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Date: Tue, 22 Mar 1994 00:15:41 -0800
From: Ryan Rossman 
Subject: Speech by Clifford Schaffer (long)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 1994 12:31:09 -0800
From: David Borden 
Subject: Speech by Clifford Schaffer

The following is the transcript of a speech given by Clifford Schaffer,
co-author of the Hoover Resolution, in favor of drug policy reform.  This
sample speech demonstrates the method Cliff has found for approaching
this subject in a way that gets past the preconceptions people have
towards the drug problem.  He has used it with great effect, as
demonstrated by the success of the Resolution (the latest news is that
five U.S. Senators have signed it and may be planning a news conference
to announce a companion bill to H.R. 3100 - more info when it's confirmed).
You are welcome to use this speech or any part of it, and adapt it to your
own personal situation.  There are some graphs referred to in this speech
- we are still figuring out how to make them available and will make an
announcement on the email list in the near future.  Also soon to follow
is a list of prominent signers of the Hoover Resolution, and instructions
on how to obtain the videotapes that Cliff and team have produced and how
to get them aired on local access cable channels.


Fullerton Community College Speech

First, I would like to inform everyone that the real subject here today is
not drug decriminalization, or legalization, or re-legalization, or anything
like that, because we still don't know if we will ever do any of those
things.  What is certain is that we will build the largest prisons in the
history of the world.  The subject is prison.  It is not up to us to justify
decriminalization.  It is up to the people who support the current policy to
justify putting millions of people in prison.

One of the reasons that I am here is because of my mother.  I have heard many
people say that the crusade against drugs is a moral issue.  William Bennett,
our first national Drug Czar, said that it is important to stamp out drugs
because it is the moral thing to do.  I will show you that there is nothing
moral about it.  On April 20, 1992, my mother told me she wanted to die.  She
called me that evening and asked me if I would understand if she committed
suicide.  My mother is sixty-five years old and she looks and acts at least
ten years younger than her age.  She does two hours of aerobics every day and
she still works because she enjoys her job.  Why then does she want to die?
A few years ago she had a minor operation on her ribs and, during the
operation, some nerves were damaged.  It wasn't anyone's fault, it is just
one of the ordinary risks of surgery.  It could happen to anyone.  Now the
nerves fire constantly, at near-maximum intensity.  She says it feels as if
someone is holding a blowtorch to her ribs -- twenty-four hours a day.  She
can no longer wear clothes which touch her skin. She can no longer walk in a
warm spring rain because the pain of a single raindrop is too much to bear.
Something as simple as a hug from her smallest granddaughter will make her
fall to the floor in tears.  She has spent the last few years traveling
across the United States to find a cure.  The doctors have tried a long list
of treatments including surgery, drugs, ointments, electricity, and many
other things.  None of them worked very well and many of them were dangerous.
The best of them was a nerve block.  The nerve block required my mother to
lay on her stomach while the doctors injected anesthetic directly into the
nerve causing the problem.  The needle had to be placed precisely on the
nerve so it usually had to be moved around for a few minutes to get just the
right spot.  It reached the limits of human pain.  The pain was so great that
her body rigidly locked up, with her senses overloaded.  She could not
scream, breathe, or even see.  On two occasions they punctured her lung with
this procedure, and once they actually stopped her heart.  To revive her,
they gave her CPR, which means they had to pound on her ribs.  When she awoke
she screamed at them to kill her.  She said that she was bitter for months
because they had not let her die when they had the chance.  She has since
left written instructions that, if her heart ever stops again, she is not to
be revived.  Still, she said the nerve block is worth it, because it gives
her relief for almost three days and, besides, there is always the chance
that she will luck out and they will kill her again.  Only one treatment has
ever worked to ease the pain.  That treatment is morphine.  Morphine does not
make her into a drug addict.  It does not make her into some kind of mindless
zombie.  It does not even make her high.  It just allows her to live a
relatively normal life, free from the pain in her side.  When compared with
the other available treatments, morphine is the cheapest, safest, and most
effective treatment for her condition.  Her doctors will not give her
morphine, for two reasons.  The first reason is that they are afraid she will
become addicted.  A study conducted at Johns Hopkins Medical School showed
that the addiction rate for the medical use of morphine was less than one-
half of one percent.  Even when patients do become addicted, morphine
addiction can be easily managed in a proper medical environment, so addiction
is not a legitimate medical concern.  The second reason they will not
prescribe morphine is that they are afraid of the drug police.  They know
that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the local police can seize their
property and destroy their careers over a single questioned prescription, and
the police do not even have to file criminal charges to do it.  It not only
can happen, it does happen.  Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration
sent two doctors to prison for prescribing Tylenol 3.  That is Tylenol with
codeine.  Tylenol 3 is a prescription drug in only two countries in the
world, the United States and South Africa, and the United States is the only
country which has ever sent a doctor to prison for prescribing this common
medicine.  There are many other cases where doctors have had their lives and
careers ruined over equally trivial matters.  My mother has mixed emotions
when I speak out about her problem.  She says that she really does not want
anyone's sympathy because, since she has had this problem, she has discovered
that there are so many more people who are in worse condition than she is.
Some people with AIDS get this same kind of condition all over their bodies.
Every day of their lives is worse than any horror movie that you have ever
seen.  They can't get morphine either.  Seven thousand five hundred people go
blind from glaucoma every year because the best medicine - marijuana - is
illegal.  And the list goes on.  There are literally millions of people with
chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other conditions for which the
safest and most effective medicine is a drug which is now illegal.  Hundreds
of thousands of them violate the drug laws every day because they need these
medicines to live.  On behalf of all of the families affected by AIDS, and
cancer, and glaucoma, and a dozen other diseases, I am here to tell you that
this drug policy is indecent and it must be stopped.  There is nothing moral
about a drug policy which makes sick people choose between prison and death.

