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  1. #1
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    How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    Here's one of those fruitless wars created by the right. Are we winning? No, it's all about the money just like the War on Terrorism.
    *********************************************

    Hospitals Say Meth Cases Are Rising, and Hurt Care
    By KATE ZERNIKE


    A sharp increase in the number of people arriving in emergency rooms with methamphetamine-related problems is straining local hospital budgets and treatment facilities across the country, particularly in the Midwest, according to two surveys to be released in Washington today.

    The studies, conducted late last year by the National Association of Counties, are another indicator of the toll the drug has taken on local communities, particularly in rural areas where social service networks are ill-equipped to deal with the consequences. In July, the association reported that an overwhelming number of sheriffs polled nationwide declared methamphetamine their No. 1 law enforcement problem.

    In the most recent survey, conducted late last year, 73 percent of the 200 county and regional hospitals polled said they had seen an increase in the number of people visiting emergency rooms for methamphetamine-related problems over the last five years; 68 percent reported a continued increase in the last three years, and 45 percent in the last year.

    The problem was particularly intense in the middle of the country: 70 percent of hospitals in the Midwest and 80 percent in the Upper Midwest said methamphetamine accounted for 10 percent of their patients. Nationwide, 14 percent of the hospitals said such cases made up 20 percent of their emergency room visits.

    Methamphetamine users are often unable to hold down jobs because of the highly addictive nature of the drug, meaning they are often uninsured, the hospitals say. Yet many hospitals are required to treat them under state laws.

    "These are labor-intensive cases, and the money that's put out is money that the hospitals won't recover," said Jeri Reese, an emergency room nurse manager in Greene County, Iowa, who is scheduled to speak at a news conference explaining the survey results.

    Fifty-six percent of hospitals said their costs had risen because of the growing abuse of the drug. In Arkansas, where the problem has increased in severity recently, 78 percent of the hospitals said costs had increased.

    Methamphetamine is often made in small home laboratories using toxic household chemicals. Many of the people who arrive at emergency rooms because of methamphetamine have been burned making it or are children who have been exposed to the chemicals.

    Users frequently develop rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and fevers that can reach 105 degrees. And because the drug's neurological side effects frequently include aggressive behavior and paranoia, the hospitals say they deal with many victims of fights or beatings.

    "They're so unpredictable and erratic that when someone comes in, you have to have separate staff just to watch them," Ms. Reese said.

    In the second survey, 69 percent of the hospitals reported an increased demand for treatment for methamphetamine abuse, which tends to be long and intensive. And 63 percent of the hospitals said they did not have enough capacity to meet demand.

    "It has really rocked us," said Patrick Fleming, director of the Salt Lake County Division of Substance Abuse Services in Utah, who is also scheduled to speak in Washington. "People are staying in treatment slots longer, so I can't spin those beds to someone else. My waiting lists are mounting like crazy."

    Though a relatively small number of total emergency room visits are for illicit drugs, the hospitals said methamphetamine was by far the leading drug problem. Forty-seven percent of hospitals, and 57 percent in the Northwest, said methamphetamine caused more emergency room visits than any other drug, while 16 percent cited marijuana, 15 percent cocaine and 1 percent heroin.

    The association of counties and many local officials have criticized the Bush administration's antidrug strategy as focusing too much on marijuana. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy began running television advertisements against methamphetamine last month and has increased some grants for treatment.

    Many states have gone further, restricting sales of pseudoephedrine, the crucial ingredient in methamphetamine, and the association said it planned to use the hospital surveys to encourage the federal government to follow suit.

    The association also said it wanted more federal money for compensation for hospitals tending to the uninsured, as well as for treatment care, programs to help affected children and continued law enforcement grants for regional drug task forces.

  2. #2
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/19/floyd.html

    Focus on America’s Failed War on Drugs
    Prohibition Laws - Why they must go
    by Shannon Floyd

    The Drug War is itself an addiction for which our government demands more money and more lives every year. The Drug War is also itself a prison, a prison for which the foundation is laid in prohibition, the concrete walls set high by mandatory minimum sentences, and the barbed wire rigged by conspiracy laws which allow the innocent to be sent away with the guilty and the violent.

