War on Drugs

Facebook Twitter

Meth Hype Could Undermine Good Medicine. The 1936 film Reefer Madness developed a cult following because of its over-the-top depiction of the evils of marijuana.

Meth Hype Could Undermine Good Medicine

Getting stoned and going to a midnight showing became a ritual for many college students. The recognition that pot is not a direct route to an asylum for the criminally insane, as it was for one character in the film, fueled the hilarity for late-night moviegoers. The divergence between perception and reality has become an issue in recent years for other recreational drugs. Last month four scientists from Columbia University published an analysis of previous studies on methamphetamine use that called into question some of the purported damaging effects of the drug on brain functioning.

The review in Neuropsychopharmacology found that short-term effects of the drug actually improve attention, as well as visual and spatial perception, among other things. Moreover, chronic users—the ones who would be expected to suffer most—remain largely unimpaired. Bath Salts: Deep in the Heart of America's New Drug Nightmare. COLUMBUS, OH — On an unseasonably hot and muggy May afternoon, a squad of armed agents from the Franklin County Drug Task Force — some wearing street clothes, some wearing menacing ski masks — swarms into a storefront aptly named the Joint.

Bath Salts: Deep in the Heart of America's New Drug Nightmare

Sandwiched between a liquor store and a sex shop, and adjacent to the Ohio State University campus, the Joint is one of 18 different head shops, gas stations, carryout restaurants, and mini-marts being searched this day by seven task force teams consisting of several dozen officers from numerous local police departments and prosecutors' offices, all spearheaded by the County Sheriff here in the state capital. Make no mistake: This is no ordinary pot bust. The raids are part of the ongoing Operation Synthetic Drugs, a highly coordinated and choreographed sweep through central Ohio. Not all drugs are created equal. Unlike, say, meth, bath salts transcend class.

In some sense, bath salts are an exercise in decriminalization. But the clock is ticking. Criminalising drugs is harming medical research - opinion - 12 June 2012. David Nutt, former adviser to the UK government, says the ban on drugs like ecstasy is hampering neuroscience How do the drug laws in most countries affect scientific research?

Criminalising drugs is harming medical research - opinion - 12 June 2012

One of the things I find very disturbing about the current approach to drugs, which is simply prohibition without necessarily any full understanding of harms, is that we lose sight of the fact that these drugs may well give us insights into areas of science that need to be explored and may give us new opportunities for treatment. In what way? Almost all the drugs of interest in terms of understanding brain phenomena such as consciousness, perception, mood and psychosis are illegal. And so there is almost no work done in this field. How bad is the impact? Any examples of missed opportunities?

How do you see change coming about? You were sacked as a UK government adviser for comparing the risks of horse riding with taking MDMA. Should recreational-drug laws be relaxed? Profile David Nutt is the Edmond J. Promoted Stories. Experts Tell the Truth about Pot. IN THE CLASSIC 1936 cult film Reefer Madness, well-adjusted high school students who try marijuana suddenly sink into a life of addiction, promiscuity, aggression, academic failure, homicide and mental illness.

Experts Tell the Truth about Pot

The movie concludes with the ominous warning that “The dread marijuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter ... or yours ... or YOURS!” Newspaper headlines of the day often reflected a similar sentiment. On February 10, 1938, a headline in the Beloit (Wisc.) Daily News read, “Authorities Warn against Spread of Marijuana Habit—Insanity, Degeneracy and Violence Follow Use of Weed.” Such a position on pot seems extreme. How Many Get Hooked? Given the drug’s growing popularity, many people have long been concerned about its potential dangers and, in particular, whether it can be addictive. A number of investigators have addressed this issue and found that only a relatively small percentage of those who try marijuana will become addicted.

The New Dealers. Photo Illustration: William Duke For some time, I'd been hearing stories from my sources in the interstate marijuana racket about law-abiding "civilians" turning to the game because of the recession, and so, armed with introductions, I hit the road to meet some of these unlikely criminals face to face.

The New Dealers

That's how, on a hot evening in June, I found myself in Dan's Northern California kitchen. Dan isn't his real name. Nor are any of the names in this story, for obvious reasons. But his situation is a familiar, harsh reality for many Americans, as I learned while doing research for my recent novel on this subject. Today, Dan's toys are gone, sold to support an underwater mortgage. "There were no jobs. Keeping the house has been Dan's only real goal since 2008, when he was laid off. From his window, I can see the jagged outline of the Klamath range far off to the northwest. About a year and a half ago at a wedding, an acquaintance approached Dan with a solution to his financial woes. How (Not) To Deal with Drug Kingpins. Shipping Mexican cartel bosses to the U.S. for prosecution could be a recipe for more violence.

