Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Than 2X as Many Gang Related Drug Murders in Chicago This Year As Casualties in Afghanistan

(CBS News) -- "There are 228 dead: That's the number of murders this year in Chicago. It's nearly twice as many as the number of Americans lost on the battlefields of Afghanistan over these last six months. And the number of deaths is up 35% over the same period last year. 

Chicago police Superintendent Gary McCarthy believes most of the violent crime in the city is "absolutely" gang-related. He said the problem has a lot to do with drugs, guns and gang wars. 

McCarthy says the data doesn't always show it, but the police are making progress through increasing undercover operations and greater infiltration of the gangs, as well as a crackdown against the narcotics traffic which is the fuel that keeps them going."

MP: In 1972, President Nixon officially declared a "War on Drugs," when he appealed to Congress to give the highest priority to provide funding to the federal government to "destroy the market for drugs," with "increased enforcement and vigorous application of the fullest penalties provided by law" and to "render the narcotics trade unprofitable."  Nixon said that "The final issue is not whether we will conquer drug abuse, but how soon."

Well, it's been 41 years now, and despite the increased drug enforcement that Nixon called for, and despite the billions of dollars spent, and millions of Americans arrested and jailed for drug offenses, and thousands of people murdered, we clearly haven't destroyed the market for drugs, and we've got more drug-related problems today (e.g. murders) than in 1972 when Nixon first declared the War.  

Exhibit A: More drug-related murders this year in one U.S. city, Chicago, than American casualties on the battlefields of Afghanistan, making the term War on Drugs seem even more appropriate and descriptive.


61 Comments:

At 6/19/2012 8:13 AM, Blogger Ken said...

To make this comparison credible, rates need to be compared. Until that happens, this is so much hooey.

The number of troops in Afghanistan is 89,000. Assuming half 228 died this year in Afghanistan, the rate of American deaths in Afghanistan is 1.28 per 1000 troops.

The number of people in Chicago is 2,695,598, meaning that the number of people dead per 1000 people is 0.0846, which is 15 times lower.

Of course, this is an unfair comparison, also. The rate of ALL deaths in Afghanistan need to be compared against all deaths in Chicago. Or you need to separate out which of the 228 murders in Chicago are definitely drug related, then divide that number by the number of people involved in the drug trade. Only this number can be compared to the 1.28 deaths per 1000 for Afghanistan.

I'm against the drug war, but I'm also against using sloppy statistics to make your case.

 
At 6/19/2012 8:27 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Good point. But we would expect hundreds of war-related casualties on a battlefield, but we shouldn't necessarily expect hundreds of murders in American city during peacetime. And the drug- and gang-related murders in Chicago are likely confined to certain areas of the city, so we would have to adjust the murder rate for the population of just the neighborhoods/battlefields affected?

 
At 6/19/2012 8:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

O.K. let's say there is a decriminalization or even a legalization of drugs but which drugs are we talking about?

Now if the gangs don't have drugs to fight over, what's the next thing that we as a society deem illegal that the gangs will push ?

What if the next 'gang thing' is pre-teen prostitution and slavery?

 
At 6/19/2012 9:04 AM, Blogger Matticus Rex said...

Ken - I think perhaps the point is, while deaths in the AfPak theater are (sometimes) closely counted and commented on by the media, not many people are paying attention to the tragedies 'back home' that are far more damaging to our local populations.

No matter which metric(s) you choose to look at, significant parts of Chicago are turning into an open sewer of violence. For a sobering take on the situation, check out http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/ for a street-level view of things. the War on Drugs is a Quagmire, we need to re-think our way out of it...

Juandos - I'd say decriminalize all of it, and let people bear the consequences of their actions. If you can snort coke but otherwise conduct yourself as a law abiding citizen, why is it any business of mine? If you can't handle your alcohol habit and slide into a tree... you go to jail, right? Why would it be any different with impairment via "drugs"?

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” G.K. Chesterton

You 'next gang thing' statement ... is just silly. Gangs didn't create the demand for drugs - consumers did. I don't see a pent-up demand for a slave trade in this country...

