Cultural Baggage, 11-05-08

Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

It's not only inhumane it is really fundamentally un-American..... 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR' 'NO MORE' 'DRUG WAR'

My Name is Dean Becker. I don't condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
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Ah yes, welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage.

I want to start this show with the thought, that I thought John McCain's speech of resignation was first class. It's just too bad he didn't speak a little more humanely during the campaign. But, thank God, Obama's to be our new president. I wish him the best of luck.

It seems that common sense is indeed making a comeback and that people are starting to act as more complete citizens of this nation.

On this program we're going to feature a speech given by our drug czar, John Walters, at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies at Rice University. We'll also hear from Terry Nelson with the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition report.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our drug czar, John Walters:

John Walters: I'm responsible for the coordination of federal effort but the reason I'm here is because Houston is a model of where this all takes place which is, of course, person to person at the local level. Almost everything the federal government does is designed to help enable and support people like yourselves and the people you work with and the people in this community.

In fact, Houston has been a model of, and I think this conference is an example of, the leadership that Houston has given in bringing the community together to focus the different parts of institutional structures that really can make a difference. I think we're undergoing what I would call a quiet revolution, for the better, in dealing with our substance abuse problems in this country and it's rooted in the science and recognition that appropriate movements by institutions, in making their success broader, we can change this problem durably and effectively over the long term, in dramatic fashion.

I want to congratulate Dr. Martin at the Baker Institute, Dr. Bush for his remarks and chairman of the Houston, Harris County drug office. I would say, just as a couple introductory points, two things about the revolution I talked about. I think that revolution is based on the science, some of that was eluded to just a few moments ago, that allows us to see substance abuse for the first time as disease in a thorough going way.

I recognize this in not necessarily what everybody understands and believes everywhere but I think, more and more, what we're seeing is the key way in which, the understanding of the brain we have now, see's this as a change and we understand that change and we understand how to employ more parts of our community effort against that fundamental common understanding.

What I mean by that is, we're using even that science to help with the prevention that we're doing with young people. Now more of our advertising is to help young people understand what we've seen with the changes these substances have in the parts of the brain eluded to by Dr. Bush.

We're telling you, unlike, I'm part of the baby boomer generation, I see from the looks of some of you you're part of my generation too, for better or worse, we did a terrible thing. We made substance abuse associated with growing up in America. We made substance abuse associated with becoming kind of independent from being children to being adults.

It's a kind of being someone who tests the limits, rather than just obeys the rules and that huge change has echoed through our society. One way it's echoed through our society is our generation has the largest rates of alcoholism and substance abuse, now in our 50's and 60's, of any generation before or after. We now know why.

We didn't know why when we were younger that these substances not only can affect the brain and change it to make you dependant. But use, even short of dependence, changes the risk factors for you for the rest of your life.

Some risk factors we now know you inherit. Some risk factors you change by your behavior and so we, by our larger exposure to these substances, have paid a price for the rest of our lives and will until we die, as a generation.

By the same token, the 24% decline we've seen in teenage drug use is something the current generation will take with them, for the good, for the rest of their lives. So for people who say, 'Well, we don't really make any difference over time. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down but it's always going to be about the same.' That's clearly not true.

The science is showing us, if we reduce the exposure and we intervene effectively, we change the demographics and the casualties for a durable period of time.

Also, we know how to better engage. As I said, we can use the science that tells us this is a disease to help young people to see what they are doing. You're not just choosing to use drugs the way you'd make other uses of your freedom in life. That's what my generation thought, you know, 'we get to use our free time as independent individuals and it doesn't harm anybody but ourselves, we get to do it.'

This isn't like choosing the kind of music you listen to or clothes you wear. It makes you sick, it makes your friends sick and most people now unfortunately, or fortunately if we want to turn it to a good, have that experience in their family. They have a relative or friend, friend of the family, who've become alcoholic or drug dependant.

They know they've become a different person, that taking over of the brain, 'You know, I remember my brother when he was this way and now he's not.' We can help them understand and use that suffering, let's speak candid, to understand what's really happening and what you really need to do because this is a disease we can treat.

