The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… America: What Her War On Drugs Has Done To Her (In-)Justice System

America’s War On Drugs…

…is a pointless waste of time and money. No-one who is intelligent AND honest would deny this. The reasons why are obvious, but for the record…

(1) Her (so far) forty-year-plus prohibition of recreational drugs has been no more successful than her fourteen-year prohibition of alcohol.

(2) As before, it has merely empowered major crime.

(3) Every time a low-level dealer or mule gets busted, a job opportunity is created which – thanks to the rewards available – will quickly be filled.

(4) Every time a major shipment is intercepted, the authorities trumpet their success. But the suppliers merely increase output to cover the “shrinkage”. And even if the bust IS significant enough to cause a temporary shortage of supply – the price is simply increased. The barons will still be able to fill the tanks of their Ferraris.

(5) Recreational drug use is a victimless crime. Its impact on society is far less damaging than the criminality that currently surrounds it.

(6) The VAST amount of money spent trying – and failing – to prevent it (cops, Customs, DEA, etc.) is MANY times what the cost would be, if the authorities simply paid to clean up the mess that legalisation would create.

(7) And that mess would be far less, if the drugs were manufactured by properly-set-up companies – instead of the back-street outfits which currently fill that role.

(8) And potential customers could be given neutral, non-judgemental “patient information” leaflets, which could explain the various substances’ pros and cons, instead of that information coming from unqualified friends – and dealers.

(9) America prides herself on FREEDOM – which means a citizen ought to be able to decide themselves, what they do with their mind and body.

(10) Which brings us to its effect on…

America’s (In-)Justice System…

When the Brave New World was first set up, its pioneers understandably wanted to create a society where cops kicking in doors with impunity would not happen. Many had just ESCAPED societies like that.

And so they came up with a system that would be FAIR to those accused of crimes.

This even extended to courts being forced to EXCLUDE evidence that was not gathered “correctly”.

However, it was not long before shyster lawyers began to EXPLOIT these “loopholes” to keep their clients out of jail. (“Since the police failed to identify themselves properly, give the murderer his gun BACK!”)

But those who could not AFFORD shysters began filling America’s jails. Nothing unusual in that. But when she instigated her current recreational drugs policy, those numbers swelled to EPIC proportions.

America now has MORE of her population incarcerated than ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. A QUARTER of the prisoners in the WORLD are behind AMERICAN BARS – which has lead to MASSIVE overpopulation of America’s prisons.

And it is this which has forced her to rethink her whole (in-)justice system.

The result? Well, today, with America’s jails no longer capable of handling their inmate numbers, most sentences get reduced – and with her courts unable to handle the “flow of traffic”, most cases get “plea-bargained” out.

This results in early releases for serious criminals – and shorter sentences for real crimes. All of which benefits American society not one jot.

So what can she do about this farcical situation? Well, the solution is surprisingly SIMPLE. She could do with recreational drugs what she did with BOOZE, back in 1933. Legalize and regulate them. Then set free all prisoners who were inside solely on drug offences, where they had committed no crimes affecting others.

In this World obsessed by money, there has been talk of TAXING recreational drugs. But this is an IRRELEVENT DIVERSION.

The BENEFITS TO SOCIETY and the MONEY SAVED by execution of this straightforward repeal would be MASSIVE – and immediate.

Cops would be able to devote their time to solving REAL crimes – the ones that DO affect society.

The DEA could go and find CONSTRUCTIVE work.

Customs could concentrate on their original duties.

America’s jail population would shrink DRASTICALLY.

And her courts could finally spend the time needed to do THEIR job properly – dispense JUSTICE.


I am taking the (for me) unprecedented step of “promoting” a comment – and its reply – to the piece itself.

“C” wrote the following…

I would be all for not arresting and jailing drug users but making all drugs legal, that is the dumbest idea I have heard in a long time.  Legal meth and heroin would put even more people in danger if becoming addicts.  The war on drugs has been unsuccessful because cops can arrest the low hanging fruit (the users or addicts) and not have to focus on the upper part of the distribution hierarchy out of fear of what the cartels would do to them if given the chance.  DEA agents have to be willing to put themselves in danger in order to get the real criminals.  People who make and distribute meth should be locked up, if you have ever had a friend or loved one who had a meth habit this would be obvious.  Pot should not be illegal at any level but you are wrong about many other drugs.  Being illegal does not stop people from using them but it is a deterrent to some and making them legal is throwing some of those people into a life of struggle against addiction.  C.

And I replied with the following…

Thank you for your comment. I don’t think we are in disagreement here. My piece was mostly about the damage the War On Drugs has done to America’s LEGAL SYSTEM. I only danced over the business of recreational drugs being illegal. I will now clarify that view.

I believe that USERS should not be any part of the legal system – however, manufacturers and suppliers SHOULD.

In my World, recreational drugs would have their blanket ban REMOVED. The reasons these bans were originally invoked are various – but they have ended up becoming a case of the government trying to stop people getting HIGH. And all that has achieved is the afore-mentioned pointless War.

What SHOULD be done is to remove users from the equation altogether and concentrate on those who manufacture and supply. But here is the difference – drugs would be treated as SUBSTANCES.

And each substance would be considered on its own MERIT. Thus drugs like cannabis and ecstacy would be considered relatively harmless and treated accordingly – while hallucinogenics like LSD would be considered more carefully – and substances like meth would be classed as POISONS and CONTINUE to be banned.

The net result of this would be that most people would be content to experiment with the less harmful drugs – which would be PROPERLY manufactured, with accompanying “patient information” – while the NASTY ones would find themselves classified along with arsenic and nitric acid.

I am not saying these measures would be easy to enforce – but they would simplify matters no end and leave the legal system – and its enforcement agencies – free to deal with the more serious aspects of the issue.