    We will tear this prison down and we will do that by working together toward a saner solution. People need to care enough to talk about this issue publicly. You no longer have to be a lunatic or a martyr to use the words, “The Drug War isn’t working.”

    It is time to change the laws in our country that make some drugs/substances illegal. I refer here to the Prohibition Laws. I use the ter.ms “drugs” and “substances” interchangeably because the drugs come from plant substances which can be useful for many purposes unrelated to intoxication (medicinal, spiritual, industrial, etc.), but these uses are lost to us if we are denied the substances.

    This nation doesn’t have a drug problem—people have drug problems. This nation has a problem with bad laws. The way people deal with drug problems is through counseling, treatment, education, and through living with hope and purpose. In contrast, the laws now in place push people into addictive lifestyles by taking funding away from positive government resources (such as education and health care), and then criminalizing people for crossing arbitrary governmental lines. We have a drug war on our hands alright, but it is a war in which the American people were never consulted.

    Declaring War

    How Did The War on Drugs Begin? Interestingly enough, the roots of the Drug War were planted about 100 years ago, around the same time that large corporations were coming into existence. When Rockefeller and Carnegie and Mellon were amassing the most amazing fortunes in America, a backlash was orchestrated against the poor, mostly non-white workers who did the physical labor of the land, and against the substances which formed a part of their culture. The first substance to be outlawed in America was opium. That prohibition was in San Francisco in 1875, and it was only illegal if you were smoking it while Chinese (a classic case of racial profiling). The railroads had been built and there wasn’t another project of that scale in the works. There were too many Chinese laborers in a bloated labor supply, and so they were targeted with the first prohibition law.

    Then, during the ’30s, a national hysteria was stirred up against Mexican immigrants in the Southwest. These people had come north to work, and during the Depression became competitors for jobs in a shrinking market and then for spaces in the soup kitchen lines. And so tales began to spread about how Mexicans became insane and thought they were bullfighters in a ring when they smoked something called “marihuana”. (A note on the word marihuana: Cannabis was described as a medicine in the medical pharmacoepias —the lists of medicines—but no one had ever heard of marihuana, and so that word became the vehicle for making the substance illegal.) The Marihuana Tax Act was passed through Congress with virtually no discussion or debate in 1937. The short debate that did occur in the House of Representatives included a bald-faced lie on the part of those pushing for the bill. One representative asked what the American Medical Association thought of The Marihuana Tax Act; a fellow congressman said that the AMA supported it “one hundred percent.” In fact, counsel for the AMA had expressly opposed the bill in committee hearings, saying that cannabis was not a harmful substance, that the hysteria around its use had been mostly raised by the media, and that he wondered why the Federal Bureau of Narcotics had been secretly putting together this bill for two years without soliciting input from the largest association of physicians in the country. The response from the committee chair ran along the lines of ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t come down here and talk to us at all’. The story of this disastrously short consideration and the deception in the House debate was not brought forth for decades, and still most people do not know.

    The Harrison Tax Act—regulating doctors’ ability to prescribe opiates and narcotics—had previously been passed in 1915. Together, that law plus the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 gave the U.S. Treasury the right to come between doctors and their patients, and between people and their own pain management or cognitive exploration.

    Armed with this new power, the U.S. Treasury sent their men—basically IRS men—out to arrest people if they were caught prescribing a narcotic to an addict, or if they were found in possession of marihuana without the marihuana tax stamp. It was only years later, after people had already been sent to prison for tax evasion, that the substances themselves were made illegal.

    It is clear that the origins of the mess we call the “drug war” were rooted in financial weapons and financial gain. This is still the case today.

    Who Benefits from Making Certain Drugs Illegal?
    1) Is it people with addictions? No, be-cause they can’t get treatment. Treatment funding has dried up as money for more and bigger prisons has increased tenfold.

    2) Is it kids? No. Assuming that what’s best for kids is to keep developing bodies and minds pure, we have a system in which it is easier for them to get an unregulated substance than a regulated one. And regarding the danger to kids: if a young person of 16 or 18 or 20 experiments with different intoxicants, do we, as a culture, really believe this is more dangerous than the current “cure” for such behavior? Currently we pull such young people out of society, threaten them for years through probation, and put them into a jail cell with violent criminals.

