Tag Archives: Drug Addiction

Trump signs bill to allow states to drug-test applicants for unemployment benefits

Ted and Heidi Cruz have a plan to simplify the tax code
Ted Cruz and and his supportive wife Heidi

I liked this story, because not only did it talk about Ted Cruz, but it also shows a major difference between Republicans and Democrats.

The story is from the far left Dallas Morning News.

Excerpt:

President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation backed by two Texas Republicans that will allow states to expand the pool of applicants for unemployment benefits who can be drug tested.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Kevin Brady of The Woodlands, nullifies a Labor Department rule that went into effect in September limiting drug tests to applicants who had a job that does regular drug screenings.

“Under the previous administration, the Department of Labor undermined the ability of states to conduct drug testing in their programs as permitted by Congress,” Cruz said in a written statement. “This rule was yet another example of executive overreach by the Obama administration, and I commend President Trump for signing this resolution into law.”

The measure traveled down a partisan path in Congress, passing through the Senate earlier this month with a party-line vote. Four Democrats in the House voted in favor of the bill in February, but no Texans.

“After 5 years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job ready from day one,” Brady said in a written statement. “This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies.”

[…]“We are not helping anyone by leaving them in a position where they are dependent on and addicted to drugs,” Cruz said.

I find this law so reasonable that I cannot believe that anyone who has a job and pays taxes could oppose it. Now, it’s true that a lot of Democrats either don’t work or get money from government salaries, government spending, or welfare. But even so, I would expect them to see that it is wrong to waste the taxpayer dollars of honest workers and their entrepreneurial employers on people who are addicted to drugs.

I hope that this bill will clear the way for conservative governors to get people off of welfare and into the workplace.

My favorite governor is Scott Walker, and he is discussed in this recent article from the center-left The Hill.

Excerpt:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday said he would ask the state’s Republican-led legislature to undertake one of the most aggressive welfare reform packages since a wave of new measures passed in the mid-1990s.

Walker’s plan, “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” would impose new work requirements on both able-bodied adults with school-age children who receive state food assistance and those who receive housing assistance. Both work plans, which would be tested on a pilot basis, would require recipients to be employed for at least 80 hours per month, or to be enrolled in job training programs. Those who do not meet work requirements would see part of their benefits cut.

“We believe our public assistance programs should ask able-bodied adults to take steps toward self-sufficiency through work, while also providing comprehensive tools to help them get and keep a job,” Walker said Monday.

The Wisconsin Republican has made welfare reform a key element of his second term in office.

“In 2017, we are going to push the federal government to allow Wisconsin to go even further, to be a leader once again on welfare reform,” Walker said last week during his State of the State address.

The plan proposed Monday would expand job training programs and employer resource networks for those who receive government aid. It would create an earned income tax credit specifically aimed at getting younger Wisconsinites into the workforce, and it would require existing business license requirements to be reviewed by a state panel in hopes of reducing red tape.

 

I also expect that Walker’s plans will get no Democrat support.

It really says something about how differently Republicans and Democrats view the money they take from taxpayers. Republicans want to be responsible in how they spend taxpayer money, whereas Democrats want to waste it so they can feel generous and preen in front of crowds about how generous they are. But you can’t be generous with someone else’s money.

The best way to help a person who is dependent on government is not to keep them on drugs, and keep them on welfare. They need to guided out of drug use, and into a job. Forging your own success makes you happier than being dependent anyway.

New report: Americans rank last in problem solving using technology

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new analysis of problem solving skills.

Excerpt:

A new report finds U.S. workers rank dead last among 18 industrial countries when it comes to “problem solving in technology-rich environments,” or using digital technology to evaluate information and perform practical tasks. The consequences of that emerging competitive disadvantage is energizing the volatile undercurrent of this year’s presidential race, some observers say.

