Ben Carson Says Drug Addiction Is A Symptom Of ‘Political Correctness’ – BY CASEY QUINLAN NOV 8, 2015 3:20PM


Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida event benefiting the group's scholarship fund Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida event benefiting the group’s scholarship fund Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida event benefiting the group’s scholarship fund Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

As voters in numerous states express increasing concern over the rise in drug abuse, current Republican presidential front-runner, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, said the problem can be traced back to an over-emphasis on “political correctness.”

John Dickerson asked Carson about the “human side” of addiction on Face the Nation Sunday after mentioning that 25 percent of New Hampshire voters said drug abuse was the most serious problem in New Hampshire, according to a WMUR poll.

Carson answered that a lack of values and principles were responsible for serious drug abuse:

There are all kinds of addictions and addictions occur in people who are vulnerable who are lacking something in their lives, so we really have to start asking ourselves what have we taken outside of our lives in America? What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the pinnacle of the world and the highest pinnacle anyone else had ever reached, and why are we throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?

Watch the response here:

Carson continued by saying the proliferation of heroin use specifically is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by not giving up on the War on Drugs.

Carson’s comments come shortly after two Princeton economists released findings that the rising death rates for middle-aged white people, especially those were less educated, may stem from substance abuse problems. In comparison, the death rates for middle-aged black and Hispanic people are going down. Although there was a sharp rise in the suicide rate for middle-aged white people, drug abuse was most responsible for pushing up the death rate, the New York Times reported.

The alarming rise in heroin-related overdose and deaths across the U.S. has become an issue of national importance. Last month, President Obama traveled to West Virginia, a state hit particularly hard by the crisis, to unveil a series of public and private sector initiatives designed to combat addiction to heroin and other opioids.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/11/08/3720420/ben-carson-addiction-political-correctness/

4 ways John Oliver nails America’s disastrous War on Drugs – TONY NEWMAN, ALTERNET THURSDAY, AUG 6, 2015 02:00 AM PDT


4 ways John Oliver nails America's disastrous War on Drugs

For some years now, Comedy Central and HBO have played a huge role in educating people about some of the most important issues of the day. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Larry Willmore and John Oliver are all skillful at both educating and entertaining us. They are so impactful that presidential candidates and others running our country make it a priority to go on their shows.

Oliver, with his extensive 15-minute segments on his spinoff show on HBO, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, digs deeper into issues than most traditional news channels. One issue that Oliver has taken the lead on is ridiculing and slamming our country’s disastrous war on drugs. Oliver hits the drug war from all angles. Here are four excellent segments that show Oliver is becoming one of the most influential voices in our country to say loud and clear: No More Drug War.

Oliver Slams Mandatory Minimums and Mass Incarceration

Just last week, Oliver piggybacked off the news of President Obama’s 46 commutations and pivoted to our country’s insane mandatory minimums and their role in making the US the world leader in incarcerating its people.

Oliver Blasts the U.S. Bail System for Locking up Poor People Regardless of Guilt

Oliver recently took on the U.S. bail system pointing out that it has increasingly become a way to lock up the poor, regardless of guilt. Oliver referenced a report by the Drug Policy Alliance that found nearly 40 percent of the jail population in New Jersey is held solely because they don’t have the money for bail, which can be a little as a few thousand dollars. The average length of time people wait in jail is 10 months.  It won’t surprise you that the vast majority of those locked up are poor people of color.

 

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This video by a Columbia University neuroscientist​ might be the best case against the drug war ever made


“I grew up in the hood in Miami in a poor neighborhood. I came from a community in which drug use was prevalent. I kept a gun in my car. I engaged in petty crime. I used and sold drugs. But I stand before you today also — emphasis on also — a professor at Columbia University who studies drug addiction.”

That’s how Dr. Carl Hart, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology and psychiatry, opened a recent TED talk he gave about his research into addiction. After his difficult youth, Hart said he toed the drug war line for a number of years: “I fully believed that the crime and poverty in my community was a direct result of crack cocaine.” He bought into the notion, pushed by policymakers in the 1980s and 1990s, that you could get hooked on crack and other drugs after just one hit.

But his research has disabused him of these notions. He recruited cocaine and meth users into his lab, and over a period of several days offered them some options: they could either receive hits of their drug of choice, or they could take payments of five dollars instead. Crucially, the payments offered were less than the value of the drugs they could consume.

