What a Super Bowl! How Much Tragedy?

First and foremost, I don’t want to come across here as some sort of puritanical killjoy. Having a couple of beers with friends while watching a great game, for those without alcohol problems, is one of life’s real simple pleasures. Social, good-time drinking, in moderation is OK by me.

The numbers aren’t yet out, but using past Super Sunday’s as a pretty good predictor, we know that yesterday more people died in alcohol related traffic accidents, more wives were assaulted and more people ended up overdosing on alcohol – than on any other day of the year.

Yes, watching the Super Bowl has become America’s booziest event, with all the carnage associated.

And all this tragedy, far removed from any reality presented during outrageously expensive Budweiser ad slots, should maybe give us pause for thought.

Not that we were thinking, too busy between plays watching Anheuser Busch’s estimated 25 million dollars spent on 10 beer-ad slots, with more than twice as many beer ads shown than for any other type of product.

And watching with us, an estimated 33 million kids – the future beer buyers of America, and for all the industry’s talk of self regulation, a market segment they drool over.

Research has shown that kids shown beer ads report thinking about drinking in a more favorable light than kids not shown beer ads. Research also shows that more binge drinkers drink beer, by far, than any other type of alcohol.

Super Bowl parties embody excess, with over indulgence the norm; and when the clock ticks down and a new champ gets crowned, good-times transform (for too many of us) into something much much sadder.

Drinking is OK; binge drinking is not, problem drinking is not, driving drunk is not, beating your wife while drunk is not…

Twenty-five million dollars was not spent to entertain us – it was spent to have us drink more. It influences our children to drink earlier, and more, and it makes it awfully tough for those in recovery to stay true to their dreams of a better life.

Watching a bear drink beer amuses, watching an angry drunk drink beer doesn’t – and unfortunately, we know which of those scenarios happens every day.

The beer industry is quite happy to self-regulate itself – do they deserve such trust? Can they really want us all to drink as responsibly as they claim when that could only mean a great loss of profits? I mean, 30 million problem drinkers can drink a lot of Bud, and they’re certainly "don’t know when to say when".

Are beer ads what we really want?

First and foremost, I don’t want to come across here as some sort of puritanical killjoy. Having a couple of beers with friends while watching a great game, for those without alcohol problems, is one of life’s real simple pleasures. Social, good-time drinking, in moderation is OK by me.

The numbers aren’t yet out, but using past Super Sunday’s as a pretty good predictor, we know that yesterday more people died in alcohol related traffic accidents, more wives were assaulted and more people ended up overdosing on alcohol – than on any other day of the year.

Yes, watching the Super Bowl has become America’s booziest event, with all the carnage associated.

And all this tragedy, far removed from any reality presented during outrageously expensive Budweiser ad slots, should maybe give us pause for thought.

Not that we were thinking, too busy between plays watching Anheuser Busch’s estimated 25 million dollars spent on 10 beer-ad slots, with more than twice as many beer ads shown than for any other type of product.

And watching with us, an estimated 33 million kids – the future beer buyers of America, and for all the industry’s talk of self regulation, a market segment they drool over.

Research has shown that kids shown beer ads report thinking about drinking in a more favorable light than kids not shown beer ads. Research also shows that more binge drinkers drink beer, by far, than any other type of alcohol.

Super Bowl parties embody excess, with over indulgence the norm; and when the clock ticks down and a new champ gets crowned, good-times transform (for too many of us) into something much much sadder.

Drinking is OK; binge drinking is not, problem drinking is not, driving drunk is not, beating your wife while drunk is not…

Twenty-five million dollars was not spent to entertain us – it was spent to have us drink more. It influences our children to drink earlier, and more, and it makes it awfully tough for those in recovery to stay true to their dreams of a better life.

Watching a bear drink beer amuses, watching an angry drunk drink beer doesn’t – and unfortunately, we know which of those scenarios happens every day.

The beer industry is quite happy to self-regulate itself – do they deserve such trust? Can they really want us all to drink as responsibly as they claim when that could only mean a great loss of profits? I mean, 30 million problem drinkers can drink a lot of Bud, and they’re certainly "don’t know when to say when".

Are beer ads what we really want?

