“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no War on Drugs. There never has been.”
I know that must be news to those of you who had body-armored SWAT teams breaking down your door and forcing you to the floor in handcuffs while they loot your home over the “anonymous tip” that you might have been cultivating some houseplants in the garage.
However, it was for your own good and the good of the nation.
At least, that’s the attitude instilled in the agents working for the DEA.
Former DEA Agent Jeff Stamm Explains Why They Fight the Drug War
The DEA has a museum, you see, and in April, former Special Agent Jeff Stamm delivered a lecture there as part of the DEA’s “Why We Fight” series.
Reading the quotes, however, you must remind yourself that the speech was in April of this very year—from a living human being who, presumably, has access to the internet and a functioning brain—and not something from the archives of Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics 80 years ago.
(Watch for yourself, if you can stomach it.)
Stamm talks about sellers of drugs as a “constant onslaught of amoral predators who leave only human suffering and social decay in their never-ending pursuit of riches.”
He’s only referring to the greedy pushers of illegal drugs.
The pill pushers who went from selling $45 million to $1.1 billion worth of OxyContin in its first five years don’t count. The booze peddlers who sell $16.75 billion worth of Budweiser are exempt as well. That’s because booze and pills cause no “human suffering and social decay,” I suppose.
“It’s time that we reclaim our culture and our civilization,” Stamm exhorted, presumably from the now three-in-five Americans who support marijuana legalization. Stamm lists “a polluted pop culture,” with “our nation’s leaders at all levels… pandering to proliferating groups of selfish and mercenary factions… [who are] peddlers of a limitless and lawless democracy, whose arguments are based in intellectual preening and self-applauding compassion.”
Funny how we’re the ones asking for laws to regulate marijuana.
The only ones who want to keep marijuana limitless and lawless are Stamm’s DEA and the Mexican cartels that don’t want legal American competition.
Our Drug Prisoners Alone Are the World’s Fifth-Largest Prison Population
To Stamm, anybody who is questioning the effectiveness of the past 40-year, trillion-dollar drug war is part of a “zealous and committed pro-dope cabal” that includes the likes of “so-called experts like Brad Pitt, who calls the drug war a charade… [Sir] Richard Branson, who calls the drug war a failure because America, he believes, now runs a police and prison state… [and] Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, who claims that drug war is useless.”
According to Stamm, just because we have only five percent of the world’s population, but over 20 percent of the world’s prisoners, you can’t call us a “police and prison state.”
“On any given day in our country, there are roughly 2.4 million people behind bars,” Stamm explained. “Of that total, right at 16 percent are there for drug offenses.”
When you do the math, you learn that’s 384,000 people behind bars for drugs.
When you do some Googling, you find that we have more people in prison just for drugs than all the people in prison in any country but four (China, Brazil, Russia and India).
Somehow, in communist China, where there are nearly 1.4 billion people and the same drugs are just as (or more) illegal, they’ve only imprisoned 1.6 million of their people. In the “Land of the Free,” with 321 million people, we’ve imprisoned 2.4 million. They have over four times more people, but we have 50 percent more prisoners.
If You Weren’t So Gullible, You’d Be for the Drug War, Too
It’s all necessary, Stamm argued, to battle drugs and “new potent strains of marijuana… misused for cheap pleasures… [causing] the pernicious and insidious decay that dope spawns in both the user and society.”
Yet for all this alleged decay in society, Americans stubbornly keep supporting marijuana legalization.
That’s because, as Stamm explained, the public is stupid and easily fooled by “reckless and illegitimate accusations that the drug war has not only failed but that it’s patently racist and oppressive.”
Those of us in the “pro-dope cabal” just “bully and confuse a sleepwalking population too timid and self-absorbed to argue.”
Yes, who hasn’t felt “bullied” into thinking the drug war is “patently racist” by the ACLU reporting that black people are nearly four times more likely to be busted for weed than white people?
If you weren’t so self-absorbed, dear reader, you wouldn’t have been so “confused” as to think shooting family pets in the home while kids are present over a few grams of pot was “oppressive.”
Through our incredible powers of explaining statistics and publishing police raid videos, we’ve created a “pandemic public ignorance” through “a forced compulsion to non-judgmentalism and pervasive compassion” leading to “surrendering to the false hopes of both utopian liberals and fundamentalist libertarians who preach that drug prohibition does more harm than good.”
