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From: Jim Rosenfield 
Newsgroups: talk.politics.drugs
Date: 09 Jun 94 22:35 PDT
Subject: Anti-!
Message-ID: <1484000555@cdp>

Found this on COmpuserve, Arguments against those in Cliff Schaffer's


Re: From the beginning:
Item 1C states, "There is no credible evidence  
anywhere that we could stop, or even greatly reduce, the 
sale of drugs within the United States.  In fact, all of the 
Federal Government's own evidence shows that this is 
impossible and not only is it a waste of money to try, but 
it actually does more harm than if we did nothing at all.
    This presumes that our sole m ethod of attempting to 
stop the sale of drugs is through arrest and imprisonment. 
How about addressing the question of stopping the sale 
of drugs by effecting change in society such as to keep 
people from getting on drugs in the first place? If we do 
this, then items 1A and 1B become moot -- if there's no 
market (or a sharply reduced market) in the U.S. for such 
drugs, other countries won't be so tempted to grow/
produce drugs and ship them here.
Item 2 asks, how many millions of people will have 
to go to prison in order to win the drug war with our 
current approach?
    This presumes that every last user will have to go to 
prison to "win" the drug war. There are more effective 
ways to get people NOT to use drugs. Legalizing drugs 
will not do so, however.
Item 3 asks, What is the biggest single reason for the 
epidemic of crime in the inner city? The answer: The biggest 
single cause of crime in the inner city is the fact that most 
black men cannot find jobs. Item 4 then goes on to link 
the difficulty black men face in finding jobs to their 
prison records, and Item 5 states that black men have 
prison records because they're arrested on non-violent 
drug charges.
    This is convoluted and unsupported reasoning at best, 
and unfairly uses race as the basis for supporting 
legalization of drugs.
    I won't dispute assertions about the number of black 
men who have arrest and conviction records. But how 
many of those black men have records for other charges *in 
addition to* their drug arrests (anything from petty theft, 
illegal weapons charges, and larceny to assault, battery, 
rape, b&e, etc.)? These convictions also play a role in 
the reluctance of employers to hire these men. 
Furthermore, there are many, many additional 
factors that contribute to chronic unemployment 
in the inner cities. 
    Factor in the high drop-out rate from school -- how 
many of these men never finished high school, and in 
fact are functionally illiterate? Factor in the low quality 
of education even for many of those who do finish 
high school. 
    Factor in the astoundingly high illegitimate 
birth rate in the inner cities -- those kids (boys and girls, 
both) grow up in poverty and with NO role models. 
Their "role models" are the fathers who sell drugs 
and the teenage mothers who have crack babies. 
    Factor in the fact that many of these children, born 
into what we euphemisticallly call "single-parent 
families," grow up virtually unsupervised, either 
because their mother is out working 2 or 3 jobs to 
support her family, or she's an alcoholic or drug 
addict herself, or a prostitute, or otherwise is simply 
*not there* for her children. This leaves these kids 
with large amounts of unsupervised time. They 
begin developing their lawbreaking ways very 
early on.
    Factor in the culture of non-achievement, in which 
black students who do well in school are ridiculed and 
ostracized by their peers. 
    Please factor in these considerations and the many 
others that contribute to the problems in the inner city. 
You simply *cannot* lay the problems of the inner city 
at the feet of "non-violent drug arrests."
Item 6 asks, why were the laws against drugs passed in 
the first place?
    How is this even relevent? You're once again 
attempting to use race as a weapon to bludgeon 
people into accepting legalization of drugs. 
    We know, today, that many of these drugs 
are serious health hazards, and also cause 
tremendous dysfunction in the addicted individuals 
(and their families). It doesn't matter why drug laws 
were passed in the first place.
Item 7 compares the numbers of deaths from various 
types of legal and illegal drugs. Alcohol kills 80,000 
per year, and cocaine kills about 2,200. 
    These numbers are bound to be misleading. How 
many drinkers are there vs. how many cocaine users 
are there? If there were as many cocaine users as there 
are drinkers, how many would cocaine kill in a year? 
