PDA

View Full Version : Organized Crime and Drugs


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


mathewjgano
02-13-2010, 02:53 PM
I am with you Matt I say legalize too...Get rid of the Criminal Element...The USA is the largest consumer of hard drugs in the world...The Taliban various Mafias and Gangs all fund a majority of their criminal enterprises with drugs sold in the US...
With the largest prison population on the planet... two thirds of those for drug related offenses the US has lost the "war" on drugs...
William Hazen
I have so much to say on this subject it's hard to begin so I'll just toss out a few ideas and see where it leads.
I do have a hard time with the idea of legalizing things like heroin or cocain, but they're not much worse (if at all) than many pharmaceuticals. Also, as an aside, the illegal pharmaceutical market makes a fair amount of money for the pharmaceutical companies themselves.
The prison system isn't a rehabilitation system (i.e. it doesn't fix the problem); if anything, it's a fermentation and distillation chamber for brewing a stronger poison. Our prisons create much of the criminal behavior they're supposed to curtail.
Thoughts or corrections anyone?
Take care,
Matt

lbb
02-13-2010, 04:01 PM
Hi Matthew,

I think the biggest stumbling block is that we (society, humanity, individuals, whatever) have a really tough time approaching the really complex problems -- plus, in more recent decades, a pronounced desire to always seek solutions in the form of some top-down policy initiative. Thus, to the aspect of the problem that is drug-related crime, the proposed solutions we imagine most readily are policies: legalize it, or more harshly criminalize it. Arguing one side or the other -- or even viewing them as "the two sides" -- is a really reductionist approach. It's why, IMO, we're failing badly at addressing the complex problems of the world.

So, drug-related violence is but one aspect of "the drug problem", and legalizing that drug might -- might -- address one aspect of that aspect. In making the trade legal, so goes the theory, you get rid of the huge profit margins, the lack of a true competitive market, and the inability of a ripped-off customer or trafficker to seek legal recourse. Maybe. Having a legal market doesn't necessarily make all trafficking legal -- when a legal product is taxed, there's incentive to bootleg, there's danger money to be made, and you're back to the same set of problems, maybe at a lower level but still there. But legalizing also doesn't address the many other aspects of "the drug problem", such as addiction, such as what damage a substance does to people, such as how society deals with the problem behaviors of someone under the influence of this substance. Look at societies that have made a decent effort at grappling with these issues with regard to alcohol -- then look at others that have not. Particularly look at where the effective solutions have come from. Is it from the top down, from the bottom up, or from somewhere else?

One final thought: addressing complex issues is difficult by its very nature. It becomes impossible when you cling to the hope that you can definitively solve them -- yet there's a pretty wide healthy medium between that and simply throwing up your hands and saying, "Hey, what can you do?" When difficult and complex problems have been addressed creatively, from a multiplicity of sources, and most of all persistently, enormous strides are taken. We have to be humbly patient with what we can do, and doggedly persistent in keeping at it. The journey of a thousand miles, and all that.

Linda Eskin
02-13-2010, 05:16 PM
My sister was an alcoholic and addict from her early teens, until she died at 42. She was a kind, smart woman, a highly skilled RN, and a devoted mother. She fought addiction with every fiber of her being for most of her life, and lost.

I think legalizing drugs would go a long way toward destigmatizing addiction, so that people would be able to get help earlier, and so they might find more support from their families and communities. Criminalization only sends addicts into hiding, forces them to associate with criminals, and makes them susceptable to coercion, from fear of being found out.

Criminalizing drugs hasn't kept people from using them, it's only fueled an underground economy, and kept people from getting help. We don't throw the mentally ill into prisons (any more), except for addicts.

mathewjgano
02-13-2010, 06:13 PM
Hi Matthew,

I think the biggest stumbling block is that we (society, humanity, individuals, whatever) have a really tough time approaching the really complex problems -- plus, in more recent decades, a pronounced desire to always seek solutions in the form of some top-down policy initiative. Thus, to the aspect of the problem that is drug-related crime, the proposed solutions we imagine most readily are policies: legalize it, or more harshly criminalize it. Arguing one side or the other -- or even viewing them as "the two sides" -- is a really reductionist approach. It's why, IMO, we're failing badly at addressing the complex problems of the world.

So, drug-related violence is but one aspect of "the drug problem", and legalizing that drug might -- might -- address one aspect of that aspect. In making the trade legal, so goes the theory, you get rid of the huge profit margins, the lack of a true competitive market, and the inability of a ripped-off customer or trafficker to seek legal recourse. Maybe. Having a legal market doesn't necessarily make all trafficking legal -- when a legal product is taxed, there's incentive to bootleg, there's danger money to be made, and you're back to the same set of problems, maybe at a lower level but still there. But legalizing also doesn't address the many other aspects of "the drug problem", such as addiction, such as what damage a substance does to people, such as how society deals with the problem behaviors of someone under the influence of this substance. Look at societies that have made a decent effort at grappling with these issues with regard to alcohol -- then look at others that have not. Particularly look at where the effective solutions have come from. Is it from the top down, from the bottom up, or from somewhere else?

One final thought: addressing complex issues is difficult by its very nature. It becomes impossible when you cling to the hope that you can definitively solve them -- yet there's a pretty wide healthy medium between that and simply throwing up your hands and saying, "Hey, what can you do?" When difficult and complex problems have been addressed creatively, from a multiplicity of sources, and most of all persistently, enormous strides are taken. We have to be humbly patient with what we can do, and doggedly persistent in keeping at it. The journey of a thousand miles, and all that.

