By M. L. Simon
We have been hearing a lot about drug-related violence in the Rockford area these days. Two kids were killed in gang or drug-related violence last month. What does it all mean? Why have we lost four people to violence in a month when we lost 11 in all of last year? The truth is that there is no drug-related violence in Rockford. What we actually have is prohibition related violence. How is this so?
The answer is simple. Prohibition is working. Supplies of drugs in America have been temporarily reduced due to the increased effectiveness of border guards after September 11th. Drug prices have been declining for quite a few years due to the increased efficiency of the drug smugglers. That has changed at least temporarily.
How does this affect the murder rate? First, the drugs that are still out there are worth more. Therefore, drug profits are up. Killing a rival and stealing his drugs is now worth more. In addition, profits, though up per sale, are harder to come by because flows of goods are down. So killing a rival is even more valuable if you have access to supplies but are short on customers.
We, in fact, no longer have much drug-related violence; we only have prohibition related violence. It is well past time that the news media started telling the truth on this subject. We cannot solve the problem if we dont look at it from the correct point of view. Drugs do not cause violence; prohibition causes violence. No doubt we have a few skeptics out there, so let us look at the evidence.
A study by researchers at the Robert Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies at the University of California at Riverside based on a detailed review of the scientific literature on drugs, alcohol and violence found that ….Despite a number of published statements to the contrary, we find no significant evidence suggesting that drug use is associated with violence,.
The study looked at amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, and PCP (phencyclidine). None of the violence associated with these drugs was found to be caused by the pharmacological action of any of the drugs. What violence there was was thought to be caused by the expectations of the users and their environment. In this respect, alcohol is the drug most often connected with violence. According to crime victim reports 10 percent of all assailants were using an illegal drug while 25 percent were using alcohol. In fact, murders are overwhelmingly associated with alcohol.
Robert Nash Parker, the studys principal author, has said: If you really want to have an effective policy related to substance abuse, if you want to have fewer bad outcomes in terms of health, welfare, and violence, the substance you want to focus on is alcohol. The evidence is pretty powerful and pretty convincing if someone is willing to look at it.
You can read more about this report at: http://www.drcnet.org/wol/222.html#drugviolence
In addition, the Federal Department of Justice has come to similar conclusions.
Their report can be read at: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/GovPubs/psycviol.htm
Local note: Clifford Wallace Thornton, Jr. of Efficacy in Hartford, Ct. will be speaking about the drug war at The Unitarian Church at 4848 Turner St. on Monday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Cliffords mother died 30 years ago of a heroin overdose. Clifford ascribes this tragedy not to drugs but to drug prohibition. He would like to see heroin and all other drugs legalized.
This weeks saying: How will we know when drug laws are fair and equitable? When beer drinkers and cigarette smokers get prison sentences for possessing dangerous drugs.
Ask a politician: Do you support drug prohibition because it finances criminals at home or because it finances terrorists abroad?
This weeks politician is: Senate Judiciary Committee Member Herb Kohl (WI) email@example.com Phone: (202) 224-5653
M.L. Simon is an industrial controls designer and independent political activist (c) M. Simon – All rights reserved. Permission granted for one time use in a single periodical publication. Permission also granted for concurrent publication on the periodicals www site.