 
At 6/19/2012 9:30 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Mark,

so we would have to adjust the murder rate for the population of just the neighborhoods/battlefields affected

I think this would be a fair comparison. I tried to adjust for this by saying to make the denominator the number of people involved in the drug war and not simply all Chicagoans.

Matticus,

not many people are paying attention to the tragedies 'back home' that are far more damaging to our local populations

Absolutely. This is why I think it's so stupid, and insulting, for there to be an awareness campaign for breast cancer, when the number of women who die of heart disease is higher, yet not a peep about heart disease awareness. Of course, heart disease affects men, too, so can't bring focus on that. And who would dress up in faggity pink without breast cancer awareness?

I just object to saying, or implying, that Chicago is twice as deadly as Afghanistan because the raw number of Chicagoans murdered is twice that of American troops in Afghanistan. It's easy to ignore people who obviously use statistics disingenuously. Because of this, if your intentions are to make a persuasive case, don't shoot yourself it the foot by being disingenuous with statistics.

 
At 6/19/2012 9:31 AM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Ken,

If you look at murder rates by neighborhood, you will see that parts of Chicago are far more dangerous than Afghanistan. Some Chicago neighborhoods have murder rates of >4000 per 100,000 population compared to 1280 for our soldiers. If you look at the murder rate for young men in parts of Chicago (more representative of our troop demographics), they would be much safer leaving these neighborhoods to go fight in Afghanistan.

 
At 6/19/2012 9:36 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

i would bet you the rates are MUCH higher in chigago than in afghanistan.

you cannot use the population of chicago and compare it against the number of US troops.

you need to compare the number of gang members to the number of soldiers.

there are 90,000 us soldiers in afghanistan.

you'd need nearly 200k gang members in chicago to hit this number, meaning that 7% of chicago residents are in a gang which seems unlikely.

alternately, you could use the whole population of afghanistan, 24 million, and then chicago REALLY looks bad.

it seems like you are the one comparing apples to oranges, not mark.

 
At 6/19/2012 9:38 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

sorry, afghan population is 34 million, not 24.

 
At 6/19/2012 10:02 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"He said the problem has a lot to do with drugs, guns and gang wars".

And Democrats.

 
At 6/19/2012 10:18 AM, Blogger Ken said...

you cannot use the population of chicago and compare it against the number of US troops.

you need to compare the number of gang members to the number of soldiers.


Jesus Christ, morgan, I explicitly say this, so what are you bitching about? Or did you just stop reading after the first few sentences?

 
At 6/19/2012 10:20 AM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

Did you completely miss or misunderstand this sentence, which is in my first comment:

you need to separate out which of the 228 murders in Chicago are definitely drug related, then divide that number by the number of people involved in the drug trade. Only this number can be compared to the 1.28 deaths per 1000 for Afghanistan.

 
At 6/19/2012 10:40 AM, Blogger juandos said...

I can't believe that this thread has degenerated to the quibbling over numbers...

 
At 6/19/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

But again, we expect war casualties. The number of drug- and gang-related murders could easily be ZERO with legalization.

Regardless of the accuracy of the comparison, the important point is that we have turned inner city neighborhoods in America into war zones and battlefields with the War on Drugs.

 
At 6/19/2012 10:47 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Mark,

The number of drug- and gang-related murders could easily be ZERO with legalization.

You can't seriously believe this can you? Did the number of alcohol related murders drop to zero after prohibition? The number dropped, but didn't go to zero. After all if these numbers were zero, the temperance movement and drug prohibition movement wouldn't have gotten traction.

 
At 6/19/2012 10:54 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The number of drug- and gang-related murders could easily be ZERO with legalization"...

Not on planet earth Prof. Mark, no sir, no chance of that ever happening...

 
At 6/19/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"But we would expect hundreds of war-related casualties on a battlefield, but we shouldn't necessarily expect hundreds of murders in American city during peacetime."

Here is a good analog of this from comments at NEWSONE For Black America on "Fractured Gangs Blamed For Spike In Chicago Murders":

"So the best thing young Americans that live in the Chicago area is to enlist in the Army, because walking the streets in Afghanistan or Iraq is ten times safer than strolling the streets of Chicago. If the other large cities in this nation are anything like Chicago, we must be racking up 10,000 murders per year, much, much safer to be in the combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan."