How (Not) To Deal with Drug Kingpins

There were 15 of them, some in tan jumpsuits, all in shackles. It took three flights and throngs of law enforcement officers to transfer them. Major players in the Mexican underworld, they landed on U.S. soil Jan. 20, 2007 to face charges from New York to Texas, from Colorado to California. Among them was Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, one of the most ruthless and feared drug lords in the Western Hemisphere. The handover was swift, unexpected and unprecedented in number, lauded as a “clean sweep” across drug cartel ranks and a triumph for [Mexican] President Felipe Calderón, who only a year earlier had pledged to use extradition in his all-out offensive against Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations.

Yet as 2012 presidential elections loom for both Mexico and the U.S., analysts are taking a closer look. In 2007, the approach seemed promising. Shipped across borders For U.S. ‘El Mata Amigos’ Extraditing Christopher Coke and a Massacre in Jamaica. Most cemeteries replace the illusion of life’s permanence with another illusion: the permanence of a name carved in stone.

Extraditing Christopher Coke and a Massacre in Jamaica

Not so May Pen Cemetery, in Kingston, Jamaica, where bodies are buried on top of bodies, weeds grow over the old markers, and time humbles even a rich man’s grave. The most forsaken burial places lie at the end of a dirt path that follows a fetid gully across two bridges and through an open meadow, far enough south to hear the white noise coming off the harbor and the highway. Fifty-two concrete posts are set into the earth in haphazard groups of two and three. Each bears a small disk of black metal and a stencilled number. The majority of these mark the unclaimed dead from the last days of May, 2010, when the police and the Army assaulted the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, in West Kingston. The trouble that led to the Tivoli Gardens deaths began in August, 2009, when the United States government requested the extradition of Christopher (Dudus) Coke. War on drugs a failure says international group.

Almost 100 years after the League of Nations’ first law on narcotics (drugs), the International Opium Convention of 1912, a report released yesterday, June 2, 2011, says the global war on drugs is a failure and governments need to initiate other policies, including legalizing marijuana and other currently controlled substances.

War on drugs a failure says international group

The report, War on drugs by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), a think tank that includes former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the current prime minister of Greece, the past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, along with distinguished world leaders and statesmen, said “the global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world”. The international war on drugs has failed – “End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others” No war on drugs means no WHO & US government aid money Ideologically based drug laws flawed. Matt Stoller: Who Wants Keep the War on Drugs Going AND Put You in Debtor’s Prison? Matt Stoller is a current fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

Matt Stoller: Who Wants Keep the War on Drugs Going AND Put You in Debtor’s Prison?

His Twitter feed is @matthewstoller. More than a third of all states allow debtors “who can’t or won’t pay their debts” to be jailed. In 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, judges have issued 5,000 such warrants. What is behind the increased pressure to incarcerate people with debts? Is it a desire to force debt payment? Consider a different example that has nothing to do with debts. Welcome to the for-profit prison industry. Privatized prisons are marketed to international investors as “social infrastructure”, and they are part of a wave of privatization washing over the globe. Here’s the 2010 10k of the Corrections Corporation of America (PDF), the largest operator of private prisons in the country. CCA offers an assessment of risks to the company, which include ending the war on drugs or curbing the incarceration of undocumented immigrants.

But there are more risks. The Ethics of the US Role in the Drug War. In recent weeks, the United States has come under increasing pressure from Latin American leaders to rethink its drug control policy—and specifically, to at least start talking about decriminalization.

The Ethics of the US Role in the Drug War

As analysts such as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance have pointed out this week, this is a big shift: At first it was just academics and activists advocating for legalization; then it was former heads of state. Now, the sitting presidents of countries including Colombia and Guatemala are demanding that Washington change course. Earlier this month when Vice President Joe Biden visited the region, he got an earful from the leaders of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica to that effect. This debate is long overdue for many practical reasons; every pundit in every relevant country seems to agree that the drug war long ago failed. But there is also a very good ethical reason to start rethinking current US strategy.

This is an uphill battle—even the conversation. End the Drug War - By Fulton T. Armstrong. What more evidence does the U.S. government need to understand that the current approach to fighting the Mexican drug cartels is failing? The U.S. general who commands military forces in North America testified before a Senate committee last week that, while the "decapitation strategy" has succeeded in killing some of Mexico's major drug figures, it "has not had an appreciable effect" in thwarting the drug trade.

Regional leaders see it even more dimly, as evidenced by their frustrated reactions to Vice President Joseph Biden's visit to Mexico and Central America this month. That trip suggested the White House just doesn't grasp that the approach launched by George W. Bush's administration in 2007, and continued essentially unchanged by President Barack Obama, has been irrelevant at best and disastrous at worst. Mexico is far from being a "failed state," but its skyrocketing violence threatens our interests as well as its own. Both sides deserve blame in choosing this approach. The Narco State - By Charles Kenny. America's longest running war -- the one against drugs -- came in for abuse this weekend at the Summit of the Americas.

The abuse is deserved. Forty years of increasingly violent efforts to stamp out the drug trade haven't worked. And the blood and treasure lost is on a scale with America's more conventional wars. On the upside, we know that an approach based around treating drugs as a public health issue reaps benefits to both users and the rest of us.

President Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala opened the rhetorical offensive against the drug war last week when he wrote that "decades of big arrests and the seizure of tons of drugs" have not stopped "booming" production and consumption. But it isn't just in Latin America that the winds of change are blowing when it comes to drugs policy. As a domestic policy, a harsh enforcement approach has done little to control drug use, but has done a lot to lock up a growing portion of the U.S. population. Argentina: The New Narco State - By Haley Cohen. BUENOS AIRES — Last September, Argentine Judge Carlos Olivera Pastor emerged from his courthouse in the northwestern province of Jujuy to find a box next to his parked car.

Numbered as if it held judicial files, Pastor removed the box's top and found instead a decapitated head, the eyes glassy and open. In October, two men savagely assaulted a penal secretary from the same district, warning that the next time they would murder him. According to officials at SEDRONAR, a government agency that fights addiction and drug trafficking, most of the drugs that enter Argentina pass through the sparsely populated northwest of the country, and the judges, who frequently handle drug-related cases, avowed narco-traffickers were responsible for the incidents. Busts over the past two years suggest that Spain is an especially popular entry point for drugs dispatched from Argentina. "Pretty much everyone I know does it," says a 30 year-old Argentine waitress who buys about a gram of cocaine a week. 150 Miles of Hell  Photograph by Peter van Agtmael In late 2010, after the ninth corpse or body part had been discovered on his ranch in a span of 12 months, David Lowell sat down and drafted a document that he later took to calling, with a grain of dark pride, "my map of atrocities.

" Lowell lives in southern Arizona, 11 miles north of Mexico, in a hinterland canyon in the middle of the busiest drug- and human-smuggling corridor in the United States. Lowell's map, "Sites of Recent Border Violence Within the Atascosa Ranch," renders the ranch boundary as a thick black line. Inside the line glow 17 red dots, each stamped with a number. Among the descriptions in the corresponding key: "Rape tree with women's underwear" (2); "Fresh human head without body" (3); "Skull" (3A); "Body found 500 yards west of Lowell home" (6); "Body found 100 yards south of Lowell home" (7); and "Patrolman Terry killed by Mexican bandits" (12).

Lowell, who is 84, has owned and run the Atascosa Ranch for more than 35 years. Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel: DEA unravels a cocaine cartel web. Reporting from Calexico, Calif.— Never lose track of the load. It was drilled into everybody who worked for Carlos “Charlie” Cuevas. His drivers, lookouts, stash house operators, dispatchers -- they all knew. The car was still on the Mexican side in a 10-lane crush of vehicles inching toward the U.S. A lookout watching from a car in a nearby lane reported on the load's progress. The Accord reached the line of inspection booths, and a lookout on the U.S. side picked up the surveillance. It was the usual plan: After clearing customs, the driver would head for Los Angeles, shadowed by a third lookout waiting in a car on South Imperial Avenue.

But on this hot summer evening, things were not going according to plan. Cuevas rarely talked directly to his lookouts or drivers. “What's happening?” “The dogs are going crazy,” Lopez replied. Dots on a map Cuevas worked for the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful organized crime group. DEA officials were in no hurry to wrap it up. Jeremy Harding · The Deaths Map: At the Mexican Border · LRB 20 October 2011. Cracking the Mexican Cartels. Should Central America Legalize Drugs? - Ralph Espach - International. An End to the War on Drugs? by Alma Guillermoprieto. Should Central America's drug violence be considered a global crisis? America's drug war partners are speaking their minds. Drugs policy: Pills and progress. International Groups Move to Criminalize Fake Drugs. Pot legalization: Why doesn’t anyone in Washington take marijuana policy seriously?

Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs.