T Nation

What is America's War on Drugs Costing?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2018578571_calderon02.html

You cannot even begin to compare the drug issues in the USA with the drug issues in Mexico. You live in Arizona for crying out loud, clearly you must understand. US soldiers are not stationed around the county to fight mafia punks selling cocaine internationally. 60,000 people didn’t die within the country because of drug-related gang violence against the government. You think that if the USA suddenly legalized your beloved drugs that international drug violence would lessen? You still wouldn’t be able to move it across borders legally, I’ll bet.

“While an overwhelming majority of Mexicans, some 80 percent, back the continued deployment of the military in the drug war, almost the same number describe violence, and human rights violations by the army as their major concern.”

So people like the idea of government protection, but the Mexican Army is not highly professional and probably not well trained for it.

I don’t know what sort of comparison is being made, but if drugs were legalized across the board people would be figuring out how to grow coca plants hydroponically.

The drug related gang violence in Mexico isn’t much more than a turf war to control the major inroads into the U.S. Therefore Mexico’s drug problem IS the United States’ drug problem. So long as there is a demand, someone will supply it. The problem is the voracious appetite for Drugs our civilians have, everything from deca to cocaine, to meth, to heroine.

[quote]Severiano wrote:
I don’t know what sort of comparison is being made, but if drugs were legalized across the board people would be figuring out how to grow coca plants hydroponically.

The drug related gang violence in Mexico isn’t much more than a turf war to control the major inroads into the U.S. Therefore Mexico’s drug problem IS the United States’ drug problem. So long as there is a demand, someone will supply it. The problem is the voracious appetite for Drugs our civilians have, everything from deca to cocaine, to meth, to heroine.

[/quote]

That was my point , it is America’s drug war . And so what if people grow coca hydraponically . What we might have cocaine in America , OH heaven forbid :slight_smile:

So let me get this straight. Because the US government outlaws certain drugs, it causes Mexicans violate their federal laws to make money off American addiction. Therefore, it is the American government’s problem, not the drug addicted citizens. Good call.

[quote]pittbulll wrote:

[quote]Severiano wrote:
I don’t know what sort of comparison is being made, but if drugs were legalized across the board people would be figuring out how to grow coca plants hydroponically.

The drug related gang violence in Mexico isn’t much more than a turf war to control the major inroads into the U.S. Therefore Mexico’s drug problem IS the United States’ drug problem. So long as there is a demand, someone will supply it. The problem is the voracious appetite for Drugs our civilians have, everything from deca to cocaine, to meth, to heroine.

[/quote]

That was my point , it is America’s drug war . And so what if people grow coca hydraponically . What we might have cocaine in America , OH heaven forbid :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Out of a general interest in everything grown hydrophonically I have looked into this a few years ago.

It cant be done, the plant just grows too damn slow, even though you can buy clones on the interwebz.

Also, the way to synthesize cocaine is known since the 30s, it is just not competititve.

It seems to me that the best the drug war can hope for is to drive the price up, high enough so that cocaine production moves into laboratories.

IIRC, a fungus wiped out a large part of Peru’s production of coca in the 90s.
Now, we just need a genetically updated version of it.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
So let me get this straight. Because the US government outlaws certain drugs, it causes Mexicans violate their federal laws to make money off American addiction. Therefore, it is the American government’s problem, not the drug addicted citizens. Good call.[/quote]

I think you diagnosed it correctly, don’t get me wrong. I’m in total agreement that people can get addicted to things, and it’s probably true that there have been people addicted to addictive drugs as long as they have been in existence.

The problem is this butts up against another truth, and that is that if there is a demand for a particular supply that is in existence, and there is a way to get that supply to the buyer, it’s going to happen and whoever does it is going to get very rich.

We have spent countless dollars attacking drugs from multiple angles, from education at a young age (I remember sitting through D.A.R.E classes as a kid), legal and penal system (retarded by the way), drug testing, assassinations etc…

The two constants are that it costs us a lot of money to do these things, and that it doesn’t work because the proportion of people using drugs has remained more or less the same.

I think part of the problem is people don’t respect the drug laws out of their irrationality. Sending people to prison for pot has been ignorant/retarded. Personally, I don’t have a lot of respect for the drug laws on the books considering how many pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to push products on people that are plainly toxic.

I think we need a lot of reforming before we can try to go for some bigger than life endeavor, like ending addiction.

[quote]Severiano wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
So let me get this straight. Because the US government outlaws certain drugs, it causes Mexicans violate their federal laws to make money off American addiction. Therefore, it is the American government’s problem, not the drug addicted citizens. Good call.[/quote]

I think you diagnosed it correctly, don’t get me wrong. I’m in total agreement that people can get addicted to things, and it’s probably true that there have been people addicted to addictive drugs as long as they have been in existence.

The problem is this butts up against another truth, and that is that if there is a demand for a particular supply that is in existence, and there is a way to get that supply to the buyer, it’s going to happen and whoever does it is going to get very rich.

We have spent countless dollars attacking drugs from multiple angles, from education at a young age (I remember sitting through D.A.R.E classes as a kid), legal and penal system (retarded by the way), drug testing, assassinations etc…

The two constants are that it costs us a lot of money to do these things, and that it doesn’t work because the proportion of people using drugs has remained more or less the same.

I think part of the problem is people don’t respect the drug laws out of their irrationality. Sending people to prison for pot has been ignorant/retarded. Personally, I don’t have a lot of respect for the drug laws on the books considering how many pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to push products on people that are plainly toxic.

I think we need a lot of reforming before we can try to go for some bigger than life endeavor, like ending addiction. [/quote]

I thik ending addiction is a romantic notion,

I don’t see how any one could respect our drug laws. They are expensive and ineffective . The only symptom I can see is they increases the price . I would bet the drug cartels would fight the hardest to keep drugs illegal .

Illegal Marijuana is stupid.

As a libertarian, it is my personal view that all drugs should be legal. Cocaine, bath salts, all that shit. But in the same breath, if you end up dead in your own house, or you have withdrawals, or you OD and need immediate medical treatment, etc … you’ll pay for it bigtime. It is expected that drug users will pay incredible premiums for their health insurance, and that’s fine by me. We should treat smokers the same way even now.

So yes, pitbull, if I were the boss I’d let you smoke and inject everything you’ve ever dreamed of. But then I’d let your insurance company rape you for premiums given your inevitable need for ER service during a withdrawal or overdose. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

It won’t cure addiction, but it’s a hell of deterrent.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
As a libertarian, it is my personal view that all drugs should be legal. Cocaine, bath salts, all that shit. But in the same breath, if you end up dead in your own house, or you have withdrawals, or you OD and need immediate medical treatment, etc … you’ll pay for it bigtime. It is expected that drug users will pay incredible premiums for their health insurance, and that’s fine by me. We should treat smokers the same way even now.

So yes, pitbull, if I were the boss I’d let you smoke and inject everything you’ve ever dreamed of. But then I’d let your insurance company rape you for premiums given your inevitable need for ER service during a withdrawal or overdose. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

It won’t cure addiction, but it’s a hell of deterrent.[/quote]

THANK you NJRUMS I was worried about Heroin specifically (eye roll) You should be the recipient of your bad decisions . Including voting badly :slight_smile:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
As a libertarian, it is my personal view that all drugs should be legal. Cocaine, bath salts, all that shit. But in the same breath, if you end up dead in your own house, or you have withdrawals, or you OD and need immediate medical treatment, etc … you’ll pay for it bigtime. It is expected that drug users will pay incredible premiums for their health insurance, and that’s fine by me. We should treat smokers the same way even now.

So yes, pitbull, if I were the boss I’d let you smoke and inject everything you’ve ever dreamed of. But then I’d let your insurance company rape you for premiums given your inevitable need for ER service during a withdrawal or overdose. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

It won’t cure addiction, but it’s a hell of deterrent.[/quote]

I’m not fully comfortable legalizing some of the hard drugs like heroine. But the thing I hope you see is it’s not even necessarily true that if we legalize drugs, there will be a significant increase in proportion of addicts. If there isn’t a significant increase in proportion of addicts, then how could it possibly cost us significantly more money to treat these people? Seems like the money we could save on court fees, the cost of incarceration, the amount of money we spend statewise and federally on drug agents, that’s a crapload of money we save, more than covers the cost of what would likely be a very minor increase in addicts with legalization. I have no interest in using potentially deadly or very addictive drugs myself, I’m just being honest when I say I’m not fully comfortable with it, even though it makes perfect sense in my mind.

[quote]Severiano wrote:

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
As a libertarian, it is my personal view that all drugs should be legal. Cocaine, bath salts, all that shit. But in the same breath, if you end up dead in your own house, or you have withdrawals, or you OD and need immediate medical treatment, etc … you’ll pay for it bigtime. It is expected that drug users will pay incredible premiums for their health insurance, and that’s fine by me. We should treat smokers the same way even now.

So yes, pitbull, if I were the boss I’d let you smoke and inject everything you’ve ever dreamed of. But then I’d let your insurance company rape you for premiums given your inevitable need for ER service during a withdrawal or overdose. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

It won’t cure addiction, but it’s a hell of deterrent.[/quote]

I think for the most part we agree , even with heroin you can still buy it any where so the war has had no effect with the exception of increasing earning potential
I’m not fully comfortable legalizing some of the hard drugs like heroine. But the thing I hope you see is it’s not even necessarily true that if we legalize drugs, there will be a significant increase in proportion of addicts. If there isn’t a significant increase in proportion of addicts, then how could it possibly cost us significantly more money to treat these people? Seems like the money we could save on court fees, the cost of incarceration, the amount of money we spend statewise and federally on drug agents, that’s a crapload of money we save, more than covers the cost of what would likely be a very minor increase in addicts with legalization. I have no interest in using potentially deadly or very addictive drugs myself, I’m just being honest when I say I’m not fully comfortable with it, even though it makes perfect sense in my mind.[/quote]

Severiano, valid points. However thinking that addiction/usage rates won’t increase is a fantasy. Drinking and smoking are both legal at 21 and 18 respectively. High school kids love to do both, especially drinking. It’s cool! So why wouldn’t cocaine or heroine be cool? After all I can pick it up from the gas station.

Your whole argument is based on the rate of addiction not increasing. I don’t buy it for a minute. It would be like saying in 1900 “Well, there aren’t a lot of fat people, so if we open up fast food everywhere, the rate of obsesity won’t increase much.”

If it’s there, people will use it. If we placate pitbull and legalize MJ, what’s next? What about all the other poor addicts out there?

@pitbull: I am in fact the recipient of all my bad decisions. Aren’t we all? I’m a true libertarian and I believe that personal responsibility and ownership are critical. Those were the old republican values until we started caring about stupid shit like abortion and gay marriage.

But that’s off topic. If you use drugs, you suffer the consequences. Today, it’s incarceration. If I ruled, it would be legal and people would die from ODs all over the place … and the country would be that much better, weeding out the weak with no effort.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
Severiano, valid points. However thinking that addiction/usage rates won’t increase is a fantasy. Drinking and smoking are both legal at 21 and 18 respectively. High school kids love to do both, especially drinking. It’s cool! So why wouldn’t cocaine or heroine be cool? After all I can pick it up from the gas station.

Your whole argument is based on the rate of addiction not increasing. I don’t buy it for a minute. It would be like saying in 1900 “Well, there aren’t a lot of fat people, so if we open up fast food everywhere, the rate of obsesity won’t increase much.”

If it’s there, people will use it. If we placate pitbull and legalize MJ, what’s next? What about all the other poor addicts out there?

@pitbull: I am in fact the recipient of all my bad decisions. Aren’t we all? I’m a true libertarian and I believe that personal responsibility and ownership are critical. Those were the old republican values until we started caring about stupid shit like abortion and gay marriage.

But that’s off topic. If you use drugs, you suffer the consequences. Today, it’s incarceration. If I ruled, it would be legal and people would die from ODs all over the place … and the country would be that much better, weeding out the weak with no effort.[/quote]

When I was a kid any street drug was easier to get than beer or wine. I would not be at all surprised to find that it is the same way today

Eh, I don’t know. Asking a 21 year old to pick up beer and tipping him bigtime is usually easier than finding drug dealers. Having never done illegal drugs, I can only imagine that most drug dealers are seedy to begin with.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
Eh, I don’t know. Asking a 21 year old to pick up beer and tipping him bigtime is usually easier than finding drug dealers. Having never done illegal drugs, I can only imagine that most drug dealers are seedy to begin with.[/quote]

I have to admit I haven’t been in school for MANY years but when I went to school every shool had every drug that was out there . I remember some one had procured a bunch of low dose phena barbital pills . They were so prevalent that they were rolling on the floor , they were laying in the water fountains . Drug Dealers do not check IDs . Even if you find a 21 year old to buy beer
they would be farther and fewer than Drug Dealers

Around here it was mostly just MJ with the occasional crack cocaine. Not a lot of meth/bath salts type shit. And if you’ve got THAT many drug dealers in your town then something is definitely wrong.

Have you ever considered yourself as part of the problem versus part of the solution? Answer honestly. If you didn’t use illegal substances those drug dealers wouldn’t have a business.

[quote]njrusmc wrote:
Around here it was mostly just MJ with the occasional crack cocaine. Not a lot of meth/bath salts type shit. And if you’ve got THAT many drug dealers in your town then something is definitely wrong.

Have you ever considered yourself as part of the problem versus part of the solution? Answer honestly. If you didn’t use illegal substances those drug dealers wouldn’t have a business.[/quote]

I have not lived in that town for 30 years , I was part of the problem. I still may be part of the problem here . If you consider some one that has been constantly employed ,constantly paid tax,raised two kids . Am respected in my community but smoke marijuana

Your contributions to society are noted, but stay on topic. The topic is “War on drugs” and your contributions beyond that are appreciated but not relevant. If you are using illegal drugs, you are keeping drug dealers (felons) in business. Therefore, I believe you are indeed part of the problem. Even if you buy MJ from a dealer, chances are he sells a ton of other shit … so by putting cash in his pocket you are also permitting him to expand his heroine and cocaine business, I would imagine.

If you personally didn’t use MJ, the illegal drug business would suffer a small bit. Do you contest this?

Consider gay rights. Gay people want to get married but could not legally do so. That doesn’t mean gay people are actually getting married and sharing benefits with one another. It’s illegal and governments didn’t honor it. For the most part, their assembly has been peaceful and any legalization of gay marraige was without crime. This gives it at least some legitimacy; whether I personally agree or not is irrelevant. Using illegal drugs then telling the government “I want to use illegal drugs” is a backasswards way of solving serious problems.