    3) Is it citizens who benefit? Not if you figure that most people want a peaceful society to live in. Society is more violent with a system of substance prohibition (choosing to make some things illegal) than without it. Look at a graph such as the one on www.prohibitionhasfailed.com and you will see that the murder rate in this country spiked during Alcohol Prohibition (1920-33) and fell when it ended. It rose again with the updated and upgraded Drug War of the ’80s.

    4) Do taxpayers benefit? Not in the least. The federal government now spends $20 billion per year on the Failed Drug War. If you count state, local and indirect costs, that number shoots up to about $50 billion per year, not counting the billions that are starting to go to support a drug war in Colombia and elsewhere in South America. This is money that is lost forever and can never be used to care for our elderly, educate our kids, build our roads, or revamp our health care system.

    Clearly, Substance Prohibition, i.e. making certain substances illegal, is not benefiting those it claims to benefit. Professor Noam Chomsky says that if something is not achieving its stated goal, and yet it continues, it must be achieving an unstated goal. So I ask again: who benefits from making certain drugs/substances illegal?

    1) The prison industry
    2) Law enforcement agencies
    3) The military complex
    4) The pharmaceutical industry
    5) Alcohol & tobacco industries
    6) Drug testing & enforced treatment industries
    7) Banks (through money laundering)
    8) Agricultural chemical companies (eradication efforts)
    9) Oil, gas & timber industries (due to hemp prohibition)
    10) All corporations who use prison labor and the stock market (which contains vast amounts of fast-moving, untracked cash).

    For the above groups, the primary result of the drug war is profit. For you and me, the primary result of the drug war is the threat of incarceration and loss of social services. For the world in general, the primary result of the drug war—as with any war—is destruction. That is what wars do: destroy the “enemy” and whatever else gets in the way.

    That “whatever else” is called collateral damage in military terminology. And let us be very clear that, although only a metaphorical war when declared in 1974 by President Nixon, this war has become very real. The drug war destroys families, communities, economies, social infrastructure, and the environment.

    continued

  3. #3
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    Personal Collateral Damage—One of Many Millions
    I was alerted early to the dangers of Drug Prohibition. My father went to prison under a prohibition law when I was eleven years old, and these drug laws form a part of a larger continuum in an American story that circles around the issues of peace and war and civil disobedience.

    A decorated fighter pilot and the youngest captain in the Marine Corps of his day, my father grew up learning about God and country from the Baptist church and the John Birch society. He went to Vietnam in 1968 thinking he was saving the ideals of democracy and freedom. But in Vietnam, he found divisions that made no sense, a people who sought American-style independence, and a war in which high-tech bomb-dropping left no room for ideals of civilian immunity. When a cockpit injury left him convalescing in Japan, he confronted the reality of modern warfare in the Nagasaki museum.

    My mother had protested the Vietnam War as early as 1965 and in some ways must have been deeply relieved when her soldier husband quit the Marine Corps soon after I was born in 1969. But what followed was years of unease, unrest, and financial and emotional upheaval, as my father traveled the country organizing actions and speaking on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and my mother struggled to raise two babies more or less on her own.

    The first time my father went to prison, it was 1972. Hearts and Minds, a documentary about the war in Vietnam in which he spoke about his experiences, had just been released, and he and a dozen others blocked the entrance to Tinker AFB with their bodies. I wrote my first letters to my father in jail. Barred from Tinker for life, my dad was not present when my sister gave birth there to his first grandchild.

    The second time my father went to prison, it was 1980. He had a farm in Oklahoma, was building a house with his hands and living in a tent. He had gone to town to pick up supplies for himself, his partner, and their week-old son. When he came back, he was met by a group of men with guns who barred him access to his home. The arresting DEA agent was another veteran he knew. The man knocked him down while the others watched, and every time my father got up, saying, “I’m not resisting!” he was knocked down again. He’d been growing marijuana on his land and some friend or acquaintance had turned him in.

    What I find sobering (take that however you wish) is how lucky I was. The parent imprisoned was not, for me, my main support in childhood, and he wasn’t handed a 99 year sentence to serve like others who have been convicted since this war heated up. Millions of children have now lost parents and grandparents to prison, and how many others have seen spouses, siblings and good friends locked away?