 
At 6/19/2012 11:11 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

""The number of drug- and gang-related murders could easily be ZERO with legalization"...

Not on planet earth Prof. Mark, no sir, no chance of that ever happening..."


Yep, no chance.

Growing up in homes without fathers, and celebrating the gangsta culture that includes easy access to guns, makes for murdeous mayhem - with or without drug legalization.

 
At 6/19/2012 11:21 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

take a deep breath buddy. what's with the extreme response?

i'm happy to have a discussion with you, but you seem awfully emotional here. i'm not attacking you, so let's not slide down that path.

maybe i was not clear.

let me try again.

what i was trying to do was come up with the number you were looking for.

we know afghan troops and casualties and that 2X as many have dies in chicago drug trade.

thus, we can say that if the drug trade in chicago has fewer than 2X as many people in it as soldiers in afghanistan, that the ratio in chicago is higher.

let's use 180 as 2X 90k.

that's 6.5% of chicago's population. (the 200k number i used last time was too high)

thus, if we believe that fewer than 1 in 15 chicago dwellers is in the drug trade, the chicago has a higher ratio.

i do not know the number of chicago gang members/drug dealers (nor, i suspect, does anyone though these folks estimate 68k, making the per capita death rate roughly 3X afghanistan's)

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/January-2012/Why-Are-There-So-Many-Gang-Members-in-Chicago/

thus, it would seem that mark's point stands.

 
At 6/19/2012 11:26 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"You can't seriously believe this can you? Did the number of alcohol related murders drop to zero after prohibition? The number dropped, but didn't go to zero. After all if these numbers were zero, the temperance movement and drug prohibition movement wouldn't have gotten traction."

i suspect he meant in the drugs trade.

when was the last time your local liquor store owner killed his competitor to expand his franchise?

when did you last see bullets flying at a keg hand off?

come on guys, you are being a bit histrionic here. sure, drunk or high people can do dumb things. but that is not reason to think that the legal distribution of liquor has not dramatically reduced violence around it's sale. remember the mob? al capone? the "roaring 20's?"

where did all the violence come from?

nothing can stop drunk or high people from committing crimes (or sober people either for that matter). but we have that already. moving distribution to stores protected by police like any other retailer and taking out the outlandish profit margins dealers get for taking such high risks would take most of the violence (which is predominantly gang on gang) out of this space.

the crips and bloods do not fight over beer sales.

 
At 6/19/2012 12:07 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Growing up in homes without fathers, and celebrating the gangsta culture that includes easy access to guns, makes for murdeous mayhem - with or without drug legalization"...

Thank you buddy for catching that 'human element' of the situation...

 
At 6/19/2012 12:37 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

i think you have it backwards.

if you want to keep dads at home, stop putting them in jail for recreational choices. if you want to keep them alive, take away the profit motive for gang war and gangs will melt away just as most of the mafia did.

it is the illegal drug trade that gives rise to gangsta culture, not the other way around. you don't see vodka gangs killing each other and beer dealers stabbing the competition or getting jailed.

the harm is being caused BY the laws. legalize drugs and sell them in stores and millions of dads come home, many thousands more stop killing each other, and the "human cost" you focus on goes way, way down.

it is precisely the horrific human cost that makes the drug war so barbaric.

 
At 6/19/2012 1:14 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"i think you have it backwards.

if you want to keep dads at home, stop putting them in jail for recreational choices. if you waort to keep them alive, take away the profit motive for gang war and gangs will melt away just as most of the mafia did
"...

Wrong again morganovich and on two counts...

I've not and never have been a cheer leader for the WOD, all I've ever asked is what if any practical alternative is there instead?

I was in my early twenties when Nixon and Congress foisted this monstrosity (remember paraquat?) onto the citizens and thought is was a seriously flawed idea (along with a majority of the then Border Patrol) back then...

Your second mistake, you fail to define what a 'recreational drug' is and not for the first time either...