Contrary to the notion of the craven drug fiend who will do literally anything for one more hit, Hart found that half of cocaine and meth users opted for the money over the drugs. And when he increased the payments to 20 dollars, closer to 80 percent of meth users chose the money. The lesson? “Attractive alternatives dramatically decrease drug use,” he said in his talk.

This speaks to another point Hart made, which is worth quoting at length:

80 to 90 percent of people who use illegal drugs are not addicts. They don’t have a drug problem. Most are responsible members of our society. They are employed. They pay their taxes. They take care of their families. And in some cases they even become president of the United States.

He’s right, of course. Among people who have ever used marijuana, only 9 percent become addicted. That rate is 11 percent for cocaine and 17 percent for stimulants like meth. Even the vast majority of people who use heroin — 77 percent of them — never get addicted to the drug.

When it comes to his own kids, Hart, who is black, is less worried about drugs and more worried about the people who enforce drug laws. He says that the effects of drugs at the individual-level are predictable and easy to understand: you smoke some weed, you will experience X effects after Y amount of time. But interactions with the police are a different story. “I don’t know how to keep my children safe with the police because, particularly when it comes to Black folks, interactions with police are not predictable,” he said in a recent Q&A hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance and reported in Ebony magazine.

Hart says that many recent high-profile police killings have occurred under the aegis of the war on drugs. “In all of these cases, authorities suspected that the deceased individual was either intoxicated from or selling an illicit substance,” Hart writes. Overinflated claims about the dangers of drug use have “created an environment where unjustified police killings are more likely to occur,” he says. They’ve also created a world where DEA agents can interrogate public transportation passengers and take all their money when they don’t like their answers. Or where IRS agents can empty your bank account because they don’t like how you deposited your money there.

But black families and communities typically bear the brunt of these harsh measures. Hart offers a troubling statistic in his talk: 1 in 3 black men can expect to do some jail time over the course of their lives. This reality has hit him right at home: “I’m a father of three black sons,” he said. “One has spent time in jail for drug laws.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/20/this-video-by-a-columbia-university-neuroscientist%E2%80%8B-might-be-the-best-case-against-the-drug-war-ever-made/?tid=sm_fb

Top 5 Reasons for Ending Marijuana Prohibition – by Rob Kampia Updated: May 2015


September 29, 2014 – Marijuana prohibition has been just as ineffective, wasteful, and counterproductive as alcohol prohibition. It is the epitome of a failed government policy, and like most failed government policies, there are a variety of reasons why it should be repealed. In the interest of saving time and space, here are the top five reasons why the U.S. should end marijuana prohibition.

1. Adults should not be punished for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society. 

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Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is far less toxic than alcohol, less damaging to the body, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent or reckless behavior. We can all agree that adults should have the right to consume alcohol responsibly; there’s no logical reason why they should be prohibited from consuming marijuana responsibly. If someone is old enough to walk into a store and buy a case of beer or a bottle of liquor, he or she should not be treated like a criminal simply for possessing a less harmful substance.

2. Law enforcement officials’ time should be spent addressing serious crimes, not arresting and prosecuting countless adults for using marijuana.

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Approximately 750,000 people in the U.S. were arrested for marijuana-related offenses in 2012, of which more than 87 percent were for simple possession. That’s 750,000 times that a police officer spent part of his or her shift arresting someone and filling out paperwork, and potentially appearing in court, and it’s 750,000 times that a prosecutor spent part of his or her day filing charges, meeting with defendants, and potentially arguing the case in court. Meanwhile, countless violent crimes and property crimes go unsolved, and courts are faced with backlogs of more important cases.

3. Our current prohibition policies are forcing marijuana sales into an underground market where it creates revenue and jobs for cartels and criminals.

Marijuana

Regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol would put sales in the hands of legitimate businesses that package and label products, collect sales taxes, and ask customers for proof of age. Because adults will no longer need to seek marijuana in the underground market, it’s less likely they will be exposed to other more harmful drugs. Along with generating tax revenue, these establishments will create good jobs and provide business for other industries. For example, they will need contractors, electricians, accounting services, and industrial and retail real estate.

4. There is a mountain of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of marijuana in the treatment of a variety of debilitating medical conditions. 