That's the other thing. This is not something where it's a failure and you fall off a cliff and we can't help. We have millions of people in recovery and we have more of them talking about their recovery. But when they talk about it, I think it's very important that we help people who are not engaged to understand that part of that recovery for, almost everybody I meet, is people around them somewhere said, 'You need to face this.' and 'You can lean on me.' There's some help in treatment and support.

What's AA about? It's about maintaining your recovery through helping other people with their recovery. It's a very important part of what you see in the recovery community and also, I think it's a great example of what we want most of our children and our citizens to be. People who care about the people around them in important matters.

So, this great tragedy becomes an example of people who are, in some ways, the living embodiment of what many of us talk about and don't do, as well in our lives.

I think the other thing this helps us do, in addition to helping people understand, is give some clarity where people have been wanting to be involved in denial and still suffer shame or avoidance. In my job some of you have the same experience, no doubt.

Dean Becker: You are listening to the Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network and Pacifica Radio. The voice you hear is that of our drug czar, John Walters, speaking at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies at Rice University. His audience, a bunch of DEA, ONDCP and SAMHSA aficionados. Do you think they'll be able to save my comments till the end of this speech? We'll see.

John Walters: Because of my job I have people come up to me, sometimes family friends, who have an adolescent who they know, because many times parents do know, are starting to experiment with drugs; underage drinking.

They come to me and tell me this. What they want me to tell them I know, and you must know this too is, 'It's going to be ok' that, 'Most kids do this' and 'It's kind of a phase' or 'They'll pass out of it' and /or they want me to tell them the magic / secret, where don't have to be too worried or they don't have to be too... placed into a difficult position.

What I have to tell them is probably what you have to tell them is, 'I'm going to have to tell you something you don't want to hear.' We know that these substances, if you continue to use them, will make anyone dependant and will cause the disease that you are fearful your child's going to face and that's just a matter of chemistry. That's a matter of scientific law.

We can make anybody an addict or an alcoholic. We can do it to monkeys and rats and mice. We do it for research purposes. So, you can't look the other way and say it's going to be ok. It's not going to be ok. Now maybe they'll stop on their own. But the chances are great that if you don't act, there is a risk that they will continue to do this and you need to explain to them and... What do they have to understand?

They have to understand that this disease unlike other diseases involves denial. That's part of the problem. So when you come and tell somebody they have a problem with alcohol or drugs, they don't say, 'Well, thank you. I didn't realize that, I'll go right away and seek professional help and I comply with the professional recommendations and we'll get over this disease.'

They have to prepare themselves for something that they know and I think we need to touch on that because that's a wellspring of information and power that we don't touch on enough. They're going to resist this. They're going to yell at you. They're going to hate you . They're going to blackmail you, 'I'll run away from home if you don't let me do this.'

They want to know, 'Well, I just found my child for the first time with just marijuana and that's ok, right?' and you have to tell them, 'It's never the first time. It's never, never, never the first time. Doesn't happen. Probabilities are infinitesimal and they will lie. This will be the best lying they'll ever do in their lives and they're going to lie to you and you'll say, 'I don't want to distrust my child.' They can't help themselves. That's what the circumstance and the substance is doing to them.

So we need to use the tools that bring a community together. We've tried to do in what this city has been the leader on, is using more institutions to help parents and community leaders. You've been a leader in screening in the health care system.

Ben Taub Hospital was one of the first to do regular screening in the intake of patients across the board, 'Do you drink? Do you use drugs?' to help them get brief interventions if they weren't dependent or refer them to more intense care, if they needed it.

We've taken this program nation wide. We now have codes in the public pay Medicaid / Medicare system for reimbursement that states can adopt. We're getting more health insurance companies to reimburse for screening and brief intervention.

We want to take it so, every time you see a health care professional, just as they take your pulse, just as we screen for things like hypertension and diabetes, a preventable disease, we can help prevent this from moving from initiation to acute disease.

In addition, we can get people with acute disease into help...into proper treatment and we're reinforcing the message, 'This is a disease.' It's not about lifestyle. It's about your own health and we understand that and we need to make that more salient.