    The issue behind prohibition is not and never has been one of personal or societal health. The most dangerous substances are legal. The most dangerous substances, alcohol and tobacco and many pharmaceuticals, kill a combined total of about 800,000 a year as opposed to 15,000 killed by illegal drugs.

    All of us struggle with different forms of addiction or unhealthy consumption. My father—more than some, less than others—is a mass of chemical dependencies. Of the fluid and smoky cocktail that regularly goes into his body, it is the cigarettes that cause him to cough in the night. Tobacco could be the primary cause of death for any number of my loved ones.

    But do I wish cigarettes were illegal? Absolutely not! Do you cure someone of a headache by hitting them with a hammer? I’ve talked to my dad about his smoking, and to my mother who nearly died of a stroke two years ago, and now I let it rest. I respect their choices for their bodies, their lives. This is a hard thing to do when you love someone, but it is necessary. Otherwise your concern becomes just another jail, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally.

    If Not Prohibition, Then What?
    The only law that ever made a dent in the problem of addiction was not a prohibition law at all. It was the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. People who had unknowingly become addicted to the cocaine, opium, and morphine in the many “patent medicines” (mostly rural white women) during the late 19th c., could suddenly see right on the label what ingredients were in their favorite tonics, and use dropped precipitously.

    That is an historical example of what we now need:
    • We need truth in advertising (who remembers the tobacco executives swearing before Congress that nicotine was not addictive?);

    • We need real drug education which encompasses all drugs and gives complete, factual information about possible effects and side effects (see www.mamas.org);

    • And we need a reallocation of our resources toward the Constructive (parks, schools, social services, living wage jobs) and away from the Destructive (guns, bombs, slave wages, and prisons).

    My dad doesn’t talk much about prison and I don’t ask. I know enough of what it meant. He missed the first nine months of his son’s life, came out 25 pounds thinner (the result of a long fast), and to this day dislikes East Coast mafia types. But we do talk politics. And he has come to see, as I have, that the Drug War is a powerful political issue, an immense mechanism of social control and economic profiteering.

    The base issues of fear and greed have been with us before and will be again. All we can do is address the current incarnation of social and economic and racial and environmental injustice. These things all come together in the prohibition laws.

    Watching carefully for the past twenty years, I have seen the environment sacrificed, the educational system underfunded, African-Americans and Latinos jailed at rates up to 17 times higher than whites, and the Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties of every U.S. citizen suffer under policies which are differentially enforced, ineffective when enforced, and which are used to justify numerous and far more serious sins.

    It is important to make these connections between the movement to end substance prohibition and the movements seeking to defend women’s rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and the right to clean air and water. We cannot let them commercialize and then criminalize our culture and our environment any longer. Only a small sector of the population, generally those at the top of the corporate ladder, are being well served by current laws, and a very broad range of purposes and people will be served by changing this wrong-headed and brutally destructive policy.

    Breaking the Silence
    The only thing holding us back from having a sane drug policy, and a more successful and peaceful society, is the silence we now share between us. It is as if we all collude in this madness. We are not talking enough about the destruction being wrought in our names and with our tax dollars, under the flag of the War on Drugs. We must begin a conversation among our families, our neighbors, our faith communities, our business communities and our governmental communities that tells the history and faces facts about the War on Drugs.

    When we wave away the smoke from the guns of government and corporate-sponsored propaganda, and simply look around us, we can see clearly how out of balance is the scale that weighs the costs and the benefits of prohibition. We can see how out of balance are the scales of justice, with one million people in prison for drug offenses today. We can see how out of balance are energy policies which refuse to consider the impact of outlawing hemp, one of the most environmentally useful substances on the planet. We can see how out of balance are environmental policies which poison the most fragile and diverse of ecosystems with thousands of tons of toxic herbicides. We can see how out of balance are laws that tear apart families in the name of family values.

    Once we start to see clearly, we will take the next step . . . and the next. It will not take long then to repeal these laws. When that happens, the peace, the energy, and the resources that we will feed back into our daily lives rather than into a war machine will truly add much to the common good.

    .

