The drug war has resulted…

The drug war has resulted in cheaper, more potent drugs

From a long clean-and-sober friend:

I had a revelation last night while watching TV. Maybe I’m slow, and maybe everyone already knows this, but here goes:

In spite of the war on drugs, I’m told that heroin that sold for $25 a dose in my day now sells for $5 a dose. That’s an 80% *drop* in price!

This DEA chart from 1981-1996 show the “price per pure gram” of heroin dropped from $3300 to $1100 while increasing in purity from 6% to 41%. That’s eight times stronger for 1/3 the price.

The trend has continued unabated from 1996. US DOJ estimates in 2000 in NYC, street heroin had an average purity of 62%, with a gram going for a mere $70. That works out to about $100 per pure gram. So, from 1981 – 2000, heroin dropped from $3300 per pure gram to $100.

As a result of the war on drugs, violence in the drug trade has increased exponentially. This has had the effect of driving out the non-violent smugglers and dealers, to the benefit of the violent.

The drug trade has become even more closely linked to warlords and terrorists than it was during the 1970s. Then, warlords controlled the “Golden Triangle” trade. Today, that has extended to Afghanistan, Columbia (where there’s a link between the cartels and the paramilitaries), Sri Lanka (where the LTTE pays for its operations with international trading in arms and drugs), and other places where the drug trade finances warlords, rebels, terrorists, and other not-so-nice people that most would consider enemies of world peace.

Burma too. Brutal government. Huge heroin and meth production. Not much squawking from the US government about it either, could it be because our oil companies merrily are doing business with their thuggish, corrupt government and we can’t upset the oil companies business dealings, can we? We sure can yelp about opium production in Afghanistan, but somehow don’t say much about it happening in Burma.

The LA Times recently ran an article on unsolved murders in Los Angeles, which, while it focuses on South Central, their Flash map (in the sidebar) detailing  geographical locations of the murders shows the drug-infested Pico Union / MacArthur Park area just west of downtown to have the most unsolved homicides. It is no coincidence the area of LA most known for being a drug supermarket also has the most murders (solved or otherwise).

As an example, at an event this year in MacArthur Park (which is quite safe during the day and not at all safe at night, and that’s not paranoia), friends in their 20’s who parked just a few blocks away and walked, said they were approached several times by drug sellers; it’s just that kind of area. (This didn’t happen to me, no doubt because I’m a middle-aged Anglo, and thus might be a cop or social worker.)

It is truly bizarre the price of heroin has dropped so substantially. The War on Drugs should have had the opposite effect. Or maybe it’s not so odd. I’ve long thought there’s just so much money in drugs that, despite all the posturing, many governments don’t really want drugs eradicated (or legalized). Too many people are getting paid off, too many banks and investment houses etc. are profiting from drug money – hey that money has to go somewhere, right – and if you want off-the-books money to do dark things, what better way than to use drug money?

Plus, well, if you genuinely went after the source of drug supply, you’d take heavy casualities. These guys shoot back. Despite all our macho bluster, this country has a low tolerance for people coming home in body bags. Then there’s the oft-asked question: Why do we focus solely on supply, on stopping the drugs, and ignore demand, not asking why ARE so many people taking drugs and what can we do about it?

There’s also the huge law enforcement and prison systems that have arisen to augment the war on drugs. Were drugs to go away, they’d be out of business. Then politicians would have no one to scapegoat to prove how tough they are on crime. There’s serious vested interests in all of this.

And deaths. Donna Warren, Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor in 2000, lost a son to drugs, he was shot in her living room while she was in the kitchen.

As part of Crack the CIA, Warren is fighting to expose corrupt governmental practices which led to the proliferation of drugs in Los Angeles.

“In 1998, I sued the CIA and the Department of Justice for bringing crack cocaine into our community…Crack cocaine is so insidious…The ’80’s came, contra, war, Nicaragua and it was set loose on the black community…They just unleashed a plague and it entrapped the one person that I loved,” she said, referring to her son, the victim of a drug-related murder six years ago.

My friend concludes with:

Conclusion: The war on drugs has not stemmed the flow of drugs, but rather has made them more available and cheaper. Instead, through the war on drugs, our government has helped fund the very people it claims to oppose.

Question: Could this really be an accident??? Is our government that stupid, or is there something sinister going on? We already know that the Bushies will exaggerate a threat to implement their agenda– could our government be *supporting* a threat for the same reason?

I have to say, the thought scares me. Yet what other conclusion can I come to?

The inescapable fact is, the war of drugs is, either by design or incompetence, a failure. Yes, there are many dedicated cops who genuinely want to stop drugs. Yet, decades after the war on drugs started, the purity of heroin, cocaine, and meth is way up; the price is way down – and this is the precise opposite of what should have happened. The question is, why?

Addendum: After reading this post, my friend responds:

Perhaps I didn’t make my conclusion clear enough: Through the war on drugs, our government is funding terrorists! Yes, they do the same with oil imports. Hmmm.