Who is going to define what a recreational drug is?

 
At 6/19/2012 2:41 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

High crime neigborhoods already have liquor stores on almost every other block. So, how will legalizing drugs improve those neighborhoods?

I suspect, just the additional costs of social services will exceed the additional taxes.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:04 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

that seems like a bit of a straw man. i did not accuse you of favoring the WoD, all i did was state that the "human element" of this seems to favor legalization, not the current situation.

you agreed with buddy's comment that implied that gangsta culture was the cause of these ills. my point is that the WoD fostered the growth of the gangsta culture just like prohibition did for the mafia/organized crime.

it is that causality i think you have backwards. you are mistaking the chicken for the egg.

calling them "recreational drugs" to my mind simply means "drugs you choose to use for your own personal reasons". perhaps a better was to put it would be "putting them in jail for the mere choice to use a substance that does not harm others". if you beat up your neighbor, i don't care if you were high on meth or just drank a bottle of whiskey or just had a bad day. the beating is the crime, not the substance.

saying that "being drunk is a crime because it makes you more likely to beat up your neighbor" is minority report type thinking. you are now criminalizing somehting because of what it might promote.

hitting puberty ups the incidence of rape too, but that's hardly a crime. (puberty, not rape)

who is to define what a recreational drug is? i am. you are. mark is. we all make our own choices about them just as we do about what is a recreational book or sport. you may love golf, i may hate it. we are free to play or not as we like.

why are drugs any different? it's a personal choice. what business is it of the government's what chemicals i view as recreational if i use them on private property and do not violate the rights of others?

 
At 6/19/2012 3:14 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich says: "The WoD fostered the growth of the gangsta culture."

How do you know that? It could've slowed or impeded it instead.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:14 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

I'd be more inclined to agree if welfare benefits were tied to drug tests. I'm not eager to finance more drug addicts, and let's be honest, legalizing drugs would increase the # of people using drugs.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:34 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

There seems to be at least three major differences between Prohibition and the War on Drugs:

1. The government didn't effectively enforce Prohibition.

2. Government officials, including police, were also making money on Prohibition.

3. Much of the Sicilian Mafia fled to the U.S. after Mussolini cracked down on them in the 1920s.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:34 PM, Blogger Matticus Rex said...

Juandos,

"Your second mistake, you fail to define what a 'recreational drug' is and not for the first time either...

Who is going to define what a recreational drug is?"


I realize you didn't ask me, but if you look closely Morgan said "recreational choices" - a subtle yet important difference. And I say again - why make distinctions about drugs? Decriminalize them all, and remove the need for a black market. Saying that, I do suspect that after 40+ years of intensely suppressed demand, there will likely be a period of increased use - but those are choices freely made by the people who choose to use. The temperance movement proclaimed DOOM for us all when prohibition was ended... how'd that work out?

And gang violence will always exist in some form or fashion... but I do believe it would decrease if you take the illegal drug game off the streets. And perhaps then we can take a clear look at the root causes of gangsta culture that some of you have alluded to....

Peak - legalizing drugs will decriminalize conduct that consistently puts people in jail by the thousands. Neighborhoods would stop losing a huge chunk of their populations to prisons at a young age. Gangs don't fight turf wars over liquor stores, why wouldn't it be the same if you legalized the drug markets?

As for the WoD's effect on gangsta culture... you're just trying to be obtuse now, right? Entire generations of rappers have lionized drugs, dealers, and the trappings of the drug trade...

And Paul - I would be very much in favor of overhauling the welfare system at the same point in time, to ensure benefits are used for basic necessities and not vices - period. But that's a different argument ... :)

 
At 6/19/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Matticus Rex said...

Peak:

1. Really? You think the WoD is 'effectively enforcing' the laws? That is a fascinating view... What do you base that assertion on?

2. Really? So Govt. and police don't see their bottom lines buffed by millions of dollars of confiscated money, cars and properties? I'll stop there, and leave out the straight up corruption that exists in the system...