Like, number one – the cartels would find themselves downgraded from manufacturers of recreational drugs – to peddlers of POISONS. While manufacturers of “soft” drugs would become corporations who would be listed on the Stock Market – along with brewers and distillers of alcoholic drinks.

And, number two – highly addictive drugs like coke and heroin would be placed in an arena where control and regulation could reduce SOME of their more harmful effects.

It is a COMPLEX problem, for which people – as usual – require simple answers. But the simple answer of BANNING ALL recreational drugs is NOT working. It has not worked for over forty years – therefore I cannot see it working in the next forty.


9 Responses to “Damien on… America: What Her War On Drugs Has Done To Her (In-)Justice System”

  1. Superbly articulated! My effort is stumbling by comparison. Why not see if Rolling Stone magazine can use it as a part of their next feature on the topic?

  2. Oh, you compliment me, sir! I LONG ago gave up any hope of becoming a pro writer. I’m pretty GOOD (sometimes) – but there are THOUSANDS out there who put my ramblings to SHAME! No – I’m RETIRED – and content these days to whitter on, in these columns – hoping SOMEONE will be moved by SOME of my stuff…

  3. Yes, I understand all that, but I am sorry to say that Jan Wenner’s mag is disappointingly sloppy on this topic. Your elucidation is right on the nail. You miss nothing out. You say nothing twice. You are easy to read. RS coverage was (until I gave up the subscripiton over their support of the Green-fascist belief in anthropogenic climate variation) always only half there. It concentrated on the prison aspect, and limited the issue to Canabis Sativa. I guess they figure one step at a time. I do not see that working.

  4. With all due respect to ‘C’, legalizing all drugs is not a dumb thing at all. It is the only way that some kind of control with ever happen. I do not know how you figure that it would be putting even more people at risk than the current situation when you may be getting something highly addictive without even knowing that you are. If the hard drugs are controlled the same way that cannabis would be controlled, at least you would know who is buying it and you would know who to target with assistance if and when it is called for. How that is a bad thing is beyond me.

    Attempting to ‘categorize’ drugs IS a dumb thing to attempt. There will be new drugs come on the market constantly; are you then going to assign each one and at what point will the whole ridiculous process that is in place now be repeated? Just treat them all the same and sell them in a controlled environment the way alcohol is now (at least in parts of Canada where you go to a specific store to buy it).

  5. I agree that categorizing drugs is tough, particularly with new “designer” drugs appearing all the time – it is hard enough for the authorities to keep up with “legal high” drugs.

    However, by treating drugs as SUBSTANCES, at least the nasty ones could merely be classified as POISONS – making the job of effectively banning their manufacture a BIT easier. And whilst not being a chemist, I would have thought that since many of said designer drugs use common chemicals, a ban on those ought to make said authorities’ jobs a little easier too.

    Plus, with drugs like hash and ecstasy being LEGAL, the attractions of making drugs like meth would recede. Also, if the authorities spent some of that vast amount of money currently spent on prohibition on EDUCATING people about the dangers of messing with substances like meth, perhaps the attractions of USING them would recede as well.

    Here in Thailand, we have “yabba” – which is basically meth – and with “natural” recreational drugs being beyond the financial reach of its citizens, many turn to this damn POISON – with DISASTEROUS results…

  6. I can well imagine that yabba use would result in pretty predictable results for sure. I don’t know that you would ever lessen the attraction of attempting to make drugs. That, after all is where any profit is to be made. And THAT is where the big problem with the current ‘enforcement’ is. You can’t get to the manufacturers. Unless all drugs are legal and sold under controlled circumstances, you are going to be fighting a losing battle. I agree that banning chemicals that are used to make rec drugs might help but the lack of success with ecstasy is certainly an indication of the futility of that endeavour. At any rate, any change in direction has to be a positive one. Right now the only thing that is being supported with the current direction is the arms trade.

  7. It occurs that SPLITTING recreational drugs into “approved” but regulated substances – and straight POISONS – kinda worked with PORNOGRAPHY.

    Think about it: when porn was ILLEGAL (in Britain) it proliferated – and since ALL porn was illegal, the many “underground” places (which were not hard to find) that sold it had “regular” porn – but also CHILD porn and other things to horrible to speak about.

    But when they legalised OVER-EIGHTEEN porn, child porn and the other horrors virtually DISAPPEARED. Okay, they still exists for those who are prepared to risk JAIL just for OWNING them – but the QUANTITY has been DRASTICALLY cut.

    And being now a much SMALLER market, the child and other nasty porn market is much easier to police – with the authorities making a real DIFFERENCE.

    Thus if hash, ecstasy and the other “mild” recreational drugs were legalised but regulated – with yabba, meth, angel dust and so on being classed as poisons – MOST people would be happy to enjoy the “legal” substances – and the trade in the home-made horrors would at least LESSEN.

    It worked for porn – it could work for drugs.

  8. It is almost 30 years since I twigged that Prohibition of mind-altering substances was calamitously socially counter-productive. More and more people see it now.

    I do not desire to discuss details of the regulation. I no longer CARE all that much anyway. Where children are affected, it makes me profoundly despressed, but I still see no point in MY joining the discussion.

    It all comes clear, point by point, once the individual two-legs-standing human critter in the discussion drops self-certitude and posturing and replaces this vain attitude with CONSIDERING THE REAL EFFECT of what is done, rather than the intended effect.

  9. AMEN to that. This is the problem with this issue. Those in charge of policy are all POLITICIANS – whose prime concern is how everything they do will affect their POLL NUMBERS. And any SENSIBLE policies they might adopt for said issue will immediately be trumpeted by the “popular” media and other morons as “going soft on drugs” – which is guaranteed to DEFLATE those numbers.

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