Tag Archives: Heroin

The “War on Drugs” has Become a “War for Drugs”

One of the arguments to legalize marijuana use is that the “War on Drugs” failed.  The term “War on Drugs” was adopted by President Nixon nearly 50 years ago, but it was officially dropped in 2009.  Like “War on Poverty,” “War on AIDs,” it represents a concerted effort to get rid of something.  However, it really is a just a euphemism which means different things to different people.

Today we have a “War for Drugs,” in which states think they can legalize marijuana for tax money without considering the other social costs.  These costs include car crashes, suicides, mental illness and crime.  Furthermore, gangs and cartels moved aggressively into the heroin trade after Colorado and Washington legalized pot.   Some states with legalized pot have attracted foreigners who come into areas and buy up properties for illegal marijuana growing.

Anyone who argues that US policy causes the violence of drug gangs and cartels lacks an of understanding of the nature of drugs.

 

“War on Drugs” Rhetoric

The idea that the “war on drugs” is a war on black and Hispanic communities is a simplistic way to explain a complex situation.   The ACLU, which has had an important stake in legalization efforts in Maine, Vermont and Washington uses these arguments to press legalization of marijuana.

Wealthy white drug dealers can often afford more expensive lawyers than minority drug dealers, leading to disparate sentencing.  Black males have been disproportionately jailed for violating drug laws.  Michelle Alexander, who wrote The New Jim Crow, supports legalization of all drugs.  However, she is laments the fact that legalization has benefited the white males who are now making all the profits.

The drug policy – violence theory also demonstrates a poor understanding of the nature of humanity.  Gangs and cartels are money-making paths that bring profits quickly.  Anyone can be lured into the profit motive without thinking of the harm, particularly when young and risky behaviors seem exciting.  There is a certain “high” that comes from evading the law.

Benicio del Toro in the 2012 film Savages
Benicio del Toro in the 2012 film Savages. Top photo is also Benicio del Toro

Criminal businesses will be always be attractive to both the rich and the poor.  Some cartel leaders are well-educated and even rich.  If it were only about income inequality, many would get out of the drug trade sooner.  We need to foster opportunities for the poor, so they don’t see drug dealing as a route out of poverty.  Regardless of circumstances, drug dealers are hungry for power.  They would find other ways to maintain power over people, if legalizing pot truly kept all the profits for government.  Experience has shown that they branch out into other crimes, such as human trafficking and selling heroin and fetanyl.

 When Drug Wars Occur

Drug wars happen when growers and cartels compete to have the strongest, most potent strains of marijuana.   High-THC plants bring higher profits.  The marijuana industry pretends that government is to blame for the greedy, violent wars between drug cartels.

We can see the violence that comes with the competition in the drug trade in the book and movie, Savages of 2012, with Benicio del Toro.  An earlier movie  Blow, in which Johnny Depp played notorious drug dealer George Jung, tries to illicit sympathy for the criminal who was instrumental in bringing the Columbian cocaine trade to the USA.  It is clear that greed and adventure motivated Jung, without concern about the harmful consequences to others.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow

Marijuana advocates who say “drug wars don’t work,”  play into current anti-government sentiments.  They say anti-pot groups take money from pharmaceutical companies, police unions or the alcohol industry.   These claims are without merit.  In their twisted logic, they say the US has created cartel violence in Mexico. Violence of course has many causes including poverty.   On the other hand, there ‘s evidence that the legalization of pot moved the cartels into other countries of Central America.  The legalization of pot made the cartels promote heroin which is killing people in record numbers today.

The cause of racial problems of the United States and drug violence in Central America shouldn’t be seen as one-dimensional issues.  Opinions about the “War on Drugs” are irrelevant.  The “War for Drugs”  is about getting a higher, more potent version of marijuana and making a big profits.  It’s a cruel trick the ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance play on the public and a bad deal for minorities, because pot is very harmful.

