America spends hundreds of billions of dollars on its ‘‘War on Drugs’’ (a major sum of which is generated by grossly unjust mandatory minimum sentencing laws), and yet, don’t be misled by those exciting busts on Cops, we’re nowhere near winning the war. Drugs are more readily available than ever. They are rampant throughout the entire country.

And while indeed most illegal drugs are dangerous and can destroy people’s lives (not to mention lead people to lives of crime to support their addiction), the fact is the selling and using of drugs by itself isn’t a violent crime. It is passive, and harms no one directly except for those who choose to use.

To wage a multi-billion dollar war against non-aggressive, passive ‘‘criminals’’ is as futile as would be outlawing pleasure, and is obviously being met with as much success. And yet despite the continuing failure of their ‘‘War on Drugs,’’ politicians, rather than face the facts and consider the alternatives, continue to endorse this unwinnable war as though it were the only conceivable option.

What most people don’t seem willing to accept is the fact that part of the cause of substance abuse is our society’s very refusal to accept recreational drugs (except for alcohol, Valium and Prozac, of course) into the culture in any reasonable or realistic manner. Instead the general attitude is that of staunch disapproval, as personified by D.A.R.E. and Nancy Reagan’s ‘‘just say no’’ campaign.

How are kids supposed to learn anything if all our society does is preach the righteousness of abstinence, tell them that they should just ignore and suppress their natural curiosity? Said approach is really the least effective deterrent (not to mention that for a teenager the forbidden fruit is just that much sweeter); most kids don’t respect such authoritarian attitude like they once did——and isn’t it a good thing? Well, no, not to everyone it isn’t.

Limbaugh’s approach to prevention is simplicity personified. ‘‘How much extra does it cost to have a teacher instruct students not to get involved with drugs? [As if this hasn’t already been going on for decades!] What else is there to say? How can there be any debate about that?. . . . We simply tell our kids what they should and should not do. . . .’’ Limbaugh’s sentiments are not uniquely his own——sadly they reflect the mentality of a great number of people.

To simply advocate dour standards of behavior is the worst way by which to keep kids from abusing drugs. If left only to what they are told is acceptable, then this more than anything will misguide them. Why? Because it is only natural for every individual (if not now then eventually) to look beyond social conventions and look within for guidance, ultimately making their own life decisions.

And when people inevitably make their own choices they’ll surely make bad ones if they’ve never been encouraged to do this, to be the navigator of their own destiny in all circumstances. So when it comes to trying cocaine or heroin, people are that much more likely to make the wrong decision if all they’ve been taught to do is blindly follow the will of others.


The only long-term prevention to drug abuse is through education. Reality-based information and not the laughable scare tactics employed by D.A.R.E. and in health classes, where all drugs get lumped into the same indiscriminate category which preaches that they’ll melt your brain and drive you insane.

Drug experimentation isn’t wrong onto itself. The real problem begins when those not properly educated begin to experiment——the problem begins when little Johnny takes a puff off a joint with his pals and his mind doesn’t explode like he’s been taught; in fact, maybe he’ll find it to be a strange and unusual, pretty darn enjoyable experience. Now how’s this kid supposed to believe any other drug info when they’ve illegalized and demonized this marijuana shit and it clearly isn’t all that?

That’s when the line becomes dangerously blurred between addictive substances and those drugs whose risk is moderate, and when someone becomes much more willing to experiment with heroin, cocaine, crack, speed, and all that junk. It’s like blurring the line between protective and non-protective sex by telling kids that all sex kills unless married as a virgin.

For a drug education to be effective, it’s gotta be less preachy. Today’s methodology is far too biased toward only teaching about the worst aspects of drugs. If all an education ever does is put emphasis on and highlight the negative aspects, then a person who uses for the first time——like little Johnny——might completely forget about all that bad stuff in lieu of this new pleasurable experience (gettin’ irie). But if the education were more rounded, then they’d be that much more likely to also remember the negative stuff. Knowing about a drugs positive effects will make it that much easier for kids to take the negative stuff seriously, to trust this secondhand ‘‘truth’’ given to them by these questionable figures of authority.

Students should be able to take this seriously if they feel the education is honest. But most kids know it isn’t honest——how can students be expected to trust their teachers when they’re so obviously bent towards demonizing all drugs?