You’re Not Funnier When You Drink – Trust Me; You’re Not

There’s a small voice nagging inside the heads of most alcoholics, it’s the voice of addiction, and it tells us what we need to hear to keep on pouring in the booze.

  • It tells us (in whatever words we like to hear) that alcohol isn’t the problem, the job-wife-neighbors-whatever are the problem, and that good old alcohol is the only real solution.
  • It tells us that we don’t have a problem we can’t handle, and if we wanted to quit we could, and that maybe we will someday, but not quite yet, anyway.
  • It also reminds us that until we shoot down stiff drink or two, we’re just not that interesting. Alcohol, it tells us, makes us funnier, better looking – just plain-old more fun to be around.

Of course, it doesn’t, none of this is true – but that’s what we believe.

Maybe it did help to some degree once. Maybe a couple of drinks at that party loosened us up enough to relax, to crack a few jokes, to flirt shamelessly – to be the center of attention. Maybe it did, once, have some effects we liked. But we cling to these memories as if they were fact, all the while not noticing that now, we’re not funny…we’re sloppy. Not noticing that now the only people that really enjoy spending time with us when we’re loaded – are just as loaded as we are, and somehow overlooking what alcohol has been doing to our appearance.

I quit drinking, and now, for the most part, I cringe to remember the ass I made of myself, on so so many occasions. I can tell you that a lot of those people observing the spectacle that was me weren’t thinking about how debonair and charming I was! Oddly, it wasn’t till after I quit drinking that I made this realization.

If you’re an alcoholic, you would be funnier, better company, and surely better looking if you stopped.

That voice inside your head – it’s lying.

 

There’s a small voice nagging inside the heads of most alcoholics, it’s the voice of addiction, and it tells us what we need to hear to keep on pouring in the booze.

  • It tells us (in whatever words we like to hear) that alcohol isn’t the problem, the job-wife-neighbors-whatever are the problem, and that good old alcohol is the only real solution.
  • It tells us that we don’t have a problem we can’t handle, and if we wanted to quit we could, and that maybe we will someday, but not quite yet, anyway.
  • It also reminds us that until we shoot down stiff drink or two, we’re just not that interesting. Alcohol, it tells us, makes us funnier, better looking – just plain-old more fun to be around.

Of course, it doesn’t, none of this is true – but that’s what we believe.

Maybe it did help to some degree once. Maybe a couple of drinks at that party loosened us up enough to relax, to crack a few jokes, to flirt shamelessly – to be the center of attention. Maybe it did, once, have some effects we liked. But we cling to these memories as if they were fact, all the while not noticing that now, we’re not funny…we’re sloppy. Not noticing that now the only people that really enjoy spending time with us when we’re loaded – are just as loaded as we are, and somehow overlooking what alcohol has been doing to our appearance.

I quit drinking, and now, for the most part, I cringe to remember the ass I made of myself, on so so many occasions. I can tell you that a lot of those people observing the spectacle that was me weren’t thinking about how debonair and charming I was! Oddly, it wasn’t till after I quit drinking that I made this realization.

If you’re an alcoholic, you would be funnier, better company, and surely better looking if you stopped.

That voice inside your head – it’s lying.

 

Wanna Know Why It’s So Hard to Quit Drugs?

  • How can you control cravings at the subconscious level?
  • How can you avoid cues that lead to cravings when these cues get processed unconsciously, and it all happens so quickly that you may start craving drugs, with no idea of why?
  • How can you control cravings that stimulate a system of the mind responsible for self preservations acts such as sex and eating, cravings that provoke this system strongly enough to override all other impulses (including towards food or sex)?

Well the answer is that you can, but it’s really really hard! A study released today in PLoS One, funded by NIDA and the National Institute of Health, reveals that cocaine addicts can experience cravings after being shown pictures of drugs for only 33 milliseconds – so fast that the cocaine patients weren’t even aware of having seen them, but were aware of all of a sudden wanting cocaine!

Study authors Dr. Anna Rose Childress and Dr. Charles O’Brien, at the University of Pennsylvania used MRI imaging to observe brain response after cocaine patients were presented with pictures of crack, or a crack pipe, pictures flashing by so fast, that patients were not consciously aware of them. The brain however does see, even when we are not aware of it, and after each provocative stimulus, researchers saw a dramatic response in the limbic system of the brain.