3. So the difference is... we don't have the Mafia now? OK...

 
At 6/19/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Matticus Rex, sure, without the War on Drugs, they would've been angels instead.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The War on Drugs has been an effective "tool" in capturing criminals of much worse crimes.

That's one reason major crime rates have fallen sharply.

Also, there's a difference between police taking from criminals and criminals paying police.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:53 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Matticus,

"I would be very much in favor of overhauling the welfare system at the same point in time, to ensure benefits are used for basic necessities and not vices - period. But that's a different argument ... :)"

No it isn't.

 
At 6/19/2012 3:57 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

And what's wrong with government seizing assets? If drugs were legal, they would've paid taxes anyway.

 
At 6/19/2012 4:48 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

"How do you know that? It could've slowed or impeded it instead."

because the whole gangsta culture is about flaunting drug money. that's what fuels it. when you provide huge opportunities for outsized profits for violent thugs, that's what you get.

the high profit margins in the illegal drug trade are a direct result of the WoD. it's price supports for thugs.

they would not be shooting one another were it not for the desire to control lucrative drugs trade and would not be wealthy and admired if they did not have the money it creates.

as mark is fond of saying "if you subsidize something, you get more of it."

drug criminalization is just a subsidy to thugs.

 
At 6/19/2012 4:54 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

"egalizing drugs would increase the # of people using drugs."

i'm not sure this is true. the experience with decriminalization in portugal did not have this result. the dutch were not big pot smokers compared to the brits or americans despite legal brown cafes.

would you start using more drugs if they were legal?

it might even reduce use in the young. when i was 16 it was easy to buy drugs, but very hard to buy beer. drug dealers do not card.

i suspect that the incremental benefit of reducing youth drug use could well outweigh any incremental increase in adult consumption.

further, if you tax drugs and use the money from that plus that savings on law enforcement and incarceration, treatment looks like a very cheap option. how many folks could you run through rehab for the price of once in jail?

welfare is tricky already for lots of reasons. they can buy beer and cigarettes. there's no real way to prevent it. you could, i suppose, give out welfare as a credit card that can only be used for specific purposes (though rent could be tricky) but that would eat 3% of the budget in fees.

 
At 6/19/2012 4:59 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"And what's wrong with government seizing assets"

first off, really? do you not believe in private property?

what's wrong is that it is done in drug cases without due process. they get seized on "probable cause" and ever getting them back puts the burden of proof on you.

that's theft.

further, it's uneven application. you don't get your car taken for speeding of if you beat up your spouse while sitting in it.

drugs are not treated like other crimes and many states have seizure laws that are blatantly unconstitutional, a fact being increasingly upheld in courts as such laws are struck down.

 
At 6/19/2012 5:03 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"1. The government didn't effectively enforce Prohibition."

you have to be kidding. they sure tried. it was just impossible. the war on drugs is EXACTLY like that. they try, but drugs are rampant. they just have much nastier prison sentences now incarcerating far more people.

government officials are making money on the war on drugs too though huge budgets, illegal seizures, crooked cops, and federal agencies that, at least for a while, sold drugs to fund foreign wars.

and the mexican, asian, and russian mobs come here now. they make the sicilains look like kindergartners. they all fight over the drug trade.

if those are your arguments, you really do not seem to have a leg to stand on.

 
At 6/19/2012 5:05 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"The War on Drugs has been an effective "tool" in capturing criminals of much worse crimes.

That's one reason major crime rates have fallen sharply"

and your evidence for that is what? that seems like a completely specious claim and a terrible perversion of justice even if true. the drop in crime rates has been based on demographics, not locking away pot smokers.

 
At 6/19/2012 5:07 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Matticus Rex, sure, without the War on Drugs, they would've been angels instead."

what a ludicrous statement. without a ready source of huge piles of cash, they would have done somehting else. drug sales are just like any business opportunity. you see demand and high profits and you decide to enter. make it legal, and the profits go away. gangs do not control liquor stores for that precise reason. there's not enough money in it and it takes much more investment for much less return. you can't buy beer wholesale and mark it up 1000%.