  4. #4
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    The War On Drugs and Drug Prohibition

    Drug War History
    By Andrew Somers, Your Guide to Civil Liberty

    History: At the federal level, the first (and most effective) law targeted toward recreational substances (and other drugs) was the Food and Drugs Act of 1906 (which began as a grass roots movement in the 1870's). This act did not create prohibitions - what it did do was ensure that products met standards of purity, and were honestly labeled. (Up until that time "patent medicines" aka "snake oil" were widely sold - many of these products contained addictive narcotics, resulting in many unintentional addictions).

    At the turn of the 20th century there was an increasingly prohibitionist attitude in the country. Between 1905 and 1917 Many states were banning alcohol and other drugs.

    The first national legislation came in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Control Act. "Intended" as a law to regulate the sale of certain narcotics (opium, heroin, cocaine). While claims were made that this law was not to be prohibitionary, the taxes relating to the sale of the regulated substances were ultimately raised to a level that made them prohibitionary in nature. The seeds for the modern drug war were sewn.

    In 1917 the congress approved the 18th amendment to the constitution, which the necessary states ratified, becoming law in 1920. This brought a nationwide prohibition of alcohol. Initially alcohol consumption dropped, but in a few short years organized crime gangs filled the demand for alcohol. Violence and crime flourished, funded by the ill-gotten gains of the illegal alcohol black market. Alcohol use steadily rose to exceed pre-prohibition levels.

    The crime and other social problems associated with prohibition were clear for all to see, and in 1933 the 21st amendment to the constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th amendment and ending national alcohol prohibition. The laws relating to other drugs however, remained in place.

    In 1937, another tax act was introduced, this one targeting Marijuana (which up to this time was legal, and in fact a commonly used drug in the U.S. Pharmacopeia).

    In 1965 (under President Johnson) the Drug Abuse Control Amendments were passed, creating the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control. (it's interesting to note that from 1965 forward, the national homicide rate began a sharp increase, as did drug use among 12-17 year olds).

    In 1969, shortly after his inauguration, President Nixon declared a war on drugs and crime.

    In 1970 the modern "War On Drugs" is born as the "Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act". Title II (the "Controlled Substances Act" or "CSA") established 5 "schedules" of substances, with schedule "one" prohibiting substances even from medical use (Marijuana was placed in schedule one, despite the recommendations of the task force that marijuana not be criminalized). The CSA affects an absolute prohibition on many substances, and provides for federal law enforcement to act even on an intrastate level.

    In 1973 Nixon reorganizes the various federal drug law enforcement agencies into the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA.

    In 1986 Nancy Reagan begins the "Just Say No" campaign. While there is an initial drop in drug use, drug use again rises rapidly within a few years.

    In 1988 the Office Of National Drug Control Policy (office of the "Drug Czar) is formed. The first Drug Czar is William Bennett (who ironically is a smoker, drinker, and compulsive gambler).

    In 1994 and 1997, the RAND Corporation releases reports showing that drug treatment and education is 7 times more cost effective than criminal interdiction.

    In 1996 California voters passed Prop. 215, which legalized medical marijuana. Since then the voters in 7 more states have passed laws making medical marijuana legal, and a total of 27 states have some form of medical marijuana access law.

    MORE

  5. #5
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    The war on drugs is deplorably pathetic at best. It has done nothing but destroy families and cost tax payers hundreds of billions if not trillions.

    In a truly free society, a person who has reached the age of majority (eighteen) ought to be allowed to put into their bodies whatever the hell they want. By the same token they ought to except full moral and legal responsibility for their actions that may result.

  6. #6
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Samael
    The war on drugs is deplorably pathetic at best. It has done nothing but destroy families and cost tax payers hundreds of billions if not trillions.

    In a truly free society, a person who has reached the age of majority (eighteen) ought to be allowed to put into their bodies whatever the hell they want. By the same token they ought to except full moral and legal responsibility for their actions that may result.

    So, what do you think Samael? Will the War on Terror ever prove to be any less deplorably pathetic in the long run than the War on Drugs proved to be?

    My thinking is that it will accomplish nothing except destroy families, cost tax payers trillions of dollars and only serve to divide an already volatile world even more. I don't think we will EVER stop terrorism any more than we have managed to stop drug traffic and abuse, do you?