Drug policy is a complicated issue and we will not have time today to resolve
all of the points under discussion.  In the past fifty years, however, there
have been several occasions when major commissions have been formed
specifically to study the evidence and the options for drug policy and to
make recommendations.  There have been both public and private commissions,
domestic and foreign, performed by people of all political persuasions from
liberals to conservative law-and-order Republicans, and people who aren't
even on our political map.  They all recommended decriminalization.  I would
like to read to you some of the studies which have reached this conclusion:

The LaGuardia Committee Report, commissioned by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia,
written by the New York Academy of Medicine, and published by the City of New
York in 1944.

The Baroness Wootton Report, published by the government of the United
Kingdom in 1967.

The Report of the Canadian Government Commission of Inquiry into the Non-
Medical Use of Drugs, published by the Canadian Government in 1969.

Dealing With Drug Abuse: A Report to the Ford Foundation, published by the
Drug Abuse Survey Project in 1972.

The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, published by the
Editors of Consumer Reports Magazine in 1972.  This is a landmark study, a
"must-read", used as a basic textbook at major universities.

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse,
commissioned by President Nixon, and published by the U.S. Federal Government
in 1973.

The Facts About Drug Abuse, published by the United States Drug Abuse Council
in 1980.

An Analysis of Marijuana Policy, published by the National Research Council
of the National Academy of Sciences in 1982.

The Report of the California State Research Advisory Panel, commissioned by
the State of California, and published in 1990.

The recommendations in these reports were endorsed by (among others) the
American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, The American
Association for Public Health, the National Education Association, and the
National Council of Churches.  I might also add that the last two reports of
the National Commission on AIDS have also recommended that we adopt non-
criminal approaches to drug abuse.  We may debate the details of the many
issues of drug policy all day, but one basic fact is undeniable.  When all of
the issues and all of the evidence is considered, the overwhelming weight of
the scholarly evidence on drug policy supports decriminalization.

The first question that we need to ask ourselves is: How did we get into this
mess?  Any study of the history of the drug laws shows that they were based
on two primary factors; racism and ignorance.  You may have wondered why
marijuana, heroin, and cocaine are illegal while other equally dangerous
drugs such as tobacco and alcohol are legal, and even promoted by the Federal
Government.  The primary reason is that alcohol and tobacco were associated
with white people while the other drugs were associated -- wrongly -- with
people of color.  Opiates were first outlawed because of the fear that
Chinese men were luring white women to their ruin in opium dens.  Ruin was
defined not as opium addiction, but as associating with Chinese men.

In the early years of this century, many of the major newspapers printed
lurid articles about superhuman Negro Cocaine Fiends who would take large
amounts of cocaine which would cause them to go on a violent sexual rampage
and rape white women.  Police departments across the nation switched from .32
caliber pistols to .38 caliber pistols because as one Police Chief stated,
"Those cocaine niggers sure are hard to kill."  Newspaper stories of the day
told lurid tales of Jewish peddlers selling cocaine to poor southern blacks.
There was also a movement to ban caffeine for the same reasons.  There was no
evidence to back up the myth of the Negro Cocaine Fiend simply because most
black people did not have the money to buy cocaine.  Any black man who did
rape a white woman would have had to be suicidal because in 1905 there were
105 recorded lynchings of black men for unspecified offenses.  Marijuana was
later outlawed largely as a repressive tool against Mexican laborers who were
competing with American workers for jobs during the Depression.