I'd be more interested in statistics that you can actually 
Item 8, which drug causes the greatest burden on our 
medical facilities? Alcohol and tobacco are the clear 
    Again, a misleading comparison. If there were as 
many crack and cocaine users as there are smokers 
and drinkers, which drug would cause the greatest 
burden on our medical facilities?
Item 9 asks, which drugs are the most addictive? 
"Tobacco is the most addictive drug.  ... cravings 
for heroin and cocaine are usually over within 
the first month."
    So, if we keep drugs illegal, but mandate 
treatment programs instead of jail time, we could 
eliminate drug addiction fairly easily, wouldn't 
you say? Then we wouldn't need to discuss legalization.
Item 10, do illegal drugs cause violent crime? "... less 
than one percent (can) be attributed to the behavioral 
effects of cocaine or crack."
    Again, misleading statistics. How many people 
find themselves dysfunctional, out of a job, and totally 
unemployable because of a severe addiction? Many of 
these people turn to crime because it is the only 
avenue open to them. Their crime is not necessarily 
"attributed to the behavioral effects of cocaine or 
crack," but can be attributed to the "lifestyle" 
and "life-altering" effects of cocaine or crack.
Item 11., Can we stop drug production overseas? 
"ABC Television . . .  concluded decisively that there 
was no hope."
    Well, ABC Television is sure the expert I turn 
to on these things. 
    Additionally, the key is to reduce demand in 
our own country. If the demand isn't high enough 
in the U.S. to justify the cost and the risk, the flow 
of drugs into this country will stop, or slow to a 
trickle. Legalizing drugs will *not* reduce demand. 
Simple economics says that if you take a 
product, lower the cost, make it more widely 
available, and make it socially acceptable, the 
demand will increase. 
Item 12, can we stop drug smuggling at the borders?
    Again, the key is to reduce demand, and the 
supply will dry up. We reduce demand by 
mandatory rehabilitation of addicts and by 
changing the social and economic conditions 
that lead to addiction.
Item 13, can we arrest all the drug dealers in 
the United States?
    This question is ridiculous to the point of 
absurdity. Again, the key is to reduce demand 
through rehabilitation and social change. When 
demand is reduced sufficiently, drug dealers will 
disappear, because they'll have no market.
Item 14 details the cost to put a "single drug dealer" in 
jail, and compares that cost to the cost of providing 
treatment/education for 200 people. 
    Again, a ridiculous question. While we won't 
win the drug war or solve the drug problem by 
jailing all drug dealers, neither will we do so by 
legalizing these drugs. We will do so by 
reducing demand.
    I'm all for providing treatment for drug addicts. 
However, if drug use is legalized, we have to no 
tool with which to compel users to get treatment. 
I'd rather see the laws rewritten to provide for 
"sentences" of treatment programs levied against 
users rather than jail time. Legalization is not 
necessary to accomplish this.
Item 15, what does this drug policy do to the black 
    Again, this is an incendiary, inflammatory and 
unjustified use of race in an attempt to justify 
legalizing harmful drugs. Alcohol, which IS legal, 
is a major, major problem in the black community. 
Statistics show significantly higher numbers of 
liquor stores, per capita, in black neighborhoods 
than in white neighborhoods. 
     The easy availability of alcohol, and the social 
acceptance of its abuse, leads to chronic probems 
related to dysfunctional families, unemployability, 
inability to function in society, child abuse, and 
many other problems. The problems caused by 
alcohol do not stem from arrest records for 
"non-violent drinking."
    Illegal drug use causes similar problems, and 
will only increase if these drugs are legalized. 
     It is absurd to think that drug use by itself has no 
negative impact on the black comunity and that the 
only problems associated with it stem from non-violent 
drug charges.
Item 16 asks, How does our policy compare with the 
policies of other countries? The answer states, "Let's 
compare the results of two roughly comparable 
major cities which both have a drug problem.  
The cities are New York, and Liverpool, England."
    How can you assert that New York City, with its 
population of more than 7 million people, a city 
that is a mecca for the criminal and disenfranchised,
 is "roughly comparable" to Liverpool, with its 
population of about a half million? New York 
City has many, many extremely serious problems 
that Liverpudlians couldn't even begin to imagine. 