    Namaste'

    Lady Mod

  7. #7
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    You may very well be right.

  8. #8
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    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    Still losing the war.
    *****************************

    Potent Mexican Meth Floods In as States Curb Domestic Variety
    By KATE ZERNIKE

    DES MOINES, Jan. 18 - In the seven months since Iowa passed a law restricting the sale of cold medicines used to make methamphetamine, seizures of homemade methamphetamine laboratories have dropped to just 20 a month from 120. People once terrified about the neighbor's house blowing up now walk up to the state's drug policy director, Marvin Van Haaften, at his local Wal-Mart to thank him for making them safer.

    But Mr. Van Haaften, like officials in other states with similar restrictions, is now worried about a new problem: the drop in home-cooked methamphetamine has been met by a new flood of crystal methamphetamine coming largely from Mexico.

    Sometimes called ice, crystal methamphetamine is far purer, and therefore even more highly addictive, than powdered home-cooked methamphetamine, a change that health officials say has led to greater risk of overdose. And because crystal methamphetamine costs more, the police say thefts are increasing, as people who once cooked at home now have to buy it.

    The University of Iowa Burn Center, which in 2004 spent $2.8 million treating people whose skin had been scorched off by the toxic chemicals used to make methamphetamine at home, says it now sees hardly any cases of that sort. Drug treatment centers, on the other hand, say they are treating just as many or more methamphetamine addicts.

    And although child welfare officials say they are removing fewer children from homes where parents are cooking the drug, the number of children being removed from homes where parents are using it has more than made up the difference.

    "It's killing us, this Mexican ice," said Mr. Van Haaften, a former sheriff. "I'm not sure we can control it as well as we can the meth labs in your community."

    The influx of the more potent drug shows the fierce hold of methamphetamine, which has devastated many towns once far removed from violent crime or drugs. As Congress prepares to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine, the cold medicine ingredient that is used to make methamphetamine, officials here and in other states that have recently imposed similar restrictions caution that they fall far short of a solution.

    "You can't legislate away demand," said Betty Oldenkamp, secretary of human services in South Dakota, where the governor this month proposed tightening a law that last year restricted customers to two packs of pseudoephedrine per store. "The law enforcement aspects are tremendously important, but we also have to do something to address the demand."

    Here, officials boast that their law restricting pseudoephedrine, which took effect in May, has been faster than any other state's in reducing methamphetamine laboratories. Still, when Mr. Van Haaften, director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy, surveyed the local police, 74 percent said that the law had not changed demand, and 61 percent said supply had remained steady or increased.

    In a survey of treatment professionals, 92 percent said they had seen as many or more methamphetamine addicts; the state treated 6,000 in 2005 and expects to treat more than 7,000 this year, based on current trends. Some health officials said abuse among women, typically the biggest users of methamphetamine, was rising particularly fast.

    While seizures of powdered methamphetamine declined to 4,572 in 2005 from 6,488 in 2001, seizures of crystal methamphetamine increased, to 2,025 from one.

    Federal drug agents tend to describe ice as methamphetamine that is at least 90 percent pure. Officials here say much of their crystal methamphetamine is less pure - "dirty ice," they call it. But either is far more potent than homemade powdered methamphetamine; a "good cook" yields a drug that is about 42 percent pure, but around 25 percent is more common. And in the first four months after the law took effect here, average purity went to 80 percent from 47 percent.

    Other states have seen the same.

    "The Mexican drug cartels were right there to feed that demand," said Tom Cunningham, the drug task force coordinator for the district attorneys council for Oklahoma, the first state to put pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters, in 2004. "They have always supplied marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. When we took away the local meth lab, they simply added methamphetamine to the truck."

    A methamphetamine cook could make an ounce for $50 on a stovetop or in a lab in a car; that same amount now costs $800 to $1,500 on the street, the police say.

    "Our burglaries have just skyrocketed," said Jerry Furness, who represents Buchanan County, 150 miles northeast of Des Moines, on the Iowa drug task force. "The state asks how the decrease in meth labs has reduced danger to citizens, and it has, as far as potential explosions. But we've had a lot of burglaries where the occupants are home at the time, and that's probably more of a risk. So it's kind of evening out."