If the problem-solving deficit is bad, the reasons for it may be worse, said Stephen Provasnik, the U.S. technical adviser for the International Assessment for Adult Competency: flagging literacy and numeracy skills, which are the fundamental tools needed to score well on the survey.

[…]The results build off a global survey conducted in 2012 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. To better compare the skills of younger and older adults and the unemployed, researchers did additional surveys in 2014. The countries that scored the highest on the problem-solving with technology criteria were Japan, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Poland scored second to last, just above the U.S.

One stark revelation is that about four-fifths of unemployed Americans cannot figure out a rudimentary problem in which they have to spot an error when data is transferred from a two-column spreadsheet to a bar graph. And Americans are far less adept at dealing with numbers than the average of their global peers.

Why is that a problem? It’s a problem because the best jobs all require proficiency in math.

Consider these starting salaries and mid-career salaries for various majors:

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)

(Source)

The common denominator in all these degrees is mathematics, which is out of favor with many Americans. But clearly learning math would enable them to get the highest paying jobs – private sector STEM jobs. So why aren’t they learning math?

People drop math because it’s too hard

People who drop math typically do so because they want to focus on other things that are less difficult. Most of them just want to have fun… sometimes with watching TV all day, sometimes with premarital sex, sometimes with alcohol and drugs. Families break down as women choose hot, irresponsible men and have babies with them out of wedlock. And those kids learn less than their parents knew. There just isn’t any interest in much of America about learning hard things like math, so you can get those private sector STEM jobs that pay well.

Consider this post by Kevin Williamson in National Review magazine:

The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.

Trump vs Hillary head-to-head: No Trumpkin can make sense of this chart
Trump vs Hillary head-to-head: Trumpkins lack the math skills to make sense of this table

David French, who grew up in Kentucky, and then attended Harvard Law School, adds this in National Review:

These are strong words, but they are fundamentally true and important to say. My childhood was different from Kevin’s, but I grew up in Kentucky, live in a rural county in Tennessee, and have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin. Obama isn’t walking them into the lawyer’s office to force them to file a bogus disability claim.

For generations, conservatives have rightly railed against deterministic progressive notions that put human choices at the mercy of race, class, history, or economics. Those factors can create additional challenges, but they do not relieve any human being of the moral obligation to do their best.

Yet millions of Americans aren’t doing their best. Indeed, they’re barely trying. As I’ve related before, my church in Kentucky made a determined attempt to reach kids and families that were falling between the cracks, and it was consistently astounding how little effort most parents and their teen children made to improve their lives. If they couldn’t find a job in a few days — or perhaps even as little as a few hours — they’d stop looking. If they got angry at teachers or coaches, they’d drop out of school. If they fought with their wife, they had sex with a neighbor. And always — always — there was a sense of entitlement.

And that’s where disability or other government programs kicked in. They were there, beckoning, giving men and women alternatives to gainful employment. You don’t have to do any work (your disability lawyer does all the heavy lifting), you make money, and you get drugs. At our local regional hospital, it’s become a bitter joke the extent to which the community is hooked on “Xanatab” — the Xanax and Lortab prescriptions that lead to drug dependence.

Of course we should have compassion even as we call on people to do better. I have compassion for kids who often see the worst behavior modeled at home. I have compassion for families facing economic uncertainty. But compassion can’t excuse or enable self-destructive moral failures.

Chart showing Trump vs Clinton: Trumpkins can't read this
Chart showing Trump vs Clinton: Trumpkins can’t read this chart, because it requires math skills

I have compassion for the kids, too. But not for the grown-ups, who seem to think that the world owes them a living even if they avoid learning hard things like math, and behave immorally. But there is no guarantee of success for people who don’t learn math, and who don’t behave morally. And it’s not anyone else’s fault.

Related posts

New study: marijuana use by teens is linked to permanent brain abnormalities

From the National Post.

Summary:

Smoking a few joints with friends growing up may be the furthest thing from harmless for developing young brains, a new U.S. study suggests.

