Trump’s ruthless war on drugs

April 18, 2017

Allan Cooper

OPINION by ALLAN COOPER

Drug use, particularly opioid use, has gone on unabated (in fact increased) in this country in spite of draconian laws criminalizing its possession or use. More than 2 million people are incarcerated in the United States and half are there for so-called drug “crimes.”

Particularly deplorable is the fact that enforcement of these laws is far from color blind. Whites are the nation’s biggest drug users yet African Americans are the largest group being targeted.

Now Trump has declared a new, more “ruthless” war on drugs and his sidekick Jeff Sessions (who reputedly has racist tendencies) will be the new “enforcer.” So, in addition to current pressures to crack down on undocumented workers, systemic racism is being resuscitated through the reinstitution of ineffective and costly drug laws targeting minorities.

Drug use must be treated as a health problem. It should not be treated as a problem for the police and the courts to handle because, as we all know, our justice system has been shown to administer laws unfairly when people of color are involved.







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52 Comments

  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    Mandatory random drug testing should be required for all who are funded through our tax dollars. Politicians down to the city worker should be routinely vetted this way if we seriously want to fix the problem.

    (15) 41 Total Votes - 28 up - 13 down
    • BigRed says:

      15 states already do some version of this… Of course it will NEVER happen in California.

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
      • RonHolt says:

        They tried it in Florida for “welfare recipients” and found that the rate of drug positive applicants was not significantly higher than the number of drug users in the general population. More importantly, the cost of testing exceeded what they saved in denying benefits to those who did test positive. (I am sorry that I don’t have a link to this story — it was many years ago.)

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. rukidding says:

    As the author has stated that whites may be the bigger users of drugs while blacks are targeted. That may be a biased statement when you might take into account the amount of violence that takes place in the black communities due to drugs.

    (18) 46 Total Votes - 32 up - 14 down
  3. Mike says:

    Allan Do you have any actual proof of Jeff Sessions “reputedly has racist tendencies”? Or is this just another attempt to smear him?

    (16) 40 Total Votes - 28 up - 12 down
    • diana68 says:

      http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39085-smooth-talking-jeff-sessions-can-t-hide-disturbing-record

      You might want to read about Sessions documented racism.

      (-10) 36 Total Votes - 13 up - 23 down
      • fhill123 says:

        Apparently, the down votes are those whose mind is made up and do not need facts. Not very open-minded. Get your red thumbs out!!

        (-4) 18 Total Votes - 7 up - 11 down
      • Mike says:

        That link is just more smear. Lacking in real facts. Far left looney tune site. Do you have any actual evidence?

        (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • Citizen says:

        Diana68, Your reference is to an opinion piece. It does not document anything, just refers to documentation. Are you really this gullible not to recognize bias and opinion? Is anyone who is against voter fraud, or even suggests that it exists, a racist?

        Voter fraud is difficult to prove because you have to establish that the person voted with the intent to commit voter fraud. All someone has to establish is that they didn’t know that voting twice wasn’t allowed, or that they didn’t know that only US citizens can vote, etc.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
    • kettle says:

      It is a sure sign of the failings of American education when people forget all about the history of the south east, Wallace, Thurman, Sessions and others. Full on racism.

      It is 2017 and we still have segregated schools in the south.

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  4. Otis says:

    “Whites are the nation’s biggest drug users yet African Americans are the largest group being targeted.”

    The opinion is misleading. The percentages of use in the populations of whites and blacks should have been provided.

    (18) 32 Total Votes - 25 up - 7 down
    • rukidding says:

      Aty the same time the percentage of whites far exceeds the percentage of blacks in our country. Although at the same time blacks account for a much higher rate of crime in relation to their percentage of population. You can search it out on Google if you wish.

      (12) 20 Total Votes - 16 up - 4 down
      • RonHolt says:

        How much of that difference in rates is due to unequal enforcement of laws? (Not to mention other factors.) During the “crack epidemic” many years back, blacks were arrested and imprisoned at a far higher RATE than whites who used the refined version — cocaine.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • rukidding says:

          It’s the amount of crime that blacks commit within the drug culture. Google Chicago and read all about it. If I’m wrong please direct me to a white community where the crime rates are as high as in black communities?

          (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  5. The Identarian says:

    Illicit drug use has decimated the Black communities and all this clown can do is declare that Jeff Sessions ‘has racist tendencies”. Typical, completely misses the mark. Fail!

    (21) 39 Total Votes - 30 up - 9 down
    • RonHolt says:

      Part of that decimation is due to the criminalization of drugs. Legal drug use wouldn’t require association with criminals to obtain the drugs. Legal drug use wouldn’t give those criminals a huge income source. Legal drug use wouldn’t leave the dumb young kids who experiment with a future limited by a criminal record. Yes, there would still be problems but a lot less of them. Let’s try something else long enough and well enough to find out if it can succeed where a War of Drugs has failed.

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  6. r0y says:

    So let me get this straight, you do not like the laws that congress (state or fed) have passed, so you attack the Trump administration (executive branch) for enforcing them over the last 3 months? A bit banal, don’t you think?