We're using screening in the work place. We've had drug testing in the workplace for many, many years. A great example of revolution, of course, is the military had a huge problem 20 years ago and used testing.

But also, of course, many companies are now using this as a way of retaining important professionals and preventing disease from being a progressive problem for their health and safety in longevity with the corporation and of course with their families.

In addition, as was mentioned, we have, at the presidents direction, for the first time since The State of the Union speech in 2004, provided money for random testing in schools.

Once we had a Supreme Court decision that said, 'Random testing may not be used to punish, must be done confidentially, must be done with the parent to get the parent and the student help.' We now have a means of using a huge public health tool that we've used for other diseases.

I don't know whether Texas is a state that requires screening for tuberculosis for children to come to school. Many states do. Why? Because a child who has the disease and is not treated will get sicker and they will infect other children. That is exactly what happens with this disease although it is not spread by a virus, despite the metaphor, it's spread by behavior, from child to child.

What does the testing do? It finds the particular student that is at risk and gives the society and the schools an obligation to intervene with them and their parents to get them clean and sober and to make them successful.

What happens now in most other places? They continue to use, frequently not helped and until they either drop out of school or drop out of school and enter the criminal justice system or, whatever happens through some random set of events.

What does random testing allow us to do? It allows us to use the institutions of the schools as well as the health care system to help us head off this disease and contain it. If you understand it's a disease, you begin to see the epidemiological component of this disease and how it's spread.

We've also been fostering the advance, I'm going to be seeing the Harris county drug court later today, of the use of screening and intervention in the criminal justice system. To take people who are not violent offenders that are an immediate threat, but to get them into treatment.

Many times we wait until they offend over and over and over and over again, until they either go to jail or prisons or until they become such a destructive factor for their lives that they are extremely difficult for society to continue with. We don't have to do that.

Dean Becker: You are listening to our drug czar, John Walters, on the Cultural Baggage show and I've just got to throw this in here. Mr. Walters, if it's a disease, why do you insist on locking up 1.9 million drug users, each year, who are afflicted with that disease?

John Walters: Today, single largest source of intake is the criminal justice system. Over two thousand drug courts nationwide and the court becomes an instrument of intervening and supervising. Some of you no doubt work in the drug court system and see the powerful tool this is to break the cycle of self destruction. Good for the individual, for the family, for the community. It saves money in the long term. It saves lives in the long term.

We're beginning to see that it's not about giving people a free pass. I've seen, if you want to visit a drug court if you're not convinced, it's not fun. I've seen some people actually stay in the drug court system longer than their sentence would have been. Because drug courts that don't accept failure, if you fail you get a proportional response of adverse penalty, partial incarceration, loss of some of your freedom and you're going to come back and succeed.

I've seen people enter drug court and say, 'Judge, I'm not going to make it.' You've seen people on addiction. They've given up on themselves, their parents have given up on them. How can the love of a father or mother die?
Well, it does with alcoholism and substance abuse because you give up on yourself.

I've seen judges and court professionals say, 'I know you don't believe in this. We're going to make you succeed,' and the most common thing you hear, although when everybody says it it's the first time for them is, when they graduate from drug court, 'The day I was arrested was the luckiest day of my life. Saved my life, I'd be dead.'

We're seeing this used in more directions for family court, because we know substance abuse is a huge part of problem of child abuse and endangerment. We're seeing combinations of, you have some of them here, mental health court working on cooccurring disorders with substance abuse and mental health, to get the ability to care for people into the lives in an effective way of those who are some cases most affected by the disease and most in need of the institutions that help them.

We have also fostered drug free communities. I see Sue Thaw here from CADCA. We've been expanding drug free communities, an effort to help the organization of individual communities to bring together the resources, federal, state and local on sound grounds. We've just finished our first evaluation of drug free communities where they exist working, primarily on underage use. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs.

We've had, and as they mature, we've had significant declines in comparable demographic areas of rates of use. Another tool that helps the community use these other institutional changes for the good.

Because I want to leave time for questions, I'll just mention two other things for your consideration.

One, we've had significant declines, not only in use but even in adult use, as measured by workplace drug testing. Today, since we've, earliest consolidated work place drug testing rates goes back to 1988. Today, we're lower than any time during that period.