Teenagers who regularly use cannabis during their adolescent years may cause permanent brain abnormalities by using the drug, and increase their risk of developing serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, a study published this month in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, a division of the journal Nature, hints at.

The problems occurred in younger mice but not in older mice:

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, examined the cortical oscillations in mice. Cortical oscillations (patterns of activity of neurons in the brain believed to underlie various functions) are very abnormal in schizophrenia and in other psychiatric disorders. Scientists exposed young mice to very low doses of the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days, and then allowed them to return to their siblings and develop normally.

“In the adult mice exposed to marijuana ingredients in adolescence, we found that cortical oscillations were grossly altered, and they exhibited impaired cognitive abilities,” says the study’s lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver, a PhD candidate in neuroscience and neurobiology at the University of Maryland, in a press release with the study. “We also found impaired cognitive behavioral performance in those mice. The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood.”

When researchers repeated the experiment solely on adult mice, cortical oscillations and ability to perform cognitive behavioral tasks remained normal.

[…]“Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger,” says the study’s senior author Asaf Keller, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland.

Now I know that young people have trouble making decisions, and that they have the attitude that no matter what they do, nothing bad will happen to them. But I still think that when you teach a young person, it’s important to appeal to evidence like this and say to them “this isn’t just me telling you what to do, this me me telling you what is true”. Obviously how you impart this information to them is going to affect whether they believe it and apply it to themselves.

In case you need more data, here is some more from previous posts.

Fox News reports:

Excerpt:

Recent research from Duke University in Durham, N.C., found teenagers who smoked marijuana habitually during their adolescence showed a decrease in their general intellectual ability as they progressed into adulthood.

But now, there is an even more chilling possible side effect of cannabis use – an increased risk of stroke.

According to a new study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, marijuana may double the risk of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in young adults – even those who had no risk factors that often contribute to an attack.

[…]Conducting the first case-controlled study of its kind, Barber and his colleagues studied 160 ischemic stroke/TIA patients between the ages of 18 to 55 (an average age of 45), who had their urine samples screened when they entered the hospital.  As a comparison, the researchers examined urine samples of 160 control subjects who had been admitted to the hospital for other medical reasons.

Of the 160 stroke patients, 16 percent tested positive for marijuana use within the past couple of days, compared to only 8.1 percent of the control patients.  According to Barber, the stroke patients were very well matched to the controls, with no differences in age, mechanisms for stroke or other vascular risk factors.

Here’s a study from last year that found that smoking marijuana can permanently damage intelligence.

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

They looked at data from over 1,000 people from Dunedin in New Zealand, who have been followed through their lives since being born in 1972 or 1973.

[…]Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, who contributed to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said “persistent users” who started as teenagers suffered a drop of eight IQ points at the age of 38, compared to when they were 13.

In addition to looking at studies, it’s important to look at countries that have legalized marijuana, so that we can see the results.

Other countries have tried permissive drug policies have been tried and they have failed.

Excerpt:

Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city’s “red light” district and surrounding area

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex “windows”, from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters.

The Family Research Council explains how permissive drug policies don’t actually work.

Excerpt:

History provides evidence that legalization of drugs in foreign nations has not been successful. For example, opium was legalized in China earlier this century. That decision resulted in 90 million addicts and it took a half-century to repair the damage.[59]

Egypt allowed unrestricted trade of cocaine and heroin in the 1920s. An epidemic of addiction resulted. Even in Iran and Thailand, countries where drugs are readily available, the prevalence of addiction continues to soar.[60]

Modern-day Netherlands is often cited as a country which has successfully legalized drugs. Marijuana is sold over the counter and police seldom arrest cocaine and heroin users. But official tolerance has led to significant increases in addiction. Amsterdam’s officials blame the significant rise in crime on the liberal drug policy. The city’s 7,000 addicts are blamed for 80 percent of all property crime and Amsterdam’s rate of burglary is now twice that of Newark, New Jersey.[61] Drug problems have forced the city to increase the size of the police force and the city fathers are now rethinking the drug policy.[62]

Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent.[63]

Sweden legalized doctor prescriptions of amphetamines in 1965. During the first year of legalization, the number of intravenous”speed” addicts rose 88.5 percent. A study of men arrested during the legalization period showed a high correlation between intravenous use and a variety of crimes.[64]

Dr. Nils Bejorot, director of the Swedish Carnegie Institute and professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, believes the solution to the growing drug problem is consistent social and legal harassment of both users and dealers.[65]

Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well.[66] And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the “legal” addicts.[67]

The Swiss opened a “legalized drug” area in Zurich seven years ago and local addicts were given drugs, clean needles, and emergency medical care. Unfortunately, the liberal policy backfired and the number of addicts surged to 3,500; violence surged, too. “Needle Park,” as it came to be known, was a place of open warfare among rival gangs, and even police faced gunfire. Their cars were attacked and overturned. In February 1995, officials ended the experiment, conceding that it had evolved into a grotesque spectacle.[68]

Now are the people who push for legalizing marijuana aware of these facts? Do they think about society will be like if more human beings who have spouses, children and jobs are more able to get their hands on drugs? Will they complain when their spouse loses their job, or they lose their job, and their children suffer? Will they blame themselves, or will they keep on smoking and blame others for their own decisions? We all have to think about the people around us before we do stupid, selfish things.

New study: smoking marijuana raises risk of having a stroke

Fox News reports:

Excerpt:

Recent research from Duke University in Durham, N.C., found teenagers who smoked marijuana habitually during their adolescence showed a decrease in their general intellectual ability as they progressed into adulthood.

But now, there is an even more chilling possible side effect of cannabis use – an increased risk of stroke.

According to a new study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, marijuana may double the risk of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) in young adults – even those who had no risk factors that often contribute to an attack.

The study’s lead author, Dr. P. Alan Barber, a professor of clinical neurology at the University of Auckland, said he was interested in studying the link between stroke and marijuana after a curious incident of stroke occurred in one of his younger patients.

“I look after people with strokes,” Barber told FoxNews.com, “and we had a patient come in with stroke; they were young, but they didn’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and they were reasonably fit and well.  They were clean from a risk factor point of view, but they had a stroke while smoking marijuana.  So we looked at the literature and saw sporadic stroke reports among marijuana users.”

Conducting the first case-controlled study of its kind, Barber and his colleagues studied 160 ischemic stroke/TIA patients between the ages of 18 to 55 (an average age of 45), who had their urine samples screened when they entered the hospital.  As a comparison, the researchers examined urine samples of 160 control subjects who had been admitted to the hospital for other medical reasons.

Of the 160 stroke patients, 16 percent tested positive for marijuana use within the past couple of days, compared to only 8.1 percent of the control patients.  According to Barber, the stroke patients were very well matched to the controls, with no differences in age, mechanisms for stroke or other vascular risk factors.

This is in addition to the study from last year that found that smoking marijuana can permanently damage intelligence.

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

They looked at data from over 1,000 people from Dunedin in New Zealand, who have been followed through their lives since being born in 1972 or 1973.

[…]Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, who contributed to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said “persistent users” who started as teenagers suffered a drop of eight IQ points at the age of 38, compared to when they were 13.

In addition to looking at studies, it’s important to look at countries that have legalized marijuana, so that we can see the results.

Other countries have tried permissive drug policies have been tried and they have failed.

Excerpt:

Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city’s “red light” district and surrounding area

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex “windows”, from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters.

The Family Research Council explains how permissive drug policies don’t actually work.