 
At 6/19/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

"No it isn't."

it think he's right. it is a different argument. holding up drug legalization because of welfare punishes everyone to prevent the bad behavior of a few. it's like banning big sodas because a few people are fat or banning kitchen knifes because a few were used in robberies. it punishes those who might use them responsibly to get at a few.

this is not to say that it is not a valid issue, but the drugs argument is one of liberty and presumed innocence and the welfare argument one of putting conditions on aid.

i believe that each person should have the right to choose. but i can also see the argument for putting conditions on choosing to get aid. that's like any agreement: you don't like the terms, walk away. estonia takes away your vote if you are on the dole (NOT A BAD IDEA). but the terms of accepting aid and liberty are, to my mind, two very different things and to punish me, who has never been on welfare because of what some who are on it might do seems unjust.

 
At 6/19/2012 5:52 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, without the War on Drugs, there may be a hundred times more drug users and a hundred times more "gangsta...flaunting drug money," along with much fewer of them flaunting their new prison uniforms.

Moreover, the police know the difference between a seller with a ton of marijuana and a long criminal record and someone with only a bit of marijuana and no criminal record.

You've been watching too many "Untouchables" episodes to believe the government effectively enforce Prohibition.

 
At 6/19/2012 6:08 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Or, without the War on Drugs, there may be twice as many drug users today and twice as much drug money.

It seems, the War on Drugs not only reversed the rise in drug use, it reversed the rise in major crimes.

 
At 6/20/2012 8:23 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

"Morganovich, without the War on Drugs, there may be a hundred times more drug users and a hundred times more "gangsta...flaunting drug money," along with much fewer of them flaunting their new prison uniforms."

this argument is flawed in 2 ways.

1. there is no evidence that this is the case. legalization in amsterdam and decriminalization in protugal did not increase use. that sounds like a hyperbolic bugbear trotted out to defend morally reactionary views. there is no evidence at all that it is true and much that it is not.

2. you are still missing the point. the drug money goes away. drugs would be sold in stores, like beer. do you see gangs flaunting "beer" money? do liquor store owners shoot one another in drive bys in turf wars? no. it becomes just another retail product. it is the fact that it is illegal that makes those who sell it arm themselves and fight over illegal distribution just as organized crime did over whiskey during prohibition.

so, even if use went up (and again, there is little or no evidence that it will) that does not create "drug money" for thugs. it would be tax dollars and money for retailers.

then you claim the government did not enforce prohibition? please. of course it did. bars and speakeasys went underground. the distribution became violent and covert.

the real lie is that the enforce the laws about drugs. been to a city lately? walk down 6th st in sf or into golden gate park. you'll be offered drugs 5 times a block. they are at every nightclub from boston to LA. you are living in a fantasy world if you think drugs are hard to get and the trade is being effectively suppressed.

lots of people go to jail, but that perversely just increase the profits in the trade attracting more new people to it.

you think the guys running the latin or afghan drug cartels are any more "touchable" than capone was?

not a chance.

your whole argument is based on fiction. if you think the drug war is working, then you have never been anywhere near its front lines.

 
At 6/20/2012 8:31 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"It seems, the War on Drugs not only reversed the rise in drug use, it reversed the rise in major crimes."

nonsense. it do nothing of the sort.

the changes were driven by demographics.

the drug war may make people less likely to self report themselves as users due to fear of reprecussions, but use is still higher in the US than anywhere in the world.

"Despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.

The World Health Organization's survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.

For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%),

Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.

In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use."

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500368_162-4222322.html

further, the "drop" in drug use is largely a statistical charade. "illegal" drugs have been replaced by "prescription" drugs that are used illegally.

further, the number of americans using drugs has been climbing for several years as demographics favor it again.

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/08/study-22-million-americans-use-illegal-drugs-3/

 
At 6/20/2012 8:37 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

besides, you keep ducking the real issue.

who cares what the effect of the drug was on drug use is?

we could criminalize t shirts too and reduce their use. so? would that make it right?

this is a rights issue.

what business of the government's is it if someone chose to use drugs on private property and does not hurt anyone else in so doing?

why should your choices be forced upon the whole of society?

the drug argument of "i think drugs are harmful and some people misuse them so they need to be banned for everyone" is contrary to personal liberty and responsibility. it's like banning kitchen knives because a few people hurt themselves with them or use them in robberies/assaults.

you and i may differ over the cost benefit of drugs or a tattoo or of regular exercise. freedom is about letting each of us make our own choice, not ramming a one size fits all solution down our throats.