    Also, you claim Sessions’ “racist tendencies” are reputed; I have only seen partisan repudiation of said tendencies, but that is enough for you to establish that “systemic racism is being resuscitated through the reinstitution of ineffective and costly drug laws targeting minorities.” Again, all within the last 3 months or so? Quite a leap.

    Why do ideological progressives always over-play their hands? I really believe tort reform is needed (good luck with that, right?) rather than petty bickering about a politician one did not vote for. States have started to legalize marijuana, and the libertarian in me is glad… at least until I am reminded of the meth couple who had a toddler with them. Then I realize removing barriers to recreational narcotics is hampered by a severe lack of common sense among the people using and dealing. It’s a tough row to hoe.

    (12) 32 Total Votes - 22 up - 10 down
  7. Pelican1 says:

    Sadly, the Dr’s that have prescribed opoids routinely for pain management are at the root cause for the epidemic of addiction.
    From dental work to major surgery, it was the way to go a decade ago…with disastrous results.
    We need to STOP this fear of experiencing a little bit of pain and GROW UP!

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • RonHolt says:

      I agree that doctors have been careless in prescribing opiods and in weaning patients off of them. However, different people have widely varying natural tolerances for pain. Some really do need pharmaceutical help beyond a couple of aspirin or whatever. I haven’t experienced that kind of pain but I know some who have. That is not a matter of learning to tolerate a “little bit of pain” or “growing up.”

      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  8. Rambunctious says:

    I really dislike this attitude and this false narrative that there are thousands of drug addicts in prison for being addicted. People are in prison for breaking the law. They are in prison for selling drugs, stealing, DWI, robbery, murder, and assault prostitution.
    There are treatment centers, they do exist, there are churches that help addicts every day. Anyone who feels the way Mr. Cooper feels should talk to the children and family members of drug addicts.
    Often times families celebrate the detention of their loved ones because they have exhausted all other resources in trying to get their loved ones clean. they view a jail sentence completely different than Mr. Cooper obviously does.
    Secondly this is not President Trumps war on drugs, this is Americas war on drugs and we are losing it. Anything Mr. Sessions does to lessen the availability of drugs in America is a good thing not a bad thing.
    If the police and the courts step aside thousands of people will be negatively affected. This is just not a reasonable or a reasonable way to go nor is it compassionate. To the contrary it’s harmful and short sighted.

    (6) 28 Total Votes - 17 up - 11 down
    • mkaney says:

      Oh you mean like how everything got worse when prohibition was ended. Oh wait, it didn’t. Why don’t you let those people deal with the consequences themselves, and you worry about your own issues.

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
      • BigRed says:

        Worry about our own issues? Ha. That’s the most libertarian you’ve ever been. I’m sure that concept will disappear when government funded health care for all is the topic or any other tax payer funded entitlement is being debated.

        “let them deal with the consequences”… Until you’re stepping over them in the street. Then it will be spend billions to save them.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • RonHolt says:

      The reason that treatment centers aren’t working is that the demand far exceeds the capacity and this has weighed treatment in favor of those who can afford to buy their way in (or whose parents can). Maybe if we didn’t spend so much on prisons and drug cops, we could afford to fund them well enough to insure equal access to the poorer drug addicts — most of them.

      If criminalizing drugs and harshly enforcing such laws worked, we would be much better off than we are. Also prohibition would not have been such a failure. There can be arguments about the relative harm of some drugs but almost no one is arguing that they are without harm. A lot of us think that the financial cost of the war on drugs combined with the resulting profits for the criminals who provide them and the loss of potentially useful citizens due to the stigma of having a drug conviction just isn’t worth it.

      I have no problem treating marijuana use like alcohol use — over 21 years old, no vehicle operation under the influence, etc. I would also like to see treating most other drug use as if the user had a mental illness problem (although we are slacking in that field too.) Put such users in a mandatory treatment program if they become a problem — in jail if necessary. People who sell drugs to minors can also go to jail.

      Finally, lets do something about illegal use of legal opiods. They are behind the recent increase in heroin use. Those who get hooked on them turn to heroin for the same high as it is easier for them to get. In addition to nailing the doctors who over-prescribe them or fail to wean patients off them, the pharmaceutical companies who strongly push their use need to be restrained from doing so.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  9. LOVESLO says:

    Our healthcare system as we know it is collapsing. I wouldn’t look to them to correct the drug problem they were complicit in creating by over prescribing opioids. Build the wall and keep the heroin out.

    (38) 74 Total Votes - 56 up - 18 down
    • Freethebud says:

      We would need a wall around the whole nation to keep out the heroin. Why not learn from other countries that have dealt with the same problem more effectively using more humane methods? That would take a more pragmatic approach rather than building more prisons and incarcerating even more of our citizens.

      (12) 40 Total Votes - 26 up - 14 down
    • r0y says:

      The snarky sophomore in me would point out something along the lines of:
      The CIA will always find a way to import their heroin.

      (14) 32 Total Votes - 23 up - 9 down
      • MrRearden says:

        That was cocaine and it was the Russians posing as the CIA posing as good Communistas and I’m certain it was just Bush’s fault anyway…

        (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down

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