Cannabis Goes with Heroin Like Peaches and Cream

Author Explains why Heroin Users Need Their Pot

By Richard Adamski

Three Trees by Richard Adamski is available on Amazon.com

 I started smoking cannabis when I was aged 19 and smoked it for about thirty years.  For a period of about two years I took methamphetamine, originally ‘bombing’ it (putting the powdered drug tightly in a small piece of tissue or a rolling paper and swallowing it).  I progressed to injecting methamphetamine and became addicted to it for about 8 months.  At the time I was self-employed and could afford both drugs, namely meth and cannabis. It was when I got off methamphetamine that I started writing about drugs, particularly cannabis. I was still smoking cannabis then. To be honest the only reason I eventually stopped smoking cannabis and cigarettes is because I was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Years of smoking both drugs caused my COPD.

Over the years I got to know and mixed with a lot of drug users and I asked them all the same question: ‘What was the first drug you took?’ and every reply was cannabis and they continued to smoke it while they took harder drugs. Without question, cannabis is the introductory drug to other drugs. Most drug users start with cannabis. No one has died from smoking cannabis but indirectly they have. I personally know four people who have died because of a heroin overdose and the first drug they took, and continued to take up to their deaths, was cannabis.

Why Cannabis Fits so Well with Class A Drugs

Cannabis goes well with Class A drugs, i.e. heroin and methamphetamine. For example: If you have a toot (burn off the foil) of heroin, then inhale cannabis, keep the smoke in your body for several seconds then exhale, the cannabis increases the heroin effect. Cannabis goes well while you’re buzzing on methamphetamine. Like heroin, when you come down off the drug, a cannabis joint lessens the withdrawal effect.

The side effects of excessive use of cannabis range from anxiety and paranoia to problems with attention, memory and coordination and while you continue to smoke cannabis you are keeping the illegal drug industry going. Cannabis and Class A drugs undeniably go together like peaches and cream. The only people who need cannabis are those who smoke it.

Some people may say that I’m a hypocrite in writing what I have done as I took drugs over a long period of time.  All I can say in my defense is that with taking drugs and mixing with and meeting drug users, I have seen how cannabis runs the drug show.

What about marijuana used as medicine?

There’s massive support for cannabis to be decriminalized or legalized and a lot of famous people support this action. In the UK the BMA (British Medical Association) voted overwhelmingly for cannabis to be made available for such as cancer and MS sufferers. A while ago there was a big national debate about cannabis and in one of the national newspapers there was a half-page photograph of an elderly MS sufferer with a cannabis joint in his mouth. To me that is setting a bad and dangerous example. ‘If he can smoke it, then why can’t I?’ and ‘It’s not doing him any harm so why should it me?’

If such as the MS sufferer could be medically supplied with cannabis in such as a tincture way (dissolved in alcohol), cake, organic yoghurt, as a pill and only available on prescription then that would shut him up and others like him of a similar persuasion. In my opinion cannabis should never be made legal in herbal, grass, weed, because it is in this form where the cannabis problems lie.

Broken Dreams and Death: Marijuana at 14, then heroin

I knew a young man named Ross who dealt cannabis and injected heroin. He didn’t deal heroin. He wasn’t an addict and took heroin and cannabis as recreational drugs. He died at the age off 22 because he had a bad hit of heroin. Whether it was cut with a bad substance I don’t know, but he was found dead in his flat with the needle still in his arm. Ross once told me: ‘I actually wanted to be a pilot in the RAF (Royal Air Force), but at the age of 14 I started smoking Ganga and that put an end to that.’

In my strong opinion, cannabis is the most dangerous drug because most people think it isn’t.

Richard Adamski is the author of Three Trees. Three Trees is a contemporary Wind in the Willows where woodland creatures act as humans do in the environment they live in.  An anti-drug theme runs throughout the story.  He lives in England.

Marijuana Can’t Treat the Opiate, Heroin Epidemic

Any marijuana use leads to less intelligence potential, less empathy for life, less motivation and poorer decision making.  A war on drugs is a protection and defense of our brains.   Governor Susana Martinez probably recognizes how Colorado’s marijuana problem leads to the drug epidemic and filters into New Mexico’s substance abuse issues.   Read about her veto in Part 1.

One young man who gave us a testimony explained how his marijuana use led directly to heroin addiction.