Cocaine has dropped dramatically in the last couple years, methamphetamine has dropped dramatically, marijuana has gone down, not only for young people, but for adults. Some of that is also the contributions being made by supply reduction. I didn't want us to forget that.

The efforts by Columbia, by Mexico, for the first time we more aggressively attacked these, we've seen reports as high as, in some areas of the country today, a 50% decline in the availability of cocaine between mid 2006 and the present.

Methamphetamine, the efforts to go after both the organizations producing in Mexico and the domestic production by cutting off the precursor chemicals pseudoephedrine and ephedra have been dramatic in most areas of the country and a welcome change from this horrible, horrible substance.

We still have more to do but we are following through against these efforts and when you see the effect of supply and demand together, youth rates of cocaine and methamphetamine use, where that's a small part but troubling part for some, have dropped up to 60% over the last five years. So, you begin to see what happens when we work on reducing the business side of the supply and the demand side, consumption, through these other efforts.

Again, we need to follow through. We take our eye off the ball, we forget about this. When problems get better and they're not as big a threat, we forget about what we're doing and the urgency of your work and the urgency to follow through, but there is a revolution going on.

Finally, I would mention and there is, as you know, one area that despite all these trends has been a counter area, which has been prescription drug abuse, has gone up. Led by synthetic opioids, painkillers, oxycontin, vicadin and we need to use the tools appropriate to that particular problem. Where I think screening is an important part of that in the health care system.

Also, educating health care professional about some of the dangers in follow up. We are working with states to put in prescription monitoring programs that will help them see the small number of criminal distributors here and I think we need to also recognize that for young people it's a different problem than for adults who may be dependant.

For young people there're many cases we've used our media campaign to alert parents. They're going into medicine cabinets and taking pills out and using them. They're not buying it, there's no barrier to enter, it's in your home and it's for free.

They've been told on the internet that, 'Yes, street drugs are dangerous but pills are known quantities, they're made by a regulated industry, they're safe 'highs'.' Obviously, vicadin, oxycontin and those are extremely powerful, extremely dangerous and because young people have a tendency to use these in combination with alcohol, which as you no doubt know, can be deadly with these particular substances, it's an urgent need.

We're working to try to help parents get control of these substances in their home. Talk to your kids about pills. Somebody is talking to your kids on the internet or somebody is talking to their friends on the internet that will talk to your kids. Don't let them be fooled.

Again, my job and your job covers a lot of topics. I have not tried to exhaust them. I hope I've been somewhat helpful in telling you what we see and why I'm quite optimistic that we can maintain the momentum. Obviously that happens community by community and one of the encouraging things is all of you being here and being committed to creating the consensus on the basis of what's best known, what works best and driving it forward with your support and effort.

It's been a great honor for me, at the end of my service in this administration, to work with communities such as this and I want to thank you for being in the forefront of the achievements and the knowledge that we now have.

Dean Becker: Once again, we've been listening to drug czar, John Walters, speaking to a fawning crowd at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies, Rice University.

Mr. Walters is a shaman; a shill; a front man for big pharma, for lazy and hysterical agents of law enforcement; the very best friend that Osama Bin Laden could ever hope for; an uber-ally of the cartels and paramilitary traffickers and the wind beneath the wings of the deadly drug gangs that sell contaminated drugs to our children and...

An absolute coward for once again refusing to come on this radio program to clarify the need for everlasting drug war.

Other than that, he's a great guy.
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It's time to play, 'Name that Drug - by it's Side Effects'

Sleepiness, dizziness, disturbed coordination, fatigue, confusion, restlessness, excitation, nervousness, tremor, irritability, insomnia, euphoria, blurred vision, vertigo, hallucinations, convulsions and death.

(((gong)))

Time's up. The answer: Cheese. Diphenhydramine hydrochloride and opiates. Tylenol PM and heroin. In particularly for children, it seems most of the symptoms listed are due to Tylenol PM and the heroin only serves to bring the 'high' in focus.
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Dean Becker: Terry Nelson spent 33 years working for the US government as a Customs, Border and Air Interdiction Officer. He retired earlier this year as a GS-14, the equivalent of a Bird Colonel.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I have worked for almost three decades in the war on drugs and almost a year at the US Embassy in Mexico City.