The limbic system is responsible for reward and pleasure, and is known to be involved with addiction.

Cocaine addicts can see things in their environment, not even realize that they see them, and start feeling strong urgings to use cocaine. When a major strategy for early relapse avoidance involves minimizing these types of cravings provoking stimuli, this is obviously very problematic.

Researchers claim that greater understandings of the neurological underpinnings of addiction and craving takes them closer to medications that may work to minimize this effect in the limbic systems, and give cocaine addicts (and likely all addicts) a much better chance at quitting. Willpower is essential for recovery, yet willpower has nothing to do with addiction. We cannot call addicts who relapse weak for failing to manage impulses they can’t control. Willpower keeps addicts in treatment, fighting, but willpower alone is just not enough.

  • How can you control cravings at the subconscious level?
  • How can you avoid cues that lead to cravings when these cues get processed unconsciously, and it all happens so quickly that you may start craving drugs, with no idea of why?
  • How can you control cravings that stimulate a system of the mind responsible for self preservations acts such as sex and eating, cravings that provoke this system strongly enough to override all other impulses (including towards food or sex)?

Well the answer is that you can, but it’s really really hard! A study released today in PLoS One, funded by NIDA and the National Institute of Health, reveals that cocaine addicts can experience cravings after being shown pictures of drugs for only 33 milliseconds – so fast that the cocaine patients weren’t even aware of having seen them, but were aware of all of a sudden wanting cocaine!

Study authors Dr. Anna Rose Childress and Dr. Charles O’Brien, at the University of Pennsylvania used MRI imaging to observe brain response after cocaine patients were presented with pictures of crack, or a crack pipe, pictures flashing by so fast, that patients were not consciously aware of them. The brain however does see, even when we are not aware of it, and after each provocative stimulus, researchers saw a dramatic response in the limbic system of the brain.

The limbic system is responsible for reward and pleasure, and is known to be involved with addiction.

Cocaine addicts can see things in their environment, not even realize that they see them, and start feeling strong urgings to use cocaine. When a major strategy for early relapse avoidance involves minimizing these types of cravings provoking stimuli, this is obviously very problematic.

Researchers claim that greater understandings of the neurological underpinnings of addiction and craving takes them closer to medications that may work to minimize this effect in the limbic systems, and give cocaine addicts (and likely all addicts) a much better chance at quitting. Willpower is essential for recovery, yet willpower has nothing to do with addiction. We cannot call addicts who relapse weak for failing to manage impulses they can’t control. Willpower keeps addicts in treatment, fighting, but willpower alone is just not enough.

Forget vodka, whiskey or rum…beer is the most dangerous drink in America today.

About two thirds of all binge drinks consumed are beer, and the people most at risk to drive drunk, get hurt or get violent have more than likely gotten drunk on beer. Beer enjoys a strong and favorable misperception of its inherent dangers, and also enjoys very favorable legislation governing its taxation, marketing practices and lack of sales restrictions. Governmental policies that favor the sale of beer over other types of alcohol do not make any sense from a public health viewpoint.

The Most Dangerous Alcohol?

A lot of people don’t consider that drinking beer is as serious or as harmful as drinking hard liquor, and this perception in reinforced by governmental legislation that allows for more intensive marketing of beer, for favorable taxation and for less regulation over its sale.

Of course beer is simply alcohol just like any other form of alcohol, and if you drink 7 beers, or have 7 cocktails…you will be just as drunk; and if you drink a number of beers with regularity, you are just as at risk for addiction as you would be if you drank only bourbon or vodka.

In fact, studies of binge drinking in America show that beer is the favored binge drink of choice, and because binge drinking creates such societal problems (drunk driving, violence, domestic abuse) and because binge drinking is a necessary stepping stone to dependency, it seems that beer is in fact the most dangerous alcoholic beverage consumed in America today.

The breakdown of binge drinking has beer accounting for 67% of all binge drinks consumed, with liquor a very distant second at 22%. The survey study, conducted by the National center for Disease Control and Prevention, illustrates how dichotomous liquor/beer laws are confusing the drinking public about the relative safety of beer drinking, and researchers conclude that preferential laws favoring beer make absolutely no sense from a public health viewpoint.