In Colorado, Dr. Libby Stuyt, addictions psychiatrist, traces a direct line from marijuana legalization to the heroin epidemic.    Colorado’s recent report on heroin has shown that the number of deaths from heroin overdose have doubled between 2011 and 2015.

In fact, Pueblo County, has suffered from heroin use and addiction more than any other Colorado county.  Pueblo, Denver and Boulder have the highest rates of youth marijuana use.   Southern Colorado is suffering the most from the heroin epidemic. Counties that have banned marijuana dispensaries have been affected the least by the heroin.

Misunderstanding of the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

Since the government has clamped down on opiate prescriptions, more users have replaced the pain drugs with heroin.  Since the legalization of marijuana, Mexican cartels have replaced much of their marijuana with heroin.  Heroin is now cheaper and addicts find it easier to get heroin than prescription pills.

Politically there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the opioid epidemic. If it was initially caused by over prescribing of medications, that’s no longer primarily the case.   Seth Leibsohn wrote an insightful article on the subject last week. The abuse of opioid prescriptions acquired legitimately constitutes a small portion of the overdose problem, he said. *

A simple crackdown on prescriptions will not solve the problem, according to Maia Szalavitz.  Although Szalavitz misunderstands the  inherent danger in using marijuana,* she explains the underlying causes of substance abuse quite well.  Impulsive children are at high risk of becoming drug users, but so are some highly cautious and anxious young people.   Two thirds of people with opioid addictions have had severely traumatic childhoods, and the more exposure to trauma, the higher the risk.  We need to help abused, neglected, fragile and otherwise traumatized children before they turn to self-medication as teens.  On the other hand, we should also provide tools and teach coping skills to children who are impulsive, ADHD or anxious.   (Overmedicating children doesn’t allow them to develop the skills needed to transition into adulthood.)

Let’s Help People Get off ALL Drugs

Effective treatment for addictions is getting off all drugs, not going to other harmful, brain-altering substances.   “The goal in helping a loved one with a substance use problem is not to reduce their use. It is to stop drug use,” according to Sven-Olov Carlsson of Drug Policy Futures.  He gave the opening address at the World Federation of Drugs Conference in Vienna last year.  As Carlsson said, the current heroin epidemic proves that “harm reduction” is not saving lives.

No one sets out to become an addict.   Fortunately, more people and states are realizing the foolishness of allowing “medical” marijuana for intractable pain.  It opens up a Pandora’s Box of problems, as in California and elsewhere.

Addiction specialists estimate that one in five American adults is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  With such large numbers, there should be no “stigma” attached to addiction or treatment.  A new or revised health care act should maintain the provision to treat addiction.

Those who are addicted have a strong need to protect a secret.  Their brains have been hijacked and there isn’t a straight path back to previous functioning.

Optimum treatment requires a period of time when the person is not using any substance of addiction in order for the brain to heal.  During that time, the person needs to be able to learn new things. The lack of treatment resources which allows this to happen is a big barrier to recovery.   Marijuana cannot be used to treat this current drug epidemic.

___________________________________________________________________________*  Another recent article explains how doctors began to take pain seriously, treating it as a fifth vital sign.  Szalavitz based her 10% addiction rate for marijuana on the weaker pot of the ’70s and ’80s, not the pot of today.  She also disregarded teen users of pot.

 

What Child is This?

by Robert Charles, for Town Hall Magazine  

The Christmas carol is poignant – reminder of Christmas, and beyond.  “What child is this, who, laid to rest …” the carol begins.  “Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?” it continues.  The stanza ends, “Haste, haste ….”  Lovely, lilting, full of promise – like the birth of a child.  Here, a special child – but also every child.

In a season of joy, it is a message is joy.  But the mind wanders, also to our mortal world.  New numbers on drug addiction and drugged driving death, so many lost souls – mitigate the joy.   They caught me off guard this week. My brother, a high school teacher, shared with me the loss of another student, another fatal crash, as drugged driving numbers rise.  What is the season for heartbroken parents – but a season of loss?  Each year, upwards of 100,000 parents lose a child to drug abuse.