Also of fair importance is inspiring students to make their own personal decisions (about things like drug use/experimentation), a notion that’s never been exceedingly popular.

Young people shouldn’t be dependent on rules or the such to make their minds up for them or shape their awareness, lest it be a strictly limited one. They shouldn’t let friends, peers, or authority figures actively guide their actions. Rather, they should be encouraged to decide what’s in their own best interest, guiding themselves in doing only that which they truly want and feel right about doing for themselves, for their own pleasure or curiosity.


The United States has a proud puritanical history of outlawing that deemed impure, even when these things are never substantiated to be a genuine public threat. Booze was banned under the 18th Amendment (1919) and repealed by the 21st Amendment (1933). In 1931 one Harry J. Anslinger was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics, a man who had helped run the failed Prohibition of alcohol just a short time earlier. Marijuana was then illegalized in 1937 under the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act, only 4 years after Prohibition ended. Just a coincidence? Me thinks not. Those individuals hired under Prohibition needed another enemy, another substance to demonize like they had done to alcohol just 18 years earlier. Since reefer became a popular alternative to alcohol, once Prohibition ended (and with the prompting of greedy pharmaceutical companies) marijuana became a prime target: Public Enemy #1!

Yes, I’ve smoked the herb. And still do on occasion. I admit that with no shame, nor any insecure pride. It’s simply something I enjoy to do.

Take it from a guy who once took a few chugs from a bottle of gin, went to the cinema, and ended up puking and passing out three minutes into the feature (The War of the Roses——and no, that’s not a comment on the movie): marijuana is just as, if not far less, harmful to a person’s health than alcohol.

In fact, many, including myself, would argue that the benefits of marijuana (such as industrial and medical, see Appendixes IV & V) far outweigh any benefits derived from alcohol, whereas the downside of alcohol far outweighs that of marijuana. The knowledge is there; people have known this for a long time. In 1988 the DEA’s own administrative judge declared that ‘‘marijuana is one of the safest, therapeutically active substances known to man.’’ Yet the media is more likely to get some goofball like the Reverend Bud Green as a marijuana legalization advocate (a guy who smokes pot sacramentally to pray to Christ——think Limbaugh’s gonna defend this form of ‘‘prayer in the classroom’’?) as opposed to a reputable representative from Marijuana Policy Project, the National Organization For The Reform of Marijuana Laws, or any group seriously committed to its legalization.

Alcoholism is rampant around the planet (sexy beer commercials glamorizing drinking!) and is a real sick addiction, but of all the potheads I’ve known, only one or two really seemed hooked, and even then their ‘‘addiction’’ was quite subtle.

Marijuana certainly can be addictive, but it is safe enough that its responsible use is dependent on each individual. Whether genetically predisposed to addiction because of an alcoholic parent or because of psychological problems, many of those who do become addicted are people with addictive personalities. Anything can become addicting. People become addicted to nasal spray for cripes sake! Food can be addictive for some. So whereas, yes, marijuana can be addictive, it is safe enough that people can (and therefore should) be entrusted to make their own choice whether to use much better than the government can make that decision for us.

Probably the worst myth regarding marijuana is that it’s a gateway drug that leads users to heavier drugs like cocaine and heroin. People who go on to cocaine or heroin might’ve occasionally blazed a joint, but they probably also downed a little liquor, smoked cigarettes, drank milk, and had had at least one turbulent relationship or occurrence in their life too.

Coincidence? More likely than not, yes.

The most serious way marijuana might lead to the use of heavier drugs is simply by virtue of the fact that it’s illegal like these other substances. Which means that someone who wants to hook up a little ganja might find themselves in an environment laced with all these other drugs, thus making their availability and the temptation to try them that much greater.

Painting crystal-clear distinctions between these substances in the law is far more important than in a classroom, as the society and law are the larger classroom by which most people get a general sense of what’s what. Way things are now this line becomes easily blurred, making it that much easier for people to foolishly cross it and become addicted to a narcotic or stimulant.

But by allowing a legal alternative to alcohol people can enjoy to relieve the pressures of everyday living (besides the pharmaceutical fix many people indulge in to do the same thing), then they’ll be reducing the attractiveness people feel towards this drug-culture, wherein lie these direly addictive substances and which marijuana will remain a major part of as long as it remains illegal.


