« A Continuing Epiphany | Main | NORML Aftermath »

April 02, 2006

Epiphany (cont'd)

   In the last entry, I stated that Richard Nixon's drug war had actually stimulated the growth of the illegal drug markets it claimed to oppose. Why that was so should be a no-brainer for Americans- if for no other reason than as the World's most aggressive marketers we should realize that until a product is finally introduced to those it has the most appeal for, it may be a tough sell. In the case of pot, that clearly didn't happen until large numbers of adolescents were suddenly exposed to it in the the mid-to-late Sixties- just before "war" was declared on it by RMN.

In addition to availability,  what is most essential to any new product launch is advertising; something the 'war' on drugs has always been able to provide gratis- thanks to the unfailing willingness of the media to hype the latest drug scare. In addition, the public utterances of every non-MD 'drug czar' since Carleton Turner played that role for the  Reagans,  make it painfully clear that 'shill' is a far more accurate job description than 'czar.' What drug czars are paid to lobby for- and some do more vociferously than others- is the policy itself; especially its 'core' principle that there can be no  alternative to rigorous criminal prohibition. The current 'reason' - as voiced by James Q. Wilson while chairing a recent "expert" panel- is that because there is no political will to legalize drugs on Capitol Hill, "legalization" is a "non-starter." What a profoundly inane reason for not even studying a failing, expensive,  and very destructive policy while clinging stubbornly to its untested assumptions for nearly a century!

Next, I'll point out how  how all illegal drug markets, even the one for heroin, had really fallen far short of their real potential until passage of the CSA  in 1970- and how rediscovery of RMN's drug war by the Reagans, combined with a mid-Eighties  "crack"epidemic- finally solidified the drug war's place in history as a thoroughly bipartisan national disgrace.

 Tom O'Connell, MD

Posted by tjeffo at April 2, 2006 05:03 AM