Hardly a fair comparison.
Item 17, Do the illegal drugs have any legitimate uses?
    It is correct that many illegal drugs do, in fact, have 
legitimate uses, and I grant you that, unfortunately, 
our current policy does not allow for valid use for 
other purposes. Unfortunately, it is also the case that 
many who oppose drug legalization also oppose 
allowing legitimate uses of these drugs. I support 
the position that we should allow these drugs to be 
used for legitimate therapeutic purposes. To 
accomplish this, however, does not require blanket 
legalization of all drugs for any purposes. As with 
prescription narcotics, we can allow legitimate 
medicinal use while maintaining controls.
    As to the sources listed: The two most major studies 
cited, the Consumers' Union Report and the National 
Commission Report, were both published in the 
early 1970s. Marijuana was the biggest drug "problem" 
at that time, and crack didn't even exist. 
Under "Do's and Don'ts" is the following statement:
The following sentence works for nearly anything your 
opponent may say: "There is no evidence to support hat 
assertion.  Every major study of drug policy agreed that, 
even if it was true, decriminalization would still be a better 
    This "standard response" does not even allow for the 
possibility that the "opponent" might have something 
worthwhile to say, or may bring up some valid point 
that has *not* been addressed by the "major studies of 
drug policy." This is oversimplification to the point of 
Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" : 
The subject is not legalization or decriminalization.  
The subject is prison.   
    Many of us who are against legalization are not 
necessarily in favor of prison for users. I myself 
would prefer to see *mandatory* treatment programs in 
lieu of prison sentences. Legalization is not required to 
implement this idea. This is an extreme oversimplification 
and presents an unrealistic either/or choice -- prison vs. 
legalization. There are other options.
Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" :
Salesmen memorize their sales pitch because, once they 
have it down by rote, they can say it without even thinking, 
    That's the problem. Many pro-legalizers aren't thinking.
Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" :
Don't let the discussion stray into related social issues.  You 
don't have time for it and most Americans don't have the 
brain capacity to understand the complexities anyway.  
    There are many related social issues that bear directly on 
the issue of whether drug legalization would be good 
or bad for society. These issues MUST be discussed 
and addressed by anyone who advocates taking 
such a major step as legalizing crack and heroin. 
This statement is also an unwarranted and 
juvenile ad hominem attack on those of us 
who oppose drug legalization.
Another statement under "Do's and Don'ts" :
Do not discuss your personal plan for how legalization 
would work  The reasons are: a) you can only sell one 
product at a time.  First convince them whether we 
should change the laws. We will have plenty of time 
for how later.
    Those of us out here with brains quite reasonably want 
to have some idea of "how legalization would work" before 
we will be prepared to discuss legalization. The "cure" 
could be worse than the disease.
Under "responses to specific arguments" is the statement: 
The only way that we will ever find a better approach is by 
an open and honest discussion of the evidence and all of 
the possible approaches to the problem.  
    Refusing to discuss *how* legalization will work, refusing 
to discuss the related social issues, simplifying the issue into 
a false "either/or" choice, inflaming racial conflicts and 
resorting to a "standard response" to any question or 
objection by the "opponent" does NOT constitute an 
open and honest discussion of the evidence.
Under "Political Strategies," referring to arguments based 
on civil liberties and economics,  is the statement: They 
make people think too much. 
    This is part of the problem. This entire "" 
document is aimed at making sure people don't "think 
too much."
Also foundunder "Political Strategies" is this 
statement: Point out that people are not vilified 
because they are Republican, Democrat, or 
Libertarian, but people are vilified if they even 
want to discuss a different drug policy.  This is 
    Rubbish. This is not McCarthyism. Read your 
history texts. 
    As far as the information from NORML, on 
marijuana, I suspect that a great many people 
who are opposed to general drug legalization 
 would not necessarily be against 
decriminalization of marijuana use. But you 
won't convince many of us that we should 
legalize crack, or PCP, or heroin, just because 
marijuana isn't particularly dangerous.