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Making more sense

December 21, 2013

In a recent conversation with a local mail carrier about the disappointing failure of the drug war, he stated that the solution to the problems with the use of illegal street drugs is to take the......

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spike2

Dec-22-13 10:36 AM

erik - if someone has a DUI with drugs in their system, they are charged at the highest rate. DUI in Pa is alcohol or drugs. Some states have a separate name for the two, not so here.

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CarlHiller

Dec-22-13 8:46 AM

The question has to be, can the criminal justice system solve this particular problem? No! It is a moneymaker for them as well as drug dealers. Remove the money. The US has spent over $1 trillion, not counting forfeiture monies and much of that from innocent people, over 40 some years and drug usage and drug violence have not been reduced. Either you have a massive reduction in civil rights, like mandatory drug testing for anyone at anytime, mandatory vehicle stop and search for anyone at anytime, mandatory strip searching of anyone whenever police desire, or you have to look at some radical solutions which may include legalization.

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CarlHiller

Dec-22-13 8:26 AM

ToTEXASfromPA - I do not disagree that there might be other ways, although with what there is to work with today in government, any other than legalization probably won't work. We do not have a free market to work with any longer, so why not legalize, tax and regulate? As long as courts and DA's tend to negotiate rather than prosecute to the fullest extent of the law you will continue to have a violent drug trade. When you remove the tax free profit motive from the trade then you will see a decrease in violence. I will have to state that I agree with Vince's sarcasm in 1 of his early posts that giving people free money does not help the situation. So in order to fix any situation you have to work with what can be done. The drug trade is very similar to illegal immigration, when government won't enforce the laws you always get more of it. Making laws tougher will not cure the problem. Prohibition proved that.

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CarlHiller

Dec-22-13 8:10 AM

Mike, What I stated had nothing to do with alcoholism or the sex trade. Alcohol is legal. While there are cases of violence due to the use of alcohol, because it is legal the majority do not commit acts of violence. What I was simply saying is that it may be time to change the way of thinking on the issue. The "war on drugs" has only increased usage and violence. If it takes, like alcohol did during Prohibition which caused much violence, making it legal to remove the money from the violent dealers, users and cartels then maybe it is time to legalize drugs. DOJ murder rates appear to rise and fall in the United States lockstep with drug and alcohol prohibitions over the course of the 20th century. Look it up. Sadly, I do not have an answer for the sex trade, nor do I believe it should be legal. There is a difference though because sex slavery involves 3 or more individuals with 1 being an unwilling participant. Whereas drugs and alcohol involve a mutual agreement.

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Capricorn1

Dec-22-13 5:54 AM

Decrim' may be an interim step, but looking the other way isn't a good long term policy. -David

The same can be said about illegal immigration. I just think it's sad that we have gotten to the point where we are actually debating either choice.

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DavidBross

Dec-21-13 10:16 PM

Given the comments regarding decriminalization and legalization, I think legalization is the way to go. Decrim' may be an interim step, but looking the other way isn't a good long term policy.

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Millwe

Dec-21-13 9:05 PM

I don't know what the answer is, either but it is a fact that the "war on drugs" has been going on for decades. Job security for everyone involved. Legalization is somewhat frightening but would take away the criminal element. Suggested reading from Defining Ideas (we could use some in Billtown!) Hoover Institutional Journal by George Shultz. To hopeforfuture--you should probably change your name!

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underwood

Dec-21-13 6:44 PM

Cap, logically, what we’ve been doing is very costly, doesn’t work and people can get all the drugs they want now. I agree we should educate kids how to make sensible choices and we should treat any kind of addiction as an illness.

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Capricorn1

Dec-21-13 6:28 PM

Phil, I don't know what the answer is. I just know the thought of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs such as meth and her oin just downright scares me. There is no comparing highly addictive drugs like these to marijuana or alcohol like some may contend. Have we really gotten to the point where we need to look at taking these steps? I agree that we need to start thinking outside the box, but there has to be better ways and they can start with a more realistic, in your face educational approach for our youth and more resources being placed on rehabilitation and counseling. We can't just give up and allow these harder drugs to go unchecked. Do we do the same with prescription meds that so many are addicted to? Should pharmacies just start selling them without prescriptions? Where does it end?

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RealAmerican

Dec-21-13 6:09 PM

I don't see free-market capitalism when there are laws to buy automotive and health care insurance. Just an observation.