Some prudes may argue that even these supposed ‘‘recreational’’ drugs such as marijuana contain an element of risk, don’t they? Yes, of course: what a naive question. You should be ashamed for having asked it. Everything in life contains an element of risk——nowadays that includes drinking the water and breathing the air, not to mention the act whose worst repercussion used to just be pregnancy.

The question is, in deciding the law how should the government approach such matters of public safety? When one thinks about it, the answer’s almost self-evident. The government should allow citizens the opportunity to do that whose safety or danger depends almost solely on the responsibility of the individual. The use of cocaine or heroin has little to do with the responsibility of the individual——I don’t care if you’re the Pope or the Dalai Lama, anyone could become easily addicted to these.

Marijuana is a drug that, like alcohol, is not for everyone and can be used dangerously, but whose safe use is still largely dependent on each individual.

Danger is simply an element of life. But so long as people continue to deny this, and as long as the great differences between all drugs aren’t made perfectly clear, then the path to true danger will continue to be bridged and subsequently crossed, in part because of our refusal to accept manageable risks like marijuana.

I’m not suggesting people start smoking weed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not talking about endorsing marijuana as this perfectly safe drug to be used frivolously and with carefree abandon; it’s definitely NC-18 stuff. Moderation is the key word.

Yes, marijuana can be used to excess. So can alcohol and movie theater popcorn popped in coconut oil. Are we gonna have the government illegalize anything and everything that might be dangerous if used to excess? Do we want them to watch our every step, make our personal decisions, and wipe our backsides for us our entire lives?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but am quite confident that I myself prefer not to live a sheltered existence. Open and knowledgeable, OK; but sheltered, ignorant, and afraid of life? Thanks, no.


Stimulants and narcotics are by far the sickest substances around, as they’re responsible for most of the tragic consequences of drug use. Hopefully use of this dope can be further curved by such educational and legal steps as I just described. But taking measures to prevent use is only half the problem; there are still those already using and those who inevitably will try these drugs, despite all preventative measures. There is still the need to prevent potential addicts by diminishing the street supply.

But how is such a thing done? More cops and more prisons?

Done strategically and efficiently, sure, that might have a slight effect on the availability of these drugs. But not much, unless we gain a boost in technology or the funds for such manpower as to guard our borders so thoroughly. As long there’s a demand, the supply will never run out in our lifetimes. Therefore the state must do what they can to satisfy the demand just as well, if not better than, they also prevent the supply.

So, what? Just give up and legalize narcotics/stimulants like any other recreational drug?

That’s not even an option in my mind. They are far too dangerous. But controlling the drugs is another matter entirely. How? By looking upon and truly accepting addiction as a medical problem, and by treating addicts as such knowing that their addiction will never go away by denying them drugs.

We Yanks would do good to take a cue from our friends across the Atlantic and their policy toward dealing with this dope shite. The Mersey Harm Reduction Model in Liverpool, England, is a gradual treatment program wherein addicts can purchase a pharmaceutical fix of the drug they’re addicted to. Addiction is more than just a mental weakness, it’s a physical dependency that often the addict feels absolutely no control over. Trying to keep the drugs away from addicts is pointless——most such drugs come here to go to full-time customers. And then addicts may themselves turn friends or acquaintances on to their drug habit. Which is why the primary concern is their availability to the novice dope-fiend. And the only way to substantially diminish this street supply is by ebbing the addict’s demand from the street into pharmaceutical addiction-treatment programs.

The idea of such a program may sound somewhat radical, when in fact we’ve had a similar program in effect here for a couple decades: it’s called a methadone clinic. Course, methadone was meant to help free heroin users from their addiction, not support it. The program’s a miserable failure, though——very few get off heroin because of it, and many of those who do end up getting addicted to methadone instead.

Establishment of an addiction-treatment program similar to the Mersey Harm Reduction Model would allow addicts to function in their everyday life until they seek treatment, and would keep the street-demand low so that potential first-time users won’t be able to find the drugs as easily.


Medicalization of addiction would also have significant repercussions in the crime rate. You’d have to be seriously defunct in your mental capacities indeed not to make some basic connection between all the crime and gang activity taking place in our country and these drugs, not to link much of the violence happening in our streets directly or subsequently to the incredible amount of revenue such substances generate. The money created by demand for these drugs——billions upon billions——strongly fuels crime and gang activity, revenue that keeps this way of life appealing.