    When the state surveyed the children in state protection in southeastern Iowa four months after the law took effect, it found that 49 percent were taken from parents who had been using methamphetamine, the same percentage as two years earlier, even as police said they were removing fewer children from homes with laboratories.

    Some law enforcement officials say that addicts may find the crystal form more desirable. "If they don't have to mess with precursor chemicals, it's actually a bit easier on them, and safer," said Kevin Glaser, a drug task force supervisor for the state highway patrol in Missouri, which last year led the nation in methamphetamine lab seizures.

    But the switch has also increased the risks. "People are overdosing; they're not expecting it to do this much," said Darcy Jensen, director of Prairie View Prevention Services in South Dakota. "They don't realize that that fourth of a gram they're used to using is double or triple in potency."

    Federal officials say there are 1.4 million methamphetamine addicts in the United States, concentrated in the West, where the drug began to take hold in the late 1980's, and the Midwest and South, where it moved in the mid- and late 1990's.

    Drug enforcement officials have always said that 80 percent of the nation's supply comes from so-called super labs, those able to make 10 pounds or more. But in some counties here, officials say that all the methamphetamine came from mom-and-pop labs that made the drug by cooking pseudoephedrine with toxic farm and household chemicals.

    Law enforcement focused on the laboratories because they were so destructive: the police found children who had drunk lye thinking it was water, or went without food as parents went through the long binge-and-sleep cycles of using. Laboratories in homes, motels, abandoned farm buildings or cars frequently exploded, or dumped their toxic chemicals into drains or soil. Small police departments spent much of their time attending to contaminated sites.

    More than 30 states have restricted pseudoephedrine in some way. Nine have put it behind pharmacy counters, and Oregon now requires a prescription to obtain it.

    Addicts and cookers have proved to be skilled at getting around the restrictions; as one state imposes a law, bordering states see an increase in laboratories. Oklahoma recently linked its pharmacies by a computer database to track sales after discovering that cooks were going county-to-county buying from several pharmacies a day.

    Iowa's law passed unanimously. As in other states, officials say the number of laboratories had already begun to decline, most likely because cooks feared they would be caught because there was so much public attention on the problem.

    The law resulted in a decline of at least 80 percent. Police found 138 laboratories from June to December, down from 673 for the same period the year before. The state had hit a high of 1,500 lab busts in 2004, but with the law, had 731 for 2005, and expects just 257 this year. Law enforcement says the costs of policing and cleaning up labs will drop to $528,000 next year from $2.6 million in 2004.

    But here and in many of the states with recent pseudoephedrine restrictions, frustration with the stubborn rate of addiction has moved the discussion from enforcement to treatment and demand reduction.

    That discussion, officials say, will be much tougher.

    After listening to Mr. Van Haaften's report on the effects of the law this week, State Representative Clel Baudler, a former state trooper who now heads the public safety committee for the Iowa General Assembly, charged his committee to come back to the next meeting with strategies to reduce demand.

    "My fear is, when I ask what they think we should do, they'll say 'I don't know,' " Mr. Baudler said in an interview afterward. "We've increased penalties, we've increased prison time, we're still not getting in front of it."

    Officials say they never advertised the law as one that would reduce methamphetamine addiction. Still, they are surprised at how the drug has hung on.

    "Things that are highly destructive, including diseases, tend to be self-limiting," said Arthur Schut, president of the Mid-Eastern Council on Chemical Abuse in Iowa City, and a member of the state's drug policy advisory council. "This has been devastating. It's remarkable how quickly people are damaged by it."

    Mr. Van Haaften, too, knows that it was too much to hope that the law would reduce demand. Still, he says, "I had a little hope."

    "I knew of the addictive nature, but in my heart, I believed people didn't want to deal with dealers," he said. "They have guns, it's dangerous, if you make your own it's safer. I hoped for a dip, but the availability did not allow that to happen."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    554

    Re: How do we expect to win a War on Terror if we can't even win a War on Drugs?

    If you can’t bring the Mexicans to the U.S. to work, take the work to them. Oh, were doing both aren’t we.

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