Excerpt:

History provides evidence that legalization of drugs in foreign nations has not been successful. For example, opium was legalized in China earlier this century. That decision resulted in 90 million addicts and it took a half-century to repair the damage.[59]

Egypt allowed unrestricted trade of cocaine and heroin in the 1920s. An epidemic of addiction resulted. Even in Iran and Thailand, countries where drugs are readily available, the prevalence of addiction continues to soar.[60]

Modern-day Netherlands is often cited as a country which has successfully legalized drugs. Marijuana is sold over the counter and police seldom arrest cocaine and heroin users. But official tolerance has led to significant increases in addiction. Amsterdam’s officials blame the significant rise in crime on the liberal drug policy. The city’s 7,000 addicts are blamed for 80 percent of all property crime and Amsterdam’s rate of burglary is now twice that of Newark, New Jersey.[61] Drug problems have forced the city to increase the size of the police force and the city fathers are now rethinking the drug policy.[62]

Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent.[63]

Sweden legalized doctor prescriptions of amphetamines in 1965. During the first year of legalization, the number of intravenous”speed” addicts rose 88.5 percent. A study of men arrested during the legalization period showed a high correlation between intravenous use and a variety of crimes.[64]

Dr. Nils Bejorot, director of the Swedish Carnegie Institute and professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, believes the solution to the growing drug problem is consistent social and legal harassment of both users and dealers.[65]

Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well.[66] And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the “legal” addicts.[67]

The Swiss opened a “legalized drug” area in Zurich seven years ago and local addicts were given drugs, clean needles, and emergency medical care. Unfortunately, the liberal policy backfired and the number of addicts surged to 3,500; violence surged, too. “Needle Park,” as it came to be known, was a place of open warfare among rival gangs, and even police faced gunfire. Their cars were attacked and overturned. In February 1995, officials ended the experiment, conceding that it had evolved into a grotesque spectacle.[68]

Why does legalizing drugs increase crime? Because drugs are addictive and they cost money to obtain, even if they are legal. Addiction reduces the ability to hold down a job, which is a legal way of getting money. Therefore, addicts will resort to crime in order to get the money to buy their drugs.

New study: smoking marijuana/cannabis permanently lowers IQ

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

They looked at data from over 1,000 people from Dunedin in New Zealand, who have been followed through their lives since being born in 1972 or 1973.

Participants were asked about cannabis usage when they were 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38. Their IQ was tested at 13 and 38. In addition, each nominated a close friend or family member, who was asked about attention and memory problems.

About one in 20 admitted to starting cannabis use before the age of 18, while a further one in 10 took up the habit in the early or mid 20s.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, who contributed to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said “persistent users” who started as teenagers suffered a drop of eight IQ points at the age of 38, compared to when they were 13.

The truth is that permissive drug policies have been tried and they have failed.

Excerpt:

Amsterdam authorities say they are to halve the number of brothels and marijuana shops in the city’s “red light” district and surrounding area

The city announced plans to clean up the area a year ago and since then 109 sex “windows”, from which prostitutes attract customers, have been closed. The new measures aim to reduce the number of windows to 243 from 482 last year, a city spokesman said.

Amsterdam also wants to close half of the 76 cannabis shops in the city centre.

“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” deputy mayor of Amsterdam Lodewijk Asscher told Reuters.

“We can still have sex and drugs but in a way that shows the city is in control.”

Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000 and its soft drug policy, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows the sale of marijuana and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

But Amsterdam’s toughening line is part of a wider trend in Holland.

Two Dutch cities near the Belgian border want to close all their cannabis shops to combat drug tourism and crime.

The 800-year-old red light district needs to diversify and showcase the city’s history, Mr Asscher said.

“This is a nice, old part of town. We can attract different groups of tourists. You should be able to have a beer at the old church square, watch fashion, and visit Chinatown,” he added.

The Family Research Council explains how permissive drug policies don’t actually work as advertised anywhere they’ve been tried.