What child is this?  It is America’s child, and America’s childhood.  How is it that we have, collectively, forgotten to keep watch over those entrusted to our watch – especially from high office?  Last year, 47,055 Americans, most of them young, were lost to drug abuse – just statistics now.  Why?

In part, because so many Americans have heard a mixed message from their leaders – with devastating effects. Led to believe drugs are “recreation,” something not different from beer or wine, kids try and soon die.  Synthetic opioids, heroin, cocaine, high potency marijuana – and then a trip to the ER, or not even, on the way to a mortuary.  Numbers do not lie.

dark-side-of-cannabis-featured-image
The Dark Side of Marijuana Photoshop image taken from art of Edvard Munch

Drugged driving is now another epidemic.  Drivers and helpless passengers are all at risk, along with everyone on the road.  Near home, not long ago, several kids died in a terrible car crash.  They missed a bend and hit a tree.  The sister of a child known to my son was almost in that car – but courageously declined the ride.  She knew the driver was compromised.  That decision saved her life.  Unfortunately, the searing truth caught others off guard.  Drugged driving is death on wheels, period.  Drug legalization is the unabashed promoter of that death.  So, where are the shepherds?  Where are the outspoken leaders, who know this – but are silent?

What child is this, who starts with marijuana, soon is addicted, ends overdosing on opiates or as a roadside cross?  What child is this, who needed knowledge from someone they trust – but get misinformation?  What child is this, who is force-fed popular lies, that drug abuse is “recreation?”

And what child is this, “greeted by angels,” who was forsaken here – by knowing leaders for political advantage?  “Laid to rest” by parents’ inconsolable hands?  Where were leaders, a thoughtful president, governor, congressman, legislator, mayor?  How could we, in a blink, give up 50,000 souls – this year, again?  Silence is not just holy – it can also be complicit.  Permitting legal expansion of drug abuse, legalized money laundering, an insidious tax grab and a Federal blind eye – comes at the expense of young lives.   That is the truth.

Needed in this season of change are new national and community leaders, who are unafraid to say:   Do not compromise the future.  Do not risk everything for nothing.  Do not break faith with yourself, or those counting on you.

The mind wanders … from a Christmas carol to those not here to celebrate.  To parents, siblings, friends and teachers sadly forced to ask “what if…”  And bigger questions:  What if the legalization pabulum and knowing disinformation were stopped?  What if drugs that addict and kill were less available?  What if policy indifference turned to saving young lives, not putting them at risk?

Said Henry David Thoreau, every child is an “empire.”  But today, these empires are falling fast.  The risk inherent in our indifference, disinformation, disregard for truth, and treating death as recreation.  Addiction’s darkness comes on fast.  Life soon narrows, ambitions die, dependence rises, users are boxed in, relationships and functions degraded, nightmares start and then the awful, big question – who cares?

deathinthesickroom
Edvard Munch’s Death in the Sickroom, 1895, is  still relevant today with the number of families watching their children hopelessly addicted or dying. Top image: Munch’s The Day After

These days, few seem to – not the president, Congress, many state “leaders.”  They just go along.  Meantime, more families are drained and left alone – victims of widening drug abuse, drugged driving, drug-related crime, and life-changing addictions.  The Trump team has a chance to say:  Enough, experiment over.  That would help American families stop grieving, and save kids from this unparalleled dance with false information and societal indifference.  That would be leadership – and long overdue.  So, pull the Drug Czar back to Cabinet rank, put Federal resources and smart people on enforcing the law, and educate the country.

“What child is this?”  It is America’s child.  With new hope and real leadership – may we have no more compromises with evil, but truth spoken to power, and power to people.  Let us stand watch, shepherds for young America.  “Haste, haste …” in this and all seasons.  There is a resolution for the new year.

Robert Charles is a columnist for Town Hall Magazine.  He also wrote Return the Drug Czar to Cabinet.  Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement under George W. Bush, former Naval Intelligence Officer and litigator, who served in the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses.  He wrote the book “Narcotics and Terrorism,” and writes widely on national security and law.