Researchers call for tougher beer control laws and increased taxation. They call for a limit on points of sale, and a reduction in marketing…particularly marketing directed at younger people.

I was a beer drunk, and I know first hand that the damage done by a case of beer sure seems a lot like the damage down by a bottle of whiskey; and it’s too bad that a lingering misperception of the dangers of beer remains a part of out National consciousness.

  • Beer is alcohol, and it needs to be regulated in a similar manner to all other forms of alcohol. Why can we buy beer at a convenience store but not whiskey, when studies show that the people most likely to drink to excess, drive drunk, and have problems with the law or most probably going to have been drinking beer?
  • Why can Budweiser sponsor a Super Bowl halftime show, when a great many football fans watching the game are very likely drinking beer, and when Super Bowl game day is one of the riskiest days of the year for alcohol fueled domestic assault?

Prohibition is never the answer, and I don’t think that we can or even should deny responsible adults the right to purchase and consume beer or any other alcohol in a moderate and reasonable manner. But giving preferential legislative treatment to beer simply because it enjoys a misperception of safety (huge lobbying dollars???) is damaging and nonsensical.

About two thirds of all binge drinks consumed are beer, and the people most at risk to drive drunk, get hurt or get violent have more than likely gotten drunk on beer. Beer enjoys a strong and favorable misperception of its inherent dangers, and also enjoys very favorable legislation governing its taxation, marketing practices and lack of sales restrictions. Governmental policies that favor the sale of beer over other types of alcohol do not make any sense from a public health viewpoint.

The Most Dangerous Alcohol?

A lot of people don’t consider that drinking beer is as serious or as harmful as drinking hard liquor, and this perception in reinforced by governmental legislation that allows for more intensive marketing of beer, for favorable taxation and for less regulation over its sale.

Of course beer is simply alcohol just like any other form of alcohol, and if you drink 7 beers, or have 7 cocktails…you will be just as drunk; and if you drink a number of beers with regularity, you are just as at risk for addiction as you would be if you drank only bourbon or vodka.

In fact, studies of binge drinking in America show that beer is the favored binge drink of choice, and because binge drinking creates such societal problems (drunk driving, violence, domestic abuse) and because binge drinking is a necessary stepping stone to dependency, it seems that beer is in fact the most dangerous alcoholic beverage consumed in America today.

The breakdown of binge drinking has beer accounting for 67% of all binge drinks consumed, with liquor a very distant second at 22%. The survey study, conducted by the National center for Disease Control and Prevention, illustrates how dichotomous liquor/beer laws are confusing the drinking public about the relative safety of beer drinking, and researchers conclude that preferential laws favoring beer make absolutely no sense from a public health viewpoint.

Researchers call for tougher beer control laws and increased taxation. They call for a limit on points of sale, and a reduction in marketing…particularly marketing directed at younger people.

I was a beer drunk, and I know first hand that the damage done by a case of beer sure seems a lot like the damage down by a bottle of whiskey; and it’s too bad that a lingering misperception of the dangers of beer remains a part of out National consciousness.

  • Beer is alcohol, and it needs to be regulated in a similar manner to all other forms of alcohol. Why can we buy beer at a convenience store but not whiskey, when studies show that the people most likely to drink to excess, drive drunk, and have problems with the law or most probably going to have been drinking beer?
  • Why can Budweiser sponsor a Super Bowl halftime show, when a great many football fans watching the game are very likely drinking beer, and when Super Bowl game day is one of the riskiest days of the year for alcohol fueled domestic assault?

Prohibition is never the answer, and I don’t think that we can or even should deny responsible adults the right to purchase and consume beer or any other alcohol in a moderate and reasonable manner. But giving preferential legislative treatment to beer simply because it enjoys a misperception of safety (huge lobbying dollars???) is damaging and nonsensical.

The National Drug Intelligence Center’s Report on the State of Prescription Drug Abuse – It’s Pretty Grim

Government can’t seem to reduce the flow of prescription drugs for abuse; and in those areas where they have had some success, all they’ve accomplished by reducing the supply is increasing local rates of heroin addiction. We need to stop thinking about this as a criminal justice issue, and start dealing with the problem as a health challenge. We need to stop addicting ever increasing generations with easy access to prescribed medications, and we need to give the already addicted the drugs they need, while also trying to effect some therapeutic change for the better.