They Really Believe There Could Be a Drug-Free World
What we “utopian fundamentalists” don’t understand, Stamm argued, is that the drug war is actually succeeding. “The success of our drug policies… is evidenced by the long-term reductions in the drug use rates in this country.”
Stamm pointed out that in 1979, 14 percent of the population 12 and older had used an illicit drug in the past month, compared to just nine percent today.
“Now this may not be winning,” Stamm conceded, “but it sure as hell isn’t losing,” which suggests that Stamm believes zero percent drug use would be “winning.”
Now who’s the “utopian fundamentalist?”
It’s very telling that what Stamm considers success is reduction in the use of drugs not the harm from drugs.
Sure, in 1979, 14 percent of the population used drugs monthly, but only 2,475 people died from an overdose. Now, it’s down to nine percent using, but we’re forecasting over 60,000 overdose deaths in the most recent year.
Those of us that point that out “intend to grossly mislead and hoodwink sometimes an all too susceptible public,” warned Stamm.
To decriminalize drugs “on behalf of the mere 9 percent of our population, who seek only unlimited forms of self-gratification,” Stamm continued, “would not simply be reckless, it would be suicidal.”
Yes, we all remember the decline and fall of Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs in 2001. With the 95 percent reduction in new HIV infections, 80 percent reduction in overdose deaths, half the heroin users and drug use rates roughly comparable to the rest of Europe, it’s a deplorable hell-hole, huh?
“Every Heroin Addict Out There… Started with at Least Marijuana…”
Stamm’s thesis for “Why We Fight” is not dissimilar to the dehumanization employed by vicious demagogues throughout history, from the Nazis who referred to the Jews as “vermin” to the Hutu who referred to the Tutsi as “cockroaches.”
“Ultimately, the crisis of dope is one that is deeply rooted in attitudes and behaviors,” Stamm observed, “and therefore will require a citizenry that is… unafraid to confront those among us who infect and rot our nation from within.”
That infectious rot starts with marijuana, or, as Stamm referred to it “marijuana for kids” (I presume he meant CBD for epileptic toddlers; the context is unclear), as he discussed both the opioid overdose crisis and the flood of Mexican-produced methamphetamine coming from the cartels.
“Every heroin addict out there is not just a heroin user,” said Stamm. “For the most part, they are poly drug users, and they’ve started with at least marijuana. We have to make this struggle something that’s stigmatized, again.”
Sure, that’s what’s been missing from the lives of people with drug dependency issues—stigma.
“Stigma is actually much more important than law in keeping citizens in line with each other, to maximize liberty for all of us. So, although addiction requires our help and our compassion,” Stamm added, unconvincingly, “there is [sic] a lot more folks out there that aren’t drug addicts, they are recreational drug users, and we have to criticize and stigmatize that kind of behavior.”
Oh, How the DEA Longs for the ’80s
You can’t help but think of South Park’s counselor character, Mr. Mackey, when you hear Stamm explain his drugs-are-bad-mkay plan to stigmatize us all into quitting. Somehow, piss-testing us, profiling us, raiding us, killing our pets, seizing our assets and taking our liberty didn’t convince us to give up the devil’s lettuce.
But society wagging its finger and telling us we’re naughty, that’ll do the trick!
“There has [sic] been a lot of folks that have vilified and made fun of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ program years ago,” Stamm lamented, “but for those who have done some research on the matter, it worked. ‘Just Say No’ was not intended to impress our sophisticated elites in this country. It was intended to impress 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds, and it worked surprisingly well.”
Nancy Reagan first began the “Just Say No” campaign in 1982.
I was 14-years-old at the time. I guess it didn’t work so surprisingly well on me. Or anybody, really.
It would be easy to dismiss the DEA’s Jeff Stamm as yet another one of the prohibitionist dinosaurs screeching its death throes as it sinks into the tar pits of history. That is, until you remember that the DEA is controlled by a Department of Justice run by an ’80s throwback who worships “Just Say No” more than Stamm does, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Stamm seems impressed by the new boss.
“We need to do better [at] letting folks know that drug use is unacceptable,” said Stamm, echoing similar comments by Sessions. “It’s something that maybe you can survive, but at large, it’s something that society can’t. So, without getting into specifics on policies and things of the previous administration, I hope we now have some strong leadership on why drugs are wrong and why it’s so damaging to society at large.”
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