Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Byrne task forces account for huge portion of drug arrests in other states

In Oregon, I was astonished to read, 85% of drug arrests are made by regional narcotics task forces funded by the federal Byrne grant program, an overwhelming proportion. That statistic came out in the debate over the Bush Administration's proposal to slash the fund by 2/3.

But guess what? The sky didn't fall when Texas closed its task forces, which spent most of their time running undercover stings in the same minority neighborhoods over and over scrounging for low-level users. If the budget cuts hold, I predict other states will discover, as we did, that Byrne task forces weren't making them all that much safer.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The "war on drugs" has never been about making anyone safer. Instead it has been about prohibition style thinking that makes some forms of intoxication illegal. After 30 years and billions of taxpayer dollars, illegal drugs are cheaper and better than ever. The failed drug war has filled our prisons, ruined countless lives, and criminalized behavior that is just fine as long as you drink coffee or alcohol, smoke cigarettes, use prescription drugs etc.
The only beneficiaries of current drug laws are the investors in private prisons, and all others who make huge amounts of money from illegal drug trafficking....terrorists, gangs, drug cartels, and other criminals. It is time to end the drug war, legalize drugs and enable the government and legitimate private enterprise to reap the financial rewards. The funding of all the above criminals through outdated and failed laws needs to stop.

JT Barrie said...

IF it was about safety we would have identifiable thresholds to determine unsafe or risky drugs. Instead we have this " high potential for abuse" - and that is a standard for users of all drugs. If it has a high potential for use.... then it has a high potential for abuse. Why hasn't anyone else figured this out??

Weirdharold said...

anonymous said:
The only beneficiaries of current drug laws are the investors in private prisons, and all others who make huge amounts of money from illegal drug trafficking....terrorists, gangs, drug cartels, and other criminal.

There are few others that should get a real job too, SWAT teams, undercover cops, drug test facilities, drug courts, & the list goes on & on.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to say I disagree with the decriminalization of drugs, but the one part of this puzzle you never address when you bring up the subject is the part of the system (criminal/health etc) that deals with the family members of the drug user. Any idea what drug addicted babies cost the tax payer. How about the justice system that deals with the families torn apart by the problem? I don't have the answer to the problem, but when thinking about decriminalization, we have to remember the rest of the story.

kaptinemo said...

Anonymous 9:27, WRT the questions you've raised, I'd have to answer that at that point, under a regulation and control schema (such as with alcohol, today), any future recreational drug addicts would be on par with your average alcoholic. And we don't seem to be spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to prevent fools from drinking themselves to death, or creating 'fetal alcohol syndrome' babies. To paraphrase one C & W song's lyric, they're free to 'put the bottle to their heads and pull the trigger'. Treatment centers would still exist, and I have no doubt that in the case of problem users, that treatment would be court-remanded. It's just that under a regulation schema vastly fewer beds would be taken up by those remanded to them for 'marijuana addiction' and would be better filled with those with opiate or cocaine addictions.

Like as not, this is where the insistence upon personal responsibility kicks in. Either someone is moderate in their usage of any psychotropic - alcohol included, of course - or they aren't, and suffer the (legal and social) consequences.

Which leads me to observe that it seems to be a tacit assumption on the part of prohibitionists that somehow illicit drug users are accorded a higher degree of societal 'concern' (as exemplified by the DrugWar and its' huge costs to the taxpayer) when it comes to their particular habits, as if their lives were somehow more valuable than that of (legally) inveterate drunkards. Some very peculiar reasoning at work...if you can call it that...

Anonymous said...

kaptinemo -- I agree with you, and I don't think drug users should be sent to jail or prison. Maybe the answer is ... we don't send the drug users to prison and we use all the money we saved for treatment for those individuals who over imbibe. And education for those in their child birthing years.

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