The National Drug Intelligence Center, in its 2007 drug threat assessment on the abuse of prescription drugs, reported a number of findings…and none of them can be considered positive.

  • Firstly, the organization asses that the availability and supply of illegitimate (not taken or acquired in a medically prescribed manner) prescription pharmaceuticals is high and increasing.
  • Secondly, the organization asserts that demand and use has remained stable over the last year despite law enforcement efforts at reducing supply.
  • Thirdly, the organization reports that in some States, where strict pharmaceutical chain of custody regulations have diminished the availability of diverted pharmaceuticals for illegitimate usage, there has been a significant increase in heroin usage.

So there are lots of drugs around, the numbers of people using them has not decreased despite the best efforts of law enforcement, and in those areas where stringent regulations have limited local supply, addicts have been forced into even more damaging and dangerous practices such as heroin usage…hardly good news all around.

The challenges of regulating a product that does have a legitimate purpose, but that can so easily be abused, and that can be easily purchased through any of thousands of out of country illegal on line pharmacies is enormous; and increasing availability throughout most of the country indicates that law enforcement has so far been unable to really effect change. But when we consider that in those few areas where regulations have limited access, all that has occurred is a migration to even more dangerous and socially destructive usage of heroin or other illicit drugs, maybe we should question the philosophical motivation behind attempting to reduce the flow.

Enforcement and prohibition of psychotropic substance has an abysmal track record throughout recorded history, and the desperate realities of opiate addiction means that people will do whatever it takes to avoid the pains of opiate withdrawal. You cannot simply solve the problem by decreasing the supply, and when you consider the increased infectious disease rates, overdose risks, and criminal issues associated with the use of illicit drugs such as heroin, nor should we be striving to push people into even greater desperation.

My opinions are a bit contradictory in nature, and I feel that we need to both loosen availability as we tighten access???

  • We firstly need to stop creating ever increasing generations of addicts, and prescribing practices within the health care community need to change to reflect the dangers these drugs present to society. Extremely potent medicines, these drugs do serve a needed therapeutic function for some, but we as a nation consume far too many, and doctor’s need to prescribe these dangerous drugs with greater judiciousness. We should also continue with legislations that have proven effective at limiting the supply of diverted pharmaceuticals into the community.
  • Secondly, we need to give those people that have developed addictions the drugs that they need. You can’t stop an opiate addict from taking drugs, and they will do whatever it takes to get a substance that both makes them feel good, and keeps away a very uncomfortable and scary period of detox sickness. Instead of making these people acquire the drugs illegitimately, or even worse, forcing them onto the even greater dangers of illicit drugs such as heroin; we should open clinics akin to methadone clinics, where addicts can get the drugs they need, safely, and without undue hassle.

Addicts participating in these subsidized programs would only be given enough for a day’s usage and they would be required to pay for them at standard market prices. Governmental subsidies would fund corresponding and mandatory therapeutic involvement that would be a prerequisite to access into the program.

We can’t stop it, and we can’t even seem to control the flow of drugs, so instead of increasingly criminalizing the issue, why don’t we control the administration of drugs to those that need them, and while we’re at it try to effect change through offered therapies, medical care and treatment.

Drug abuse is a disease and health care issue, and any attempts at criminal justice control always prove ineffective.

Government can’t seem to reduce the flow of prescription drugs for abuse; and in those areas where they have had some success, all they’ve accomplished by reducing the supply is increasing local rates of heroin addiction. We need to stop thinking about this as a criminal justice issue, and start dealing with the problem as a health challenge. We need to stop addicting ever increasing generations with easy access to prescribed medications, and we need to give the already addicted the drugs they need, while also trying to effect some therapeutic change for the better.

The National Drug Intelligence Center, in its 2007 drug threat assessment on the abuse of prescription drugs, reported a number of findings…and none of them can be considered positive.

  • Firstly, the organization asses that the availability and supply of illegitimate (not taken or acquired in a medically prescribed manner) prescription pharmaceuticals is high and increasing.
  • Secondly, the organization asserts that demand and use has remained stable over the last year despite law enforcement efforts at reducing supply.
  • Thirdly, the organization reports that in some States, where strict pharmaceutical chain of custody regulations have diminished the availability of diverted pharmaceuticals for illegitimate usage, there has been a significant increase in heroin usage.