 
At 6/20/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, we've had this conversation before, and I proved each of your assumptions false. Yet, all your false assumptions are here again. Amazing.

 
At 6/20/2012 6:40 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"that seems like a bit of a straw man. i did not accuse you of favoring the WoD, all i did was state that the "human element" of this seems to favor legalization, not the current situation"...

Well its a 'strawman' for you morganovich but in the real world that strawman has teeth and the drive of a rabid dog...

"it is the illegal drug trade that gives rise to gangsta culture, not the other way around. you don't see vodka gangs killing each other and beer dealers stabbing the competition or getting jailed"...

I don't know where you live morganovich but you're obviously spared the realities of people killing each other over alcohol...

Its not as 'sexy' as far as what passes for news media in this country to cover though...

"legalize drugs and sell them in stores and millions of dads come home, many thousands more stop killing each other, and the "human cost" you focus on goes way, way down"...

You're dreaming or hoping that will be the case morganovich...

I've been to many places where drug laws either don't exist or aren't even remotely enforced (unless one is a tourist) and guess what? The killing over 'recreational' drugs doesn't stop or seemingly even mitigated to a small degree...

"why are drugs any different? it's a personal choice. what business is it of the government's what chemicals i view as recreational if i use them on private property and do not violate the rights of others?"...

You know morganovich in a perfect world your point of view would be believable...

You're asking to open up a Pandora's box...

People are not going to use opium, heroin, meth, angel dust or now bath salts and keep the effects to themselves...

It aint going to happen amigo...

Mind you morganovich I'm NOT disagreeing with your point regarding incarceration due to drug use but...

 
At 6/20/2012 6:53 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"but those are choices freely made by the people who choose to use. The temperance movement proclaimed DOOM for us all when prohibition was ended... how'd that work out?"...

Not very well for the victims mr, not well at all...

"but I do believe it would decrease if you take the illegal drug game off the streets. And perhaps then we can take a clear look at the root causes of gangsta culture that some of you have alluded to"...

Again mr I don't think the amount of potentially mitigated gang related crime will be long lasting if at all...

The problem is that maybe many people don't understand that gangs (especially among young males) have been around long before drug usage...

Starting in the late eighties Asian gangs in both California and out on the Pacific rim are killing each other and occassionally a few passers by over computer chips...

They're will always be something for gangs to do...

 
At 6/20/2012 6:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The WHO data (which also ranks U.S. health care below Cuba) are not credible.

However, the other article suggests the opposite of what you say, including decriminalization leads to more drug use:

"More than 22 million Americans age 12 and older - nearly 9% of the U.S. population - use illegal drugs.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and some prescription drugs used for non-medical purposes were counted in the survey.

Marijuana was the most commonly used drug, with more than 17 million users in 2010, 3 million more than in the 2007 survey.

About 131 million people 12 and older in the United States drink alcohol, according to the 2010 survey...More than 11% of the population drove under the influence of alcohol in the year before the study.

Marijuana is the most common drug for first-time users, according to the study. Among people who started using drugs in the year before the survey, 62% said they first used marijuana, 26% first used prescription drugs like tranquilizers and stimulants, and 9% first used inhalants."

My comment: The data suggest drug legalization will lead to more drug use (the U.S. is not Portugal or the Netherlands, it's more like California) and marijuana is a "gateway" drug.

 
At 6/21/2012 6:12 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "Now if the gangs don't have drugs to fight over, what's the next thing that we as a society deem illegal that the gangs will push ?

What if the next 'gang thing' is pre-teen prostitution and slavery?
"

Surely you're not suggesting that the WoD should be continued to keep criminals from discovering that their true opportunity cost has been pre-teen prostitution.

At least few would argue in favor of legalization on moral grounds.