Excerpt:

Legalizers believe most black market and organized syndicate involvement in the drug business would die and that drug-induced crime would decrease with drug legalization. But these assertions are not supported by the facts. The United States experimented with legalization and it failed. From 1919 to 1922, government-sponsored clinics handed out free drugs to addicts in hopes of controlling their behavior. The effort failed. Society’s revulsion against drugs, combined with enforcement, successfully eradicated the menace at that time.[32]

California decriminalized marijuana in 1976, and, within the first six months, arrests for driving under the influence of drugs rose 46 percent for adults and 71.4 percent for juveniles.[33] Decriminalizing marijuana in Alaska and Oregon in the 1970s resulted in the doubling of use.[34] Patrick Murphy, a court-appointed lawyer for 31,000 abused and neglected children in Chicago, says that more than 80 percent of the cases of physical and sexual abuse of children now involve drugs. There is no evidence that legalizing drugs will reduce these crimes, and there is evidence that suggests it would worsen the problem.[35]

Legalization would decrease drug distribution crime because most of those activities would become lawful. But would legalization necessarily reduce other drug-related crime like robbery, rape, and assault? Presumably legalization would reduce the cost of drugs and thus addicts might commit fewer crimes to pay for their habits. But less expensive drugs might also feed their habit better, and more drugs means more side effects like paranoia, irritability and violence. Suggestions that crime can somehow be eliminated by redefining it are spurious. Free drugs or legalizing bad drugs would not make criminal addicts into productive citizens. Dr. Mitchell S. Rosenthal, expert on drugs and adolescents and president of Phoenix House, a resident treatment center in New York, said, “If you give somebody free drugs you don’t turn him into a responsible employee, husband, or father.”[36] The Justice Department reports that most inmates (77.4 percent male and 83.6 percent female) have a drug history and the majority were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their current offense. And a surprisingly large number of convicted felons admit their crime motive was to get money for drugs. For example, 12 percent of all violent offenses and 24.4 percent of all property offenses were drug-money motivated.[37]

[…]The extent to which individuals commit “drug-related crimes only” is overstated. Most incarcerated “drug”offenders violated other laws as well. Princeton University professor John Dilulio found that only 2 percent — i.e., 700 — of those in federal prisons were convicted of pure drug possession. They generally committed other and violent crimes to earn a sentence.[40]

However, 70 percent of current inmates were on illegal drugs when arrested and, if drugs become cheaper, violent crime could reasonably be expected to increase.[41]

How well did permissive drug laws work in other countries?

History provides evidence that legalization of drugs in foreign nations has not been successful. For example, opium was legalized in China earlier this century. That decision resulted in 90 million addicts and it took a half-century to repair the damage.[59]

Egypt allowed unrestricted trade of cocaine and heroin in the 1920s. An epidemic of addiction resulted. Even in Iran and Thailand, countries where drugs are readily available, the prevalence of addiction continues to soar.[60]

Modern-day Netherlands is often cited as a country which has successfully legalized drugs. Marijuana is sold over the counter and police seldom arrest cocaine and heroin users. But official tolerance has led to significant increases in addiction. Amsterdam’s officials blame the significant rise in crime on the liberal drug policy. The city’s 7,000 addicts are blamed for 80 percent of all property crime and Amsterdam’s rate of burglary is now twice that of Newark, New Jersey.[61] Drug problems have forced the city to increase the size of the police force and the city fathers are now rethinking the drug policy.[62]

Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent.[63]

Sweden legalized doctor prescriptions of amphetamines in 1965. During the first year of legalization, the number of intravenous”speed” addicts rose 88.5 percent. A study of men arrested during the legalization period showed a high correlation between intravenous use and a variety of crimes.[64]

Dr. Nils Bejorot, director of the Swedish Carnegie Institute and professor of social medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, believes the solution to the growing drug problem is consistent social and legal harassment of both users and dealers.[65]

Great Britain experimented with controlled distribution of heroin between 1959 and 1968. According to the British Medical Journal, the number of heroin addicts doubled every sixteen