It was true then and it's true now, that the prohibition of drugs make for a rich and powerful enemy. The following information from United Press International has been seen many times before and will be seen many more times if the US continues the fail public policy called the war on drugs.

Mexico City, October 28 (UPI) - 'Mexico said it is cleaning house in it's attorney general's office after five inside drug officials were arrested for secretly working for drug cartels.

The arrested official's came from Mexico's elite organized crime unit and are accused of pocketing as much as $450,000 per month from the Beltran Leyva Cartel, one of the biggest transporters of Columbian cocaine, in exchange for sensitive law enforcement information.

One alleged cartel informant worked for US embassy in Mexico City and leaked drug enforcement agency secrets to organized criminals, Mexican officials said.'

Just for grins, you might want to go to Google and google, 'Mexican attorney general involved with cartels' and if you do, you will get 35 pages of hits going back 20 years and almost all of those pages deal with corruption and drugs in Mexico.

Plan Mérida, the most recent plan to deal with this problem, if fully implemented, will provide over one billion dollars to Mexico to fight the drug barons. In the 18 months that Calderón has been President, there've been over 5.000 drug war related killings and over 500 of those were policemen. That's one thousand more than US soldiers we lost in five years in Iraq.

The best way to put the cartels out of business is not go mano a mano
with them, but instead remove the immense profits from their coffers and they will no longer have the money to take on governments.

By legalizing the drug trade and then regulating and taxing it, similar to alcohol and tobacco, it would take the profits from the drug cartels and put them into the state's coffers instead. While this will not fix the drug problem, it would greatly reduce the crime and violence issues. We can then implement a system of credible education to prevent drug abuse and when needed, medical treatment to treat those that do become addicted.

Drugs are entirely too dangerous to be left in the hands of street gangs and criminal cartels. Let's make our streets safe and our country safer by removing the drug gangs from our midst by a policy of regulation and control instead of arrest and incarcerate.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc , signing off.
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DRUGS will destroy you life Especially if you are caught, jailed and permanently stigmatized.

DRUGS enslave our children. Especially if they are made by charlatans and sold by gangsters.

DRUGS and CRIME, go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Everybody likes peanut butter and jelly.

DRUGS

To learn more, please visit the website of: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. leap.cc
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Five times as many people die from alcohol each year than from elicit drugs and the misuse of legal pharmaceuticals. Fifteen times as many people die from poor diets and activity patterns. Twenty times as many people die from tobacco.

Why arrest 1.6 million people each year for drugs? Does jailing drug users make more sense than jailing overweight people and smokers?

Let's keep America's drug problem in perspective.

Common sense for drug policy. csdp.org
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.If they stop Afghanistan from growing opium
and they cut down the Columbian cocaine
When Mexico runs out of marijuana,
they think we'll quit getting high
but the drug store on the corners standing by

Cut me loose, set me free, judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket, just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be

VISER and Merck kill more of us than the cartel's crap ever could
They thank us for our silence each years hundred billion dollars
and the chance to do it forevermore.
Drugs first eternal war.

Cut me loose, set me free, judge what I do, not what I put inside of me
Why do you pick my pocket, just let me light my rocket
Who died and made you the boss of me?
Get out of my life, let me be

Are we just peasants in the field?
Let's stand for truth or forever kneel
Every 16 seconds we hear the slammin' door
and we owe it all to eternal war.
The first Eternal War.

Eternal War - Featuring instrumentation from Mr. Guy Schwartz and Dean Becker doing vocals

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Well folks, I hope you're like me, that maybe you've got a new, more liberal Sheriff and a new more liberal District Attorney and maybe some state and federal reps. that give a damn and they're going to look at changing these drug laws. Let's hope, huh?

In any case, you are the answer. Go visit these new officials or if they've been re-elected, let them know you're out there. Let them know what you want. Let them know what you've observed about this drug war and that you want them to bring it to an end. That's our only recourse, to the law.

And as always, I remind you, that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please be careful.

To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.


Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org