Thursday, 29 May 2008

Another front opening on the War on Drug Users?

A chap called Mike Sabin is making the rounds of the country's impressionable parents, politicians and pedagogues, telling them that to fix the country's drug scourge we need to get even more authoritarian on the War on Drug Users than we already are.  The War on Drug Users that Annette King was open enough to admit a few weeks ago that we're losing.

A few days ago Mr Sabin was briefing parliament on the "Drug epidemic" -- a briefing the pollies were lapping up like dying men in a desert --  offering what Russell Brown calls a "miracle cure for all drug problems."  The cure includes:

  • Recognising that cannabis is a "gateway drug" that must be expunged from use;
  • Proposing a Drug Tzar who reports only to the Prime Minister (ie., with no outside  oversight or governance);
  • Compulsory drug testing in schools and workplaces;
  • A system where friends and family dob in users to the police for compulsory rehabilitation
    ... and much, much more..

Apparently the bare bones of the cure (which sounds far worse than the disease) is based on what Sabin says is the successful Montana Meth Project in the States.

If you think this all sounds either too good to be true (or too authoritarian to be taken seriously) then you'd be right, as  Russell Brown's successful fisking of the Montana Meth Project and the rest of Mr Sabin's proposals demonstrates.  This isn't a new front on the War on Drug Users -- it's the same failing War on Drugs in which the real damage is done by the War on Drugs itself.

If Russell doesn't convince you, just give some thought to what a Prime Minister like Helen Clark could do with an open-ended brief to conduct a covert War on selected New Zealanders -- a War conducted without any oversight or governance except by Heather Simpson...  and there you have the bare bones of every War on Drugs ever conducted.


  1. Why do the Mike Sabins think the genie can be put back into the bottle?

    Why do they persist in circling the problem, instead of dealing with it?

    Why do they persist with practices that only serve to offer their children as targets for criminal scum?

    Aside from the immorality of the state flexing its muscles, the well-meaning but ultimately absurd "War on Drugs" was started by Nixon some 35 odd years ago. Kind of puts Iraq into perspective.

  2. The big issue overlooked with drug testing is that many, maybe even a majority, of low wage workers partake. I was told of someone who has been put into rehab for three months on full pay - a council worker. You might wonder why the council would bother but what is their choice? Having conducted the tests they have to take some action. They can't just sack people...well they could if ratepayers were happy not to have sewers serviced or rubbish collected. Where does the war on drugs end?

  3. A colleague of mine attended a drug course (compulsory) in Australia in the railways. Any contractor, employee or manager had to attend once every two years. Anyway he told me about this grizzly old guy who kept arguing with the teacher about every drug and what its effect was. You name it, grizz knew about it. It seemed he had a lot of direct experience with all sorts of naughty stuff. The teacher would say something like, "Pot causes these effects, blah, blah and causes this harm etc. etc." The grizzly guy would say, "No. It never does that. It does like this. Blah. Blah. etc." then they'd move on to the next drug in the list and the same thing would occur. Turns out he was a track maintenance worker it seems and had been a driver before he had a heart attack. They eventually retired him on full pay so he didn't keep having them on about drugs. An $80k/yr retirement.

    I since heard that there are stories about train drivers soaked up to the eyeballs on drugs to keep "awake". Hope not.


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