Racism was one of the primary themes of the campaign against drugs until the
campaigns for civil rights in the 1950's and 1960's made it unacceptable.  At
that point, the drug warriors turned to other myths to defend their cause.
You have heard some of those myths today.  It is important to remember that
many of the myths you heard today were made up in the 1950's and 1960's when
it began to be apparent that the old myths just wouldn't cut it any more.
These laws never did have anything to do with public health and safety.

We next need to understand the facts on the issue.  My first graph shows the
number of deaths caused by drugs, both legal and illegal, in the United
States in a typical year.
Tobacco kills about 390,000 people.
Alcohol kills about 80,000.
Sidestream smoke from tobacco kills about 50,000 people who don't even smoke.
Prescription drugs kill at least 10,000.
Cocaine kills about 2,500.
Heroin kills about 2,000.
Aspirin kills about 2,000.
Marijuana kills 0.  Even the DEA itself says that there has not been a
recorded death due to marijuana in the history of the United States.
All of the illegal drugs combined killed about 4,500, or about one percent of
the number killed by tobacco.  Tobacco kills more people every year than all
of the people killed by all of the illegal drugs in the Twentieth Century.
More Colombians die from the effects of American tobacco than the number of
Americans who die from Colombian cocaine.  As you may know, tobacco is
heavily subsidized and promoted by the United States Government.  The US
Government demands that other countries buy more American tobacco even while
we threaten them with war for sending us their marijuana and cocaine.  Right
now we have about 1.3 million people in prison.  More than 600,000 of them
are there for non-violent drug offenses.  For every person who died from
illegal drugs last year, one hundred and fifty people went to prison.  Most
of them were black men.

You may hear a good deal of talk about the dangers of illegal drugs.  First
let me state that the medical evidence is very clear that, by any standard of
measurement, alcohol and tobacco are substantially more dangerous to both the
individual and to society than any of the illegal drugs.  We have known this
for at least twenty-five years.  This is not to say that use of any drug is
entirely safe.  We could safely assume that almost anything we put into our
bodies is going to have some health risk, to a greater or lesser degree.
That is not the issue.  Just because something is hazardous does not
automatically mean that the best approach to those hazards is to throw
millions of people in prison.  In fact, every major study of drug policy has
concluded that prison only makes those hazards worse and increases the damage
done to society.  As one commission stated, the more we learn about the
dangers of drugs, the more it will become apparent that massive prisons are a
medical and social disaster.  It is precisely because of those health hazards
that we must not send people to prison for drug offenses.

We might win the war on drugs if we could be successful in one of three
areas.  First, we could try to stop the production of drugs in foreign
countries.  There is no credible evidence anywhere which would suggest that
we could stop, or even greatly reduce, the production of drugs in foreign
countries.   The Federal government's own evidence shows that this is
impossible and it is a waste of money to try.  Second, we could try to stop
drugs at the border. There is no credible evidence anywhere which would
suggest that we could stop, or even greatly reduce, the flow of drugs across
our border.  The Federal government's own evidence shows that this is
impossible and it is a waste of money to try.  Third, we could try to stop
the sale of drugs within the United States, even while we know that it is
impossible to stop their production, or to keep them out of the United
States.  There is no credible evidence anywhere which would suggest that we
could stop, or even greatly reduce, the sale of drugs within the United
States.  Again, the evidence shows that this is impossible and, not only is
it a waste of money to try but, in fact, the war against drugs actually
causes far more harm than good.  The largest part of that harm falls upon the
African-American community.

I have here a few graphs which were taken directly from US Federal Government
statistics.  The first graph shows the number of people in prison over the
last fifty years.  The number of people in prison was relatively stable for
about fifty years, until the 1970's when President Nixon started the first
major campaign against drugs.  Then the number of inmates began to rise
sharply.  It was also during the 1970's that a major recession hit the
country and African Americans, being at the bottom of the economic totem
pole, were the first to lose their jobs and the last to be rehired when the
economy changed.  As a result of the stresses on unemployed fathers, African-
American families began to fall apart and we saw the first great rise of
black families headed by single mothers.  This became especially significant
because of what happened in the 1980s.  In the 1980s the rate of
incarceration went through the roof.  Since 1980 we have tripled the number
of people in prison and we now have the largest prisons in the world. We will
almost triple their size again before the year 2000.