So there are lots of drugs around, the numbers of people using them has not decreased despite the best efforts of law enforcement, and in those areas where stringent regulations have limited local supply, addicts have been forced into even more damaging and dangerous practices such as heroin usage…hardly good news all around.

The challenges of regulating a product that does have a legitimate purpose, but that can so easily be abused, and that can be easily purchased through any of thousands of out of country illegal on line pharmacies is enormous; and increasing availability throughout most of the country indicates that law enforcement has so far been unable to really effect change. But when we consider that in those few areas where regulations have limited access, all that has occurred is a migration to even more dangerous and socially destructive usage of heroin or other illicit drugs, maybe we should question the philosophical motivation behind attempting to reduce the flow.

Enforcement and prohibition of psychotropic substance has an abysmal track record throughout recorded history, and the desperate realities of opiate addiction means that people will do whatever it takes to avoid the pains of opiate withdrawal. You cannot simply solve the problem by decreasing the supply, and when you consider the increased infectious disease rates, overdose risks, and criminal issues associated with the use of illicit drugs such as heroin, nor should we be striving to push people into even greater desperation.

My opinions are a bit contradictory in nature, and I feel that we need to both loosen availability as we tighten access???

  • We firstly need to stop creating ever increasing generations of addicts, and prescribing practices within the health care community need to change to reflect the dangers these drugs present to society. Extremely potent medicines, these drugs do serve a needed therapeutic function for some, but we as a nation consume far too many, and doctor’s need to prescribe these dangerous drugs with greater judiciousness. We should also continue with legislations that have proven effective at limiting the supply of diverted pharmaceuticals into the community.
  • Secondly, we need to give those people that have developed addictions the drugs that they need. You can’t stop an opiate addict from taking drugs, and they will do whatever it takes to get a substance that both makes them feel good, and keeps away a very uncomfortable and scary period of detox sickness. Instead of making these people acquire the drugs illegitimately, or even worse, forcing them onto the even greater dangers of illicit drugs such as heroin; we should open clinics akin to methadone clinics, where addicts can get the drugs they need, safely, and without undue hassle.

Addicts participating in these subsidized programs would only be given enough for a day’s usage and they would be required to pay for them at standard market prices. Governmental subsidies would fund corresponding and mandatory therapeutic involvement that would be a prerequisite to access into the program.

We can’t stop it, and we can’t even seem to control the flow of drugs, so instead of increasingly criminalizing the issue, why don’t we control the administration of drugs to those that need them, and while we’re at it try to effect change through offered therapies, medical care and treatment.

Drug abuse is a disease and health care issue, and any attempts at criminal justice control always prove ineffective.

Repeat drunk driving stars get slaps on the wrist, and a 93 year old man held under $200 000 bond for cocaine charges?!?

One drug is legal, one drug is not, and as a result one very very old man is now behind bars, and two very young and very rich women, not only using but also using and driving while intoxicated, are free to drink and drive again.

Durham North Carolina police got a dangerous offender off the streets this week…93 year old William C. Tinnen, arrested on cocaine trafficking charges, and held under $200 000 bond in jail awaiting trial. Also this week, repeat drunken driving stars Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie served a collective one day and 86 minutes in jail for a total of four DUI arrests.

What is going on???

Firstly, in defense of the justice system, the 93 year old arrestee did also have firearms in the house, and he may well have been the meanest predator in the neighborhood, I just don’t know; and secondly, although people have been quick to blast prosecutors for preferential treatment in the DUI offences of the young Hollywood starlets, legal professionals assure the public that the sentences as issued were very much in line with customary sentencing for DUI’s within the county’s overworked justice system.

Both the police and the courts have by all accounts acted within the confines of the laws and the realities of the overcrowded jail and justice system, and you can’t fault them for following the laws they’re sworn to uphold; but when you compare the punishments meted out, it seems as though those at greatest risk to do harm to others are free, and the man hard to see as a threat lingers behind bars.

I’ve known a lot of drug dealers in my time, and these guys were all small time, dealing primarily as a means to support their own habits…not a great risk to anyone but themselves; and arresting and locking up these small fry dealers certainly does nothing to curtail the flow of drugs into the community. I’ve also seen first hand the devastation and despair of a drunken driving accident fatality, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the pain of that DUI far eclipsed the combined efforts of all the drug dealers I’ve ever known.