When alcohol was illegalized, what happened? It boosted the rise of crime and violence, bribery and corruption in local government. It was the best thing that ever happened to mobsters like Al Capone. When Prohibition ended, crime certainly didn’t end with it, but legalization did take this power of supply and demand, of all this money, out of the hands of criminals.

It’s not premature to assume that the illegal drug market today is far richer than the moonshine market during Prohibition, and that the element of crime today is much wider spread than the organized gangs of that era. And thus it is equally fair to assume that, were this drug demand and supply better dealt with, if this drug revenue were taken away from the criminal element, the impact on crime in this country would be wide-reaching.

In fact, if I had to attribute the deterioration of our inner cities to specific causes, drug prohibition would certainly be one of the largest and most profound contributing factors. The legalization of marijuana and the medicalization of addiction won’t end all these problems, but at the very least it’d soften the lure and attractiveness of a life of crime, for which drug revenue is an enormous part of.


Even if the reader agrees this to be a good idea in theory, many may argue that Middle America will never accept such realism, but will continue to oppose drugs on broad based ideals. But we control our culture, and this kind of dramatic change is possible. People must be educated. If enough people come to this same realization, this can occur.

But then again, there are strong, discouraging cues in our society all the time.

U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders was fired by Clinton, little more than a month after Republicans swept the ’94 House and Senate elections, supposedly because she said something about masturbation. Were it truly that remark for which she was fired, then this would excellently demonstrate how I believe she wasn’t fired for what she said so much as how she said it. She didn’t always express herself quite as eloquently as most politicians feel comfortable with, and I’d even go so far as to say she seemed to have something of a mild speech impediment. She certainly left herself open for misinterpretation with her masturbation comment.

Speaking at an AIDS function, she said, ‘‘As per your specific question in regard to masturbation, I think that . . . it’s a part of something that perhaps should be taught.’’

Perhaps Jocelyn Elders wasn’t the best Surgeon General; some of her comments regarding Catholics having ‘‘a love affair with fetuses’’ were particularly poorly-expressed. Other than that bit of ugliness, though, she was a tremendous breath of fresh air, the way she recommended the government examine the prospect of drug legalization, which surely was one of the main reasons she was actually fired. When Elders suggested that they look into the theoretical possibility of ‘‘legalizing’’ drugs, the Clinton administration tried to distance itself from her as much as possible, and politicians in both parties scurried like the popularity-poll worshipping cockroaches they are when you flip the kitchen light on after dark.

Prior to election ’96, President Clinton put forth his own drug plan, beginning with the groundbreaking idea of ‘‘encouraging young people to reject drugs.’’ After Clinton’s speech, Gen. Barry McCaffrey (the federal drug policy coordinator) said, ‘‘There is no reason why we can’t return America to a 1960s level, pre-Vietnam era level of drug use.’’ Are these guys delusional? Even more recently Clinton encouraged Hollywood to produce more responsible entertainment. ‘‘Never glorify drugs, but more importantly, tell our children the truth. Show them that drug use is really a death sentence.’’ Ah yes, the truth. Something Washington politicians and Hollywood producers have a real mastery of.

You might have noticed the almost complete lack of mention of Limbaugh in this chapter. That’s because while I very easily could’ve found numerous examples of his and other conservatives anti-drug sentiments to nit-pick over, these views are so incredibly simplistic it didn’t seem to serve any legitimate purpose to do so. Nancy Reagan coined the simplicity of the stance. And so I figured, why waste valuable time chronicling Limbaugh’s redundant feelings towards the prospect of such drug legalization? His position goes without saying, and anything I write on the subject is by default a direct opposition to said position.

So long as ‘‘just say no’’ remains our societal norm, people will continue to use nonchalantly, and the crime and many subsequent problems will persist without end.

Sincere drug education, marijuana legalization, and addiction medicalization is what poses to help solve many of these problems. More people might be tokin’ the chronic, but in the long run I believe such legal and educational steps would trigger a significant decline in the use of narcotics and stimulants——and what’s more, would allow those who experiment to do so more aware and knowledgeable about what exactly they’re getting themselves into.


Main    Read the book    Download the book