Skip to comments.DEA "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" Claim 6- a rebuttal
Posted on 01/04/2013 1:21:20 PM PST by JustSayNoToNannies
The DEA Web pages on "Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization" are linked with some regularity on FR. They're full of errors in fact and logic; since I couldn't find a comprehensive rebuttal online, I've started creating one. Here's my rebuttal to their "Fact 6;" more to come as time permits. ("Fact 1" rebutted at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2858443/posts; "Fact 2" at /focus/f-bloggers/2861557/posts; "Fact 3" at /focus/f-bloggers/2864032/posts; "Fact 4" at /focus/f-bloggers/2893202/posts; "Fact 5" at /focus/f-bloggers/2932390/posts.)
Claim 6: "Legalization of Drugs will Lead to Increased Use and Increased Levels of Addiction. Legalization has been tried before, and failed miserably."
Fact: So the DEA admits that Americans modify their drug use in light of information - undermining its claim above that it's laxity or tightness of drug policy that determines rates of abuse and addiction.
Claim: Specific federal drug legislation and oversight began with the 1914 Harrison Act, the first broad anti-drug law in the United States. Enforcement of this law contributed to a significant decline in narcotic addiction in the United States. Addiction in the United States eventually fell to its lowest level during World War II, when the number of addicts is estimated to have been somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000. Many addicts, faced with disappearing supplies, were forced to give up their drug habits.
What was virtually a drug-free society in the war years remained much the same way in the years that followed. In the mid-1950s, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics estimated the total number of addicts nationwide at somewhere between 50,000 to 60,000. The former chief medical examiner of New York City, Dr. Milton Halpern, said in 1970 that the number of New Yorkers who died from drug addiction in 1950 was 17. By comparison, in 1999, the New York City medical examiner reported 729 deaths involving drug abuse.
Fact: Where is the evidence that controls were more "lax" in 1999 than 1970? In fact, 1970 is about when President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs" - a "war" that coincided with that 42-fold increase in drug deaths.
The Alaska Experiment and Other Failed Legalization Ventures
Claim: The consequences of legalization became evident when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that the state could not interfere with an adult's possession of marijuana for personal consumption in the home. The court's ruling became a green light for marijuana use. Although the ruling was limited to persons 19 and over, teens were among those increasingly using marijuana. According to a 1988 University of Alaska study, the state's 12 to 17-year-olds used marijuana at more than twice the national average for their age group.
Fact: The comparison to the national average says nothing about whether use increased after the ruling.
Claim: Alaska's residents voted in 1990 to recriminalize possession of marijuana, demonstrating their belief that increased use was too high a price to pay.
Fact: Or demonstrating that they were taken in by the DEA's illogic.
Claim: By 1979, after 11 states decriminalized marijuana and the Carter administration had considered federal decriminalization, marijuana use shot up among teenagers. That year, almost 51 percent of 12th graders reported they used marijuana in the last 12 months. By 1992, with tougher laws and increased attention to the risks of drug abuse, that figure had been reduced to 22 percent, a 57 percent decline.
Fact: More cherry-picking by the DEA - 5 years later the figure was back up to 39% (http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-vol1_2011.pdf). And note that from 1997 to 1992 not one of the 11 states recriminalized marijuana, which undermines the DEA's claim above that it's laxity or tightness of drug policy that determines rates of drug use.
Claim: Other countries have also had this experience. The Netherlands has had its own troubles with increased use of cannabis products. From 1984 to 1996, the Dutch liberalized the use of cannabis. Surveys reveal that lifetime prevalence of cannabis in Holland increased consistently and sharply. For the age group 18-20, the increase is from 15 percent in 1984 to 44 percent in 1996.
Fact: More cherry-picking by the DEA - they use the only measurement, lifetime prevalence, that agrees with their claim. "Available data on last year and last month prevalence do not indicate a causal relationship between decriminalization and cannabis use in the Netherlands." (https://www.tlupress.com/files/arts/9117/Semind04285ff846b9e4048da727e6231a4d5.pdf)
Claim: The Netherlands is not alone. Switzerland, with some of the most liberal drug policies in Europe, experimented with what became known as Needle Park. Needle Park became the Mecca for drug addicts throughout Europe, an area where addicts could come to openly purchase drugs and inject heroin without police intervention or control. The rapid decline in the neighborhood surrounding Needle Park, with increased crime and violence, led authorities to finally close Needle Park in 1992.