Why is a 93 year old man living in a slum and dealing cocaine? Doesn’t sound like he was saving up for a mansion on the hill or a new yacht; and shouldn’t we take a better look at how we in the richest nation in the world can allow for environments that force a very desperate very senior citizen to sell drugs, and to now reside behind bars where any sentence is almost certainly a life sentence?

Drug enforcement is an abysmal failure by any measures of social betterment, and all we seem to be doing is enriching rarely arrested criminal leaders, fueling inner city violence, and imprisoning those lowly and desperate souls all to often suffering the dual despair of addiction themselves.

Take every dollar away from enforcement and imprisonment of non violent drug offenders and build hundreds of rehab facilities. Get those people that need it help, and send those people who repeatedly break DUI laws to 90 day or greater rehabs (not Hollywood resort facilities…real honest rehabs).

Change the climate that allows 93 year old seniors to remain behind bars and drunken repeat offenders loosed to endanger the streets again.

One drug is legal, one drug is not, and as a result one very very old man is now behind bars, and two very young and very rich women, not only using but also using and driving while intoxicated, are free to drink and drive again.

Durham North Carolina police got a dangerous offender off the streets this week…93 year old William C. Tinnen, arrested on cocaine trafficking charges, and held under $200 000 bond in jail awaiting trial. Also this week, repeat drunken driving stars Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie served a collective one day and 86 minutes in jail for a total of four DUI arrests.

What is going on???

Firstly, in defense of the justice system, the 93 year old arrestee did also have firearms in the house, and he may well have been the meanest predator in the neighborhood, I just don’t know; and secondly, although people have been quick to blast prosecutors for preferential treatment in the DUI offences of the young Hollywood starlets, legal professionals assure the public that the sentences as issued were very much in line with customary sentencing for DUI’s within the county’s overworked justice system.

Both the police and the courts have by all accounts acted within the confines of the laws and the realities of the overcrowded jail and justice system, and you can’t fault them for following the laws they’re sworn to uphold; but when you compare the punishments meted out, it seems as though those at greatest risk to do harm to others are free, and the man hard to see as a threat lingers behind bars.

I’ve known a lot of drug dealers in my time, and these guys were all small time, dealing primarily as a means to support their own habits…not a great risk to anyone but themselves; and arresting and locking up these small fry dealers certainly does nothing to curtail the flow of drugs into the community. I’ve also seen first hand the devastation and despair of a drunken driving accident fatality, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the pain of that DUI far eclipsed the combined efforts of all the drug dealers I’ve ever known.

Why is a 93 year old man living in a slum and dealing cocaine? Doesn’t sound like he was saving up for a mansion on the hill or a new yacht; and shouldn’t we take a better look at how we in the richest nation in the world can allow for environments that force a very desperate very senior citizen to sell drugs, and to now reside behind bars where any sentence is almost certainly a life sentence?

Drug enforcement is an abysmal failure by any measures of social betterment, and all we seem to be doing is enriching rarely arrested criminal leaders, fueling inner city violence, and imprisoning those lowly and desperate souls all to often suffering the dual despair of addiction themselves.

Take every dollar away from enforcement and imprisonment of non violent drug offenders and build hundreds of rehab facilities. Get those people that need it help, and send those people who repeatedly break DUI laws to 90 day or greater rehabs (not Hollywood resort facilities…real honest rehabs).

Change the climate that allows 93 year old seniors to remain behind bars and drunken repeat offenders loosed to endanger the streets again.

We the People – The Hypocrites (Why Obama’s Drug Use is Irrelevant)

Barack Obama has used drugs – he has broken the law. He admits to experimenting with cocaine and marijuana while a young man, and although his candor is refreshing, his drug use has complicated his political aspirations, and political opponents from within his own party have been casting subtle digs about his past.

We expect leadership and moral correctness from our elected officials, and when yet another politician falls from grace, caught in lies about past or present acts, we bemoan the low ethical standards seemingly so prevalent among the Washington elite. Yet why, when we ask the impossible – perfection – are we surprised when imperfect humans (as we all are) prove themselves so?

