SWAT Raid Comes Under Fire

Judge Napolitano, host of Fox News' Freedom Watch has got to be TV's most outspoken opponent of the war on drugs. Check out the video above where he even calls for the arrest of the police officers that raided the home of a Columbia, Missouri family in February only to find a "small amount of marijuana."

SSDP and our friend Dave Borden were quoted in the Columbia Tribune's Sunday paper about the raid.
Advocates with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy — a national organization with a University of Missouri chapter — have taken notice of the Feb. 11 raid of Jonathan Whitworth’s home, where a SWAT team found a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and shot two dogs, one fatally. Associate Director Jonathan Perri said the war on drugs is a failure because of the violence associated with the illegal activity of distributing marijuana. The legalization of the drug would take the criminal aspect out its distribution, he said.

“By making it illegal, you are making it criminal,” Perri said. “If a local liquor store breaks a law, you are not going to see a SWAT team raid the place and kill a dog. … You still have the alcohol abuse but don’t have people killing each other over it.”

David Borden, the executive director of Americans for Swat Reform, said his organization’s philosophy is that SWAT teams should be used rarely. SWAT’s participation in the execution of search warrants, he believes, is an abuse of authority.

“The idea of SWAT was created for hostage situations and when military-style power is required and there is no other choice,” he said. “When going into a situation that the purpose is to preserve evidence, it’s not a good enough reason to put these thousands of people that are served search warrants each year through the aggressive and traumatic experience of a para-militarized police squadron entering your home.”

Obama Drug Strategy to Focus on Prevention and Treatment

The Office of National Drug Control Policy will release its new drug control strategy tomorrow.
The new drug control strategy to be released Tuesday boosts community-based anti-drug programs, encourages health care providers to screen for drug problems before addiction sets in and expands treatment beyond specialty centers to mainstream health care facilities.

"It changes the whole discussion about ending the war on drugs and recognizes that we have a responsibility to reduce our own drug use in this country," Gil Kerlikowske, the White House drug czar, said in an interview.
The administration has made it crystal clear that they are not going to embrace marijuana legalization but they have made some positive drug policy moves:
These are clearly steps in the right direction but how much further will the Obama administration go? Despite Kerlikowske calling for an end to the war on drugs, the administration's drug control budget calls for twice as much spending on law enforcement than it does on treatment and prevention. It does propose a 13% increase in funding for alcohol and drug prevention programs and a 3.7% increase for addiction treatment.

We're looking forward to reading the new strategy.