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Medical marijuana is less harmful and poses fewer negative side effects than most prescription drugs – especially painkillers – and some patients find it is the most effective treatment. If marijuana can provide relief from conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic and debilitating pain, it is unconscionable to criminalize patients for using it. Along with removing the threat of arrest for patients, ending prohibition would remove obstructions to research on marijuana’s medical benefits.

5. It’s what the people want. 

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Americans think it should be legal for medical purposes. Twenty-three states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws that protect qualified patients from arrest and provide them with a means of obtaining it. Two states have legalized marijuana and are now regulating it like alcohol. And up to a dozen more could adopt similar laws within the next few years. It’s time for our marijuana laws to catch up with public opinion, and that entails ending prohibition once and for all.

http://www.voicesofliberty.com/article/top-five-reasons-for-ending-marijuana-prohibition/

 

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie: Time to rethink war on drugs – By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times Friday, June 20, 2014


Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at Jun 21, 2014 2.49

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a gathering of social conservatives Friday that the nation’s decades-long “war on drugs” has failed and that incarceration is not the cure for drug addiction.

Mr. Christie, who is eying a presidential run in 2016, said that to be truly pro-life, conservatives should stand up for the victims of drug addiction just as they stand up for unborn babies.


SEE ALSO: Pope’s view on legalizing drugs: Just say no


“There needs to be a culture of life that Pope John Paul II spoke about,” Mr. Christie said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference. “From the womb to natural death, we need to be there even for those who stumble and fall. To be there to pick them up. To be there for the true meaning, the complete meaning of being pro-life.”

The address marked Mr. Christie’s first to a large gathering of social conservatives and comes months after the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal threatened his political future.

Mr. Christie said the drug problem impacts people of every age, religion and socioeconomic class, and advocated treatment for nonviolent offenders.

“We have tried now for 40 plus years a war on drugs that is broad and wide against everyone involved in drugs in America,” Mr. Christie said. “It hasn’t worked. What works is giving more people, nonviolent drug offenders, adults, the ability to get the tools they need to be able to deal with their disease.”

Article continues:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/20/nj-gov-chris-christie-time-rethink-war-drugs/

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The Real Reason Demaryius Thomas’s Mom Is Still Behind Bars – Michael Daly 01.30.14


Photo by Mark Leffingwell/Reuters

The mother of the Denver Broncos’ wide receiver has done 14 years in federal prison on a drug conviction. It’s high time she went free.

One simple way President Obama can act with bold independence is to pardon the mother of Denver Bronco Demaryius Thomas in time for the Super Bowl.

The mother, Katrina Smith, has already done 14 years in federal prison and faces another three for stashing proceeds her own mother made selling crack and powdered cocaine.

Enough is enough, particularly when a long-serving felon has committed no violence and must have been in some ways a top-notch mom for her son to have become such a remarkable young man.

If Mafia multiple murderers such as Sammy the Bull Gravano and Bonanno crime family boss Joe Massino can wiggle out of life sentences and even the prospect of the death penalty by ratting on their pals, why not cut a break for a mom who raised a great kid?

Never mind the mother, Katrina Smith, has only herself to blame for not taking a plea deal that would have enabled her to be in the stands to watch her son play in this weekend’s Super Bowl.

The same is true for her mother, Demaryius’s grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, who was convicted with her after also declining to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence.

The two of them could have been cheering side by side in player family seats at the Meadowlands, sporting No. 88 orange and black jerseys reading THOMAS on the back to match the one worn on the field by the Denver star.

Instead, the mother and grandmother will be catching the Super Bowl from the federal correctional facility for women in Tallahassee, Florida, where they are both incarcerated. The only orange they will be able to wear will be prison issue gym shorts or jumpsuits that are the new black.

The mother, Katrina Smith, is said to have been offered a deal back in 2000 where she would have received 4 years if she pleaded guilty. That would have had her free before her son was even out of high school rather than still serving a 20-year term.

The grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, was offered 12 years. She would now have been at liberty for more than two years instead of continuing to serve two life terms.

And neither Smith nor her mother would have been required to testify against each other or anybody else. The prosecution already had a whole parade of co-defendants turned government witnesses, including the grandmother’s live-in boyfriend.

Article continues:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/30/the-real-reason-demaryius-thomas-s-mom-is-still-behind-bars.html