Looking at the 2007 NIDA released statistics on drug use amongst high school seniors; we can see that although drugs may be illegal, more people than not in our society will try them, at least once. About half of all high school seniors will have used illegal drugs by graduation, and three out of four will have drunk alcohol, under age.

The democratic foundations of this country call for a person of the people, representative of the people, to serve in the best interests of all the people. In reality, we ask for a person who exhibits an impossible perfection of character and even of youthful judgment – a person very unlike most of us! Some may argue that Obama’s youthful indiscretion is not an issue of drugs, but rather of lawfulness; and that whether you can forgive him for his drug use, he did knowingly and willfully break the law. But once again, we all break the law!

We are all essentially guided by two often complimentary laws of action – our moral compass and the statutes of law. We do (mostly) what we perceive to be ethically right based on what we believe, and we follow laws of the state out of a fear of legal repercussions. And as such, when we do not perceive an act to be morally wrong, and when we feel that we are unlikely to face legal sanctions for engaging in it (getting caught) we are somewhat likely to break a law of the state barring this action.

  • Running a red light on a deserted country road at 3am is against the law, but as we perceive no moral need to stop, and feel we are unlikely to get caught, most of us will at some point creep through an intersection, without waiting for a green.
  • Taking drugs, as an individual act, is illegal, but it is not immoral – the act of using alone harms no one but the user. It may show poor judgment, but as teens, who amongst us can boast of uniformly good judgment?

Obama took drugs, like well more than half of us have. He does not take drugs now, and he has not for decades. Obama broke the law, like all of us have; he did not break any moral laws. What about all the politicians who claim never to have used drugs? Seems unlikely, based on the statistics.

Obama has told the truth. He is human. We should laud him for his courage. He may or may not be the right choice for president, but his past use of drugs should have no bearing on his legitimacy as a candidate today.

Hear Obama’s Views on Drug Policy

 

Barack Obama has used drugs – he has broken the law. He admits to experimenting with cocaine and marijuana while a young man, and although his candor is refreshing, his drug use has complicated his political aspirations, and political opponents from within his own party have been casting subtle digs about his past.

We expect leadership and moral correctness from our elected officials, and when yet another politician falls from grace, caught in lies about past or present acts, we bemoan the low ethical standards seemingly so prevalent among the Washington elite. Yet why, when we ask the impossible – perfection – are we surprised when imperfect humans (as we all are) prove themselves so?

Looking at the 2007 NIDA released statistics on drug use amongst high school seniors; we can see that although drugs may be illegal, more people than not in our society will try them, at least once. About half of all high school seniors will have used illegal drugs by graduation, and three out of four will have drunk alcohol, under age.

The democratic foundations of this country call for a person of the people, representative of the people, to serve in the best interests of all the people. In reality, we ask for a person who exhibits an impossible perfection of character and even of youthful judgment – a person very unlike most of us! Some may argue that Obama’s youthful indiscretion is not an issue of drugs, but rather of lawfulness; and that whether you can forgive him for his drug use, he did knowingly and willfully break the law. But once again, we all break the law!

We are all essentially guided by two often complimentary laws of action – our moral compass and the statutes of law. We do (mostly) what we perceive to be ethically right based on what we believe, and we follow laws of the state out of a fear of legal repercussions. And as such, when we do not perceive an act to be morally wrong, and when we feel that we are unlikely to face legal sanctions for engaging in it (getting caught) we are somewhat likely to break a law of the state barring this action.

  • Running a red light on a deserted country road at 3am is against the law, but as we perceive no moral need to stop, and feel we are unlikely to get caught, most of us will at some point creep through an intersection, without waiting for a green.
  • Taking drugs, as an individual act, is illegal, but it is not immoral – the act of using alone harms no one but the user. It may show poor judgment, but as teens, who amongst us can boast of uniformly good judgment?

Obama took drugs, like well more than half of us have. He does not take drugs now, and he has not for decades. Obama broke the law, like all of us have; he did not break any moral laws. What about all the politicians who claim never to have used drugs? Seems unlikely, based on the statistics.

Obama has told the truth. He is human. We should laud him for his courage. He may or may not be the right choice for president, but his past use of drugs should have no bearing on his legitimacy as a candidate today.

Hear Obama’s Views on Drug Policy