The next graph shows the racial breakdown of our prisons, and projects those
figures into the future, based on current trends.  By the year 2000, our
prisons will be larger than the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
About two-thirds of all of the people in our prisons will be black men, most
of them arrested for non-violent drug offenses.  For every black man who goes
to college, at least three will go to prison.  Two-thirds of all of today's
black male teenagers will be dead, disabled, or in prison before their
thirtieth birthday.  The largest single group of them will go to prison for
non-violent drug offenses.  Even as we speak, one-fourth of all of the young
black men in America are in prison, on probation, or on parole.  In some
inner cities such as Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, which were test cases
for the war on drugs, more than half of all the young black men in the city
are under the supervision of the criminal justice system.  It is estimated
that more than ninety percent of the black men in these cities have already
been incarcerated at least once.  When an African-American man goes to prison
he becomes effectively permanently unemployable because nobody will hire a
black man with a prison record.  Most of the young black men in our nation's
capitol are already economically dead as a direct result of the war on drugs.
They become social pariahs, unwanted by employers and even by the women in
their own communities.  They are unable to restore themselves and the
families that we will need to rebuild our inner cities.  The economic
destruction of African-American men caused by the war on drugs is perhaps the
singlest biggest reason that African-American families continued to
disintegrate in the 1980's even in the midst of an economic boom.  Even
conservative black leaders are now beginning to say that the war on drugs is
genocide and the new form of slavery and they are right.  Because of our
misguided and ignorant drug policies, we have already destroyed the better
part of an entire generation of African-American men.

In 1973 President Nixon's National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
said that the real drug problem is not heroin, or cocaine, or marijuana.  The
real drug problem, they said, is the ignorance of our public officials who
have never bothered to read the evidence.  Today, we can prove that this is
still true.  I would like my opponent to answer one simple question.  I have
here a list of every major study of drug policy in the last fifty years
including the largest studies ever conducted by the US Federal Government and
the State of California.  They all recommended decriminalization.  Do you
agree that the overwhelming weight of the scholarly evidence on drug policy
supports decriminalization?  Before you answer, remember that there are only
three possible answers to this question.  The first possible answer is yes,
you agree that the overwhelming weight of the scholarly evidence supports
decriminalization.  The second possible answer is no, you do not agree and,
therefore, you can provide a list of scholarly studies equal in quality and
quantity to the list I have provided.  The third possible answer is that you
don't have a clue what the scholarly evidence says because you have never
read the most basic research on the subject.  What is your answer? Do you
agree that the overwhelming weight of the scholarly evidence on drug policy
supports decriminalization?

Additional Notes

Why did Rodney King get beaten?  Sergeant Stacy Koon said it was because he
was afraid that the black man was on drugs and he would rape the only white
woman present, even though there were more than twenty police officers at the
scene and the woman was a highly-trained, heavily armed police officer
herself.  One of the members of the jury said that they felt that Rodney King
might have been on drugs, even though there was no evidence of that, and, if
he was on drugs, then anything the police did would have been justified.
Their thinking is irrational but it shows that the myth of the superhuman
Negro Cocaine Fiend is still alive and well today.  Ask yourself if they
would have had the same fears and the same reaction to a drunken white man.
I think not.  This is not just a problem of the inner city black man that
doesn't affect us here today.  It must be stopped but it won't be stopped
until you here today decide to do something about it.  I ask you to join me
in a united crusade to stop the war against our own people.

One particular myth that I would like to address is this idea of the "gateway
drug".  In 1937, when the marijuana laws were first passed, Harry Anslinger,
then the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was asked specifically if
there was any connection between marijuana and heroin.  He testified,
specifically, that there was no connection between them and the two groups of
drug users usually did not associate with each other.  Later, in the 1950's
it became apparent that some of the old myths about drugs were just falling
apart so they had to look for a new reason to keep marijuana illegal.  Then,
Harry Anslinger created a completely new myth - that marijuana leads to
heroin.  That became the main argument of the anti-marijuana people.  This
sounded good to the public for a while but then a lot of people began to ask
how one drug could cause some kind of intense craving for an entirely
different drug.  Anyone with any sense could see that was not really very
likely and there was no evidence at all to support it, so it just made the
anti-pot folks look a little bit dumb.  So they changed it.  Now they say
that pot is a "gateway" drug.  That's almost like saying that pot leads to
heroin but it's changed a little so they hope they won't get caught saying
something dumb again.  It's still bull.