Really well put! It is a very complex issue. And I don't mean to sound like I think legalization of anything will take it off the black market...and it certainly won't diminish the use. Anything you can buy on the legal market you can find on some version of the black market, but cheaper. Legalizing marijuana alone probably wouldn't cut much into the vaults of violent crime groups either. Could be we'd just force them into diversifying and becoming more difficult to track down too. People adapt. It's what we're good at. Couple that with the fact that crime is also quite deeply a cultural issue and I think it's safe to say no matter the number or variety of policies, there will probably be some form of organized/professional crime.

lbb
02-14-2010, 02:08 PM
I think legalizing drugs would go a long way toward destigmatizing addiction, so that people would be able to get help earlier, and so they might find more support from their families and communities. Criminalization only sends addicts into hiding, forces them to associate with criminals, and makes them susceptable to coercion, from fear of being found out.

Yup -- it does all that. And yet, alcohol is legal, and people still have problems seeking help. Despite many years of developing a pretty good understanding of alcohol addiction, despite the existence of many well-publicized free and accessible programs, despite the costs of problem drinking behavior that have always been there and the newer costs caused by stricter law enforcement regarding (for example) drunk driving, many alcoholics simply do not seek help. I don't know if it's accurate to say that alcoholism is destigmatized, in fact. It's less hidden now than it used to be, but legalization was clearly not a factor there.

BTW, I'm not arguing the anti-legalization stance -- I'm just saying that if it's used, it will just be one ingredient in a rather complex stew.

Mike Sigman
02-14-2010, 08:35 PM
Yup -- And yet, alcohol is legal, and people still have problems seeking help. Despite many years of developing a pretty good understanding of alcohol addiction, despite the existence of many well-publicized free and accessible programs, despite the costs of problem drinking behavior that have always been there and the newer costs caused by stricter law enforcement regarding (for example) drunk driving, many alcoholics simply do not seek help. I dunno... I think part of the problem is that people seek gratification for themselves in so many ways. Isn't that what life really is?... and with the winners getting the most of what they strongly want/need/seek?

Civilization is about people being strong enough to recognize common goods about more basic wants/needs/desires.... and therefore controlling their wants/needs/desires for the greater good. Obviously a major trend of the last few decades is to let your own wants/needs/desires override the needs of a structured society. That certainly seems to play to the people who subsist on a lesser view of people than as civilization. Maybe that's a cycle?

Note the comments in this article about Aikido and Tai Chi:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/200911/reality-horror-movie-the-case-the-deadly-sweat-lodge-part-1

There seems to be a pattern.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mark Uttech
02-15-2010, 09:20 AM
My sister was an alcoholic and addict from her early teens, until she died at 42. She was a kind, smart woman, a highly skilled RN, and a devoted mother. She fought addiction with every fiber of her being for most of her life, and lost.

I think legalizing drugs would go a long way toward destigmatizing addiction, so that people would be able to get help earlier, and so they might find more support from their families and communities. .

Onegaishimasu. Legalizing alcohol has not destigmatized alcoholism. AA has not managed to destigmatize alcoholism either.Although some wild fires are put out by fighting with fire,it is always best to find a peaceful 'other thing' to do with our time. I just felt I had to my two cents in.

In gassho,

Mark

Aikibu
02-15-2010, 10:48 AM
Onegaishimasu. Legalizing alcohol has not destigmatized alcoholism. AA has not managed to destigmatize alcoholism either.Although some wild fires are put out by fighting with fire,it is always best to find a peaceful 'other thing' to do with our time. I just felt I had to my two cents in.

In gassho,

Mark

Well I am going to break my own anonymity (again sorry) here for a moment...I have been clean and sober for over 21 years and I'm still very active in 12 step programs. For over 18 years I worked in the recovery field...

To Mary's point There is a saying.."This is a simple program for complicated people." :) Meaning while the issues are complex the devil is not necessarily in the details...The fact is the Drugs and Alcohol are woven in to the Human Fabric...So that's not the issue...1 out of 10 people who drink experience problems with alcohol at some point in their lives Most straighten out on their own in some fashion... Some get progressively worse and need treatment...12 Step Programs have been around since the Mid 30's and since that time... There has been a revolution in both the treatment of Alcoholism/Addiction and the Cultural Mores surrounding it. So..Where some folks see a stigma think about this...Every major Fortune 500 Company and most HR firms now offer treatment alternatives where there were none before and I won't even get into all the PR and TV Film exploration of treatment..Not to mention the ongoing revolution in psychiatric care, and the meme shift away back to treatment as opposed to punishment..

So Mark to your point...There will always be a personal stigma that surrounds alcoholism and drug addiction but The Cultural and Social Stigma memes are fast disappearing Regular folks seem to feel that locking up sick people who can't help being sick can only go so far, and that there needs to be a reasoned healthcare response. In my opinion it's the Zen Answer which is both...Treatment combined with Legal Consequences.

Legalizing Drugs is not a panacea to crime... but it will go a long way towards reducing it, and help get the victims of it get the help they need.

William Hazen

ninjaqutie
02-15-2010, 10:57 AM
I don't think that legalization would decrease overall drug use. It may lower some interest though. Spain allows drinking at a younger age, so it isn't so much a right of passage or something to do to be rebelious. HOWEVER, they still have alcohol abuse problems over there. I imagine it would be the same if drugs were legalized. Here in Oregon, medical marijuana growing and usage is allowed and there is still plenty of problems with this drug. I guess you just never really know what the outcome would be till you tried it. Problem is, if you were to let the cat out of the bag, you would never be able to get the cat back in the bag if it didn't work.