 
At 6/21/2012 6:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Buddy

""Growing up in homes without fathers, and celebrating the gangsta culture that includes easy access to guns, makes for murdeous mayhem - with or without drug legalization"..."

You make a good case for making more gun safety training courses available to single mothers. :)

 
At 6/21/2012 6:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "Isuspect, just the additional costs of social services will exceed the additional taxes."

Wait - do you "suspect" that the current cost of drug enforcement and social services and no tax revenue is lower than the cost of social services with some offset by tax revenue would be if drugs were legal?

You should stick to "public welfare" arguments, as your economic ones are even harder to believe.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Morganovich says: "The WoD fostered the growth of the gangsta culture.""

Peak says: "How do you know that? It could've slowed or impeded it instead."

Heh. Yes, of course. Anti-establishment attitudes are always more prevalent in the absence of establishment programs to 'anti' against.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:16 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "There seems to be at least three major differences between Prohibition and the War on Drugs:"

And, some major similarities:

"1. The government didn't effectively enforce Prohibition."

Ditto.

"2. Government officials, including police, were also making money on Prohibition."

Ditto.

"3. Much of the Sicilian Mafia fled to the U.S. after Mussolini cracked down on them in the 1920s."

Well, I'll give you that one, but I'm not sure that had much to do with prohibition, except that they were already organized, and able to jump right into new business ventures. When their home country made it too difficult for them.

There may be a lesson here on the causes of present day off-shoring.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "I can't believe that this thread has degenerated to the quibbling over numbers..."

Well, as you know, quibbling *will* occur, so what would you prefer to quibble over? :)

 
At 6/21/2012 7:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Also, there's a difference between police taking from criminals and criminals paying police"

Yeah, the first is called theft, and the second is called bribery.

You probably meant to write "suspected" or "alleged" criminals. Someone who hasn't been tried and convicted of a crime shouldn't be fair game for thieves with guns and badges.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"And what's wrong with government seizing assets? If drugs were legal, they would've paid taxes anyway."

Whats WRONG? What's wrong is that asset forfeiture usually involve assets that are "suspected", without proof, of being the result of ill gotten gains.

Whatever happened to due process?

There are horror stories of assets seized illegally from people who had committed no crime. If you want citations just let me know.

There is no legitimate justification for taking what isn't rightfully yours.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich

"welfare is tricky already for lots of reasons. they can buy beer and cigarettes. there's no real way to prevent it. you could, i suppose, give out welfare as a credit card that can only be used for specific purposes (though rent could be tricky) but that would eat 3% of the budget in fees."

Besides creating a market in trading welfare credit card usage for cash.

We can go grocery shopping together using your credit card to buy groceries for me, which I will then buy from you for a discounted amount of cash.

As you pointed out, it can't be prevented.

 
At 6/21/2012 8:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak

"Morganovich, without the War on Drugs, there may be a hundred times more drug users and a hundred times more... "

You wouldn't exaggerate, now would you?

According to the CDC, in a 2011 survey 8.7% of US respondents reported using an illicit drug in the past month.

100 times that many would be around 2.6 billion people. Would you like to revise your absurd estimate?

" Or, without the War on Drugs, there may be twice as many drug users today and twice as much drug money."

Well, that's better, but still a wild exaggeration.

Do you really think that 13 million people in the US would start using drugs if they were legal?

And, if they did, why do you think prices would remain at the same level so as to produce twice as much drug money? Is there no risk premium involved now?

What ever happened to the Peak Trader who used to have some understanding of basic economics?

Get a grip! Your biases are making you say silly things.

 
At 6/21/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak says:

"Morganovich, we've had this conversation before, and I proved each of your assumptions false. Yet, all your false assumptions are here again. Amazing."

This only gets weirder and weirder. Are you on drugs, or what?

 
At 6/21/2012 9:06 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "Starting in the late eighties Asian gangs in both California and out on the Pacific rim are killing each other and occassionally a few passers by over computer chips..."

Ah yes. The "pentiums".

Has that toned down a bit since the price of chips is now so much lower? Just wondering, since that might be a clue about what could happen with much cheaper drugs.

 

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