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RealAmerican

Dec-21-13 6:07 PM

The government forces us to be accountable through partnerships with insurance companies. They force us to be accountable with our auto!otive behavior by having laws we buy car insurance. They force some people to be finamcially accountable with our property with flood insurance. Now, in 2014, they force us to be accountable for our health with laws that we buy health insurance. How is this free-market capitalism when the governmemt makes laws to make us buy car, health and sometimes property insurance? Can anyone answer this question? Seriously. Is this crony capitalism? Casino capitalism?

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underwood

Dec-21-13 5:48 PM

Cap, I broke down and looked them up and you’re precisely correct. Now we have to debate whether to decriminalize them or legalize them. Darn subject just got more complicated.

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LaughIn

Dec-21-13 5:44 PM

Capricorn, your 12:15 pm posting says it all.

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eriklatranyi

Dec-21-13 5:11 PM

Yes, Phil. We do not have much accountability or personal responsibility built into our legal system....thanks to defense lawyers who go on to become politicians!

Who would oppose tough sentences for those causing accidents while under the influence of drugs?

DUI laws are supposed to cover this, but are rarely enforced as it requires a blood sample.

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Capricorn1

Dec-21-13 3:25 PM

Phil, I just know decriminalization does not make something legal. It may no longer make it criminal, but it still carries fines such as traffic violations.

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cheyenne

Dec-21-13 3:20 PM

"Do people have an obligation to become productive member of society?"- JerryfromRI.

Good question, Jerry. I say no. Here's one for you. Should those who strived to be successful and prosperous, have an obligation to be nanny for those who chose not to?

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underwood

Dec-21-13 2:50 PM

Cap, I’ve always thought that decriminalization was simply not making something illegal or criminal. It’s pretty much neutral imo, as it doesn’t imply accepting something as OK, just not criminal. Are we dealing with semantics?

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Capricorn1

Dec-21-13 2:29 PM

Phil, the letter writer and some on here are talking about legalization, not decriminalization, which is different. You are suggesting decriminalization which would free up law enforcement and the criminal justice system which is over burdened enforcing and adjudicating drug laws. It would not however make these drugs legal. That is basically what some states are already doing with marijuana and it seems to be the first step towards legalization. IMO before they take that approach they need to step up resources available to help those that abuse these harder drugs. If you're going to turn you're back to the use of these drugs (decriminalization) you should be ready to deal with the consequences. Decriminalization will also not stop the crime that comes with the distribution and use of these drugs.

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underwood

Dec-21-13 2:26 PM

Erik, isn’t that the way it is now except for the responsibility part?

Some like to blame everything but personal choice.

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eriklatranyi

Dec-21-13 2:18 PM

Decriminalizing alone would be disastrous.

Accountability is required.

If someone is in an accident, they should be tested for drugs and alcohol. If found positive, potential jail time comes into play.

Hold users responsible for their choice!

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RealAmerican

Dec-21-13 2:02 PM

Is this LTE a parody of liberalism? Give away drugs for free? Heck, im gonna have to start talking fema comcentrashun camps

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underwood

Dec-21-13 1:36 PM

Cap, decriminalizing something doesn’t mean approving it. As far as most of the present-day crimes were discussing, they’re available and used or practiced now and I doubt if decriminalizing them would make a whole lot of difference except for saving a whole lot of our wealth spent on attempting to enforce those laws and trying and punishing perps.

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Capricorn1

Dec-21-13 12:15 PM

Do any of you have a close family member that is addicted to these harder drugs? You may think differently if the consequences are up front and personal. Legalizing marijuana is one thing, but legalizing drugs such as meth and her oin is a whole different ballgame.

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MrShaman

Dec-21-13 11:51 AM

"Free drugs, really?How would the amounts given be controlled, Punch cards? Who would monitor this, the State Store employee? After injecting, snorting, or smoking their drugs in the parking lot, will they get a free cab ride home too?" - LaughIn

*

You've (obviously) already figured-out how to deal with those local-"rummies", who do the same...sittin' in bars, drinkin' shots.

How do you get THEM home??

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MrShaman

Dec-21-13 11:44 AM

"60 Minutes had a show a couple years ago on how England brought down the crime rate by giving H cigarettes for free to people who said they were drug addicts. H is not expensive if bought in bulk and England's plan dropped crime rates by 90%.

But on the other hand, I have seen what happens with cheap drugs. Was in DaNang, RVN in '71 & '72 when the US Marines ran the H trade and because it was cheap, guys were zonked out every night like zombies. Unexpected result of cheap H..." - Alsever

*

....Is that a LOT of those 'Nam-vets are dealing with Hep-C (that laid dormant, for approx. 30 years).

I have a friend, out West (who was a 'Nam-corpsman), who's dealing with Hep-C, presently.

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