Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cui bono?

If we're to consider how and why the current, age old, misguided approach to drug policy continues, it is necessary to consider who benefits.

We've discussed many of the devious influential & motivational origins of our inhumane drug laws. But who has stood to benefit from these policies? Who has stood to benefit from the popular ideology which underlies these policies? And who continues to benefit from the perpetuation of such ideology, and the continuation of such policies?

Well, let's begin with the following:

Drug enforcement industry: Federal law enforcement agencies such as the DEA, state or local narcotics task forces, and police departments in general - all depend on criminal drug laws to provide countless job positions, work hours, growth of jurisdiction, and additional funding in order to "fight drugs". Increased crime and drug use rates are publicized as a means of justifying increased funding, while decreased rates of crime and drug use are publicized to validate their efforts and claim victory.

Private and public corrections industry: Public jails and prisons rely on a steady influx of convicted drug offenders to provide them with jobs, hours, and funding. Private jails and prisons rely on a system overflowing with drug offenders to ensure their own continued existence.

Politicians and political campaigns: Our drug laws provide District Attorneys (prosecutors) with a means of racking up criminal convictions and building themselves a reputation as drug warriors "protecting the children". Campaigning policiticans rely on the publics fear of drugs in order to create the illusion that they and their proposed policies are needed to save society from the "drug epidemics" which seem to often appear during election years. Politicians must also ensure the continuation of drug prohibition laws in order to earn and maintain the support of the many lobbying industries who also benefit from these drug laws.

Addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers: Detox and treatment centers rely on the market constraints and logistical problems created by drug laws to ensure that their services are needed when drug users can no longer manage or afford to continue their lifestyles without negative consequenses. The treatment industry relies on drug prohibition to create many of the negative consequences of drug use which compel or force many individuals to seek treatment. Treatment centers rely on a constant flow of coercive referalls from the courts, providing them new clients, many whose only problem was the fact they were caught using illicit drugs. The high prices and unreliable access caused by drug laws leads many narcotic users to seek "treatment" in order to maintain their daily habit more cheaply or conveniently.

Pharmaceutical industry: Drug laws provide pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies with a massive monopoly on psychoactive products. Drug laws ensure a market for legally supplied and socially legitimized "addiction treatment" or maintenance medications such as suboxone, methadone, and vivitrol, not to mention many other medications used in the "treatment" setting such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotics and anxiolytics.

Pain management industry: Criminal sanctions on non medical opiate use have allowed unscrupulous doctors to become monopolists of the narcotic trade. Unethical practitioners in Florida rely on the restricted supply and limited accessability caused by prescription drug laws in order to exploit the overwhelming demand for these drugs and profit enormously. This narco-monopoly under a smokescreen of medical treatment is especially problematic due to the misconceptions attributed to the "medical use" of legal products which cast an illusion of safety upon the use of potent opioids with the blessing of a medical professional.

Mental health industry: The mental health industry reaps enormous benefits from the current policies which regulate psychoactives; mental health professionals have monopolized the trade in sedative-hypnotics, stimulants, antidepressants, and psychotropics in the same way that pain management doctors have monopolized the opioid trade.

Irresponsible drug users (i.e. "addicts"): The paternalistic implications of our current drug laws as well as the accompanying misconceptions regarding drug use and addiction have served to absolve many drug users of any sense of responsibility for their often destructive and selfish behavior. Many addicted drug users wholeheartedly believe they are victims of a brain disease and cannot control their behavior. This often leads to a phenomenon of learned helplessness which perpetuates the cycle of addictive behavior and in turn feeds the enforcement and incarceration systems, and further ensures continued demand for "treatment" services.

Drug testing industry: The criminal status of many highly popular and high-in-demand drugs has naturally created a need for tests and testing to detect the use of these drugs. Private drug testing companies and private laboratories (not to mention drug test manufacturers) rely on the criminalization of drugs to ensure a demand for their services by the criminal justice system, the treatment and rehabilitation industry, the pain management industry, the insurance industries, and the human resources and employment industries.

Agriculture and industry in foreign countries: While farmers and manufacturers in the US have struggled to make ends meet by growing cheap and low profit food crops, the family farms and drug manufacturers in Mexico, South America, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia are more than happy to pick up the slack and seize the market.

Alcohol and tobacco cartels: On a similar note, while small scale farmers and manufacturers struggle to make ends meet with low-profit crops, alcohol and tobacco companies profit handsomely producing and distributing two of the only legally available intoxicants in the US. Alcohol and tobacco companies are more than happy to dominate the psychoactive trade in the US and throughout the world.

Another victim of international drug laws
Violent drug cartels and terrorist organizations: The unregulated market environment and massive profit margins created by anti-drug laws have enticed criminals and sociopaths who capitalize on the enormous drug demand. The profits lend them ever more power and influence as they continue their violent and destructive activities, among which include terrorism, political infiltration, assassination, kidnapping, rape, torture, and trafficking of children.

Firearms manufacturers and big-gun lobby: Gun companies profit from manufacturing firearms and supplying their weaponry to local, state, and federal anti-drug forces. The "drug war" is fought with guns just like any other "war".

Trial attorneys: Trial attorneys are more than happy to take on major drug-related criminal cases, or petty offenses, assuming the defendants are willing to pay for legal counsel. The criminal court system is overflowing with drug offenders of all types, so legal representation is always needed.

Construction industry: One might easily overlook the all encompassing role of private construction contractors in the anti-drug industrial complex. Every new law enforcement building, every new jail, every new prison, every new addiction treatment and drug research center must be built by someone.

Cell phone providers and GPS technology companies: The communications industry has a high-demand product to sell; specifically, GPS monitoring technology. police departments and federal agencies rely on GPS technology to bypass privacy laws and gather extra-legal information pertinent to drug cases. Such evidence is rarely used in court, due to the questionable tactics used to obtain it, however it is a valuable investigative tool. Cell phone companies are increasingly utilizing this technology, and in turn, violating consumer privacy by allowing police departments to access the where-abouts of potential drug-suspects.

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