Fact: This proves only that legalization of drugs in a very small area will lead to increased use in that very small area, as users from elsewhere gravitate there - but that's merely a redistribution not an overall increase.
Claim: The British have also had their own failed experiments with liberalizing drug laws. England's experience shows that use and addiction increase with "harm reduction" policy. Great Britain allowed doctors to prescribe heroin to addicts, resulting in an explosion of heroin use, and by the mid-1980s, known addiction rates were increasing by about 30 percent a year.
Fact: England's harm reduction policy dates back to at least 1930. During the period the DEA cites, heroin policy was if anything becoming tighter: "Responsibility for the treatment of addicts generally was shifted from general practitioners (GPs) to Drug Dependency Units (DDUs)," "many clinic directors shifted most patients from injectable to oral methadone maintenance," and "many clinics shifted away from oral methadone maintenance. Instead, the treatment policy at several clinics was to provide gradual withdrawal (detoxification in the United States); rarely were patients provided with long-term maintenance doses." (http://www.enotes.com/heroin-british-system-reference/heroin-british-system)
Claim: The relationship between legalization and increased use becomes evident by considering two current "legal drugs," tobacco and alcohol. The number of users of these "legal drugs" is far greater than the number of users of illegal drugs. The numbers were explored by the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Roughly 109 million Americans used alcohol at least once a month. About 66 million Americans used tobacco at the same rate. But less than 16 million Americans used illegal drugs at least once a month.
Fact: Apparently the DEA would have us believe that if alcohol were illegal its use would drop almost 7-fold. Unfortunately for their fantasy, this experiment was tried - Prohibition - and there is no evidence whatsoever that anything like a 7-fold drop took place; no study finds a drop of more than 40%. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_during_and_after_prohibition)
I worked for 20 years in the ER of a major hospital located in a large city.In that time I saw,day in and day out,the breathtaking damage that drugs have caused to individuals...and to society.Any calls to “liberalize” drug laws (funny how it’s mainly “progressives” who support that effort) fall on deaf ears with me.And *always* will.
but drugs are illegal. how can this be happening?
Ever see the damage done by the legal drug alcohol? Do you support banning that drug?
and to society.
"Society" came to your ER?
Any calls to liberalize drug laws (funny how its mainly progressives who support that effort)
Plenty on FR have noticed that the War On Drugs is another utopian feel-good Big Government policy.
I worked in ERs and ICUs in hospitals thoughout the country from 1979 til the 90’s and saw more deaths due to either tobacco or alcohol individually than all illegal drugs combined.
high-capacity hypos and Wayne LaPierre’s fault!
Any thread about legalizing drugs should immediately draw the head slap guy.
You are correct, that is why I will predict that Washington and Colorado, will again make Pot illegal, unless other states follow suite soon.
It is all about dollars, these states will lose a lot of federal dollars for funding their police forces.
Not enough time this afternoon to address all the bogus logic in that video - but pause it at 5:51 and read the sentence immediately after the highlighted one for a sample of Crowder's dishonesty.
Guess the basic question is, does one have/should have the right to do with their physical body as they see fit at their own expense and peril? In a supposed free society, do we own our bodies?
Nah. There are a lot of libertarians and conservatives, too. We understand that the state cannot and should not protect us against ourselves and then we see how many of our constitutional rights we've given up to fight the drug war.
And, finally, we see more drugs on the streets than ever and realize that it's just as much a fool's game to ban drugs as it is to ban guns. Open your eyes.
My eyes are wide open.And they were wide open for every....single...one of the hundreds,HUNDREDS, of heroin ODs I've seen.How many heroin ODs have *you* seen? Nearly one would be my guess.
And in your opinion, the death of heroin addicts is a detriment to society in what way?
Using recreational drugs to escape reality is cowardice. No culture values cowardice.
I have two questions for you.
1. Which article of the constitution permits the Federal government to legislate abortion?
2. Which article of the constitution permits the Federal government to legislate drug use?
Your argument against the dangers of drugs [with which I concur] is the same used by the advocates of abortion. They think abortion rights are necessary; you think drug prohibitions are necessary.
What we "think" is not a satisfactory argument. There must be a constitutional basis for the law. What is yours?
You should see the ERs and morgues overseas that are a result of the US war on drugs. You only saw half the result.
I used to support it until I saw what we are doing. Now, I believe people own their own body. If they want to destroy it, I consider it their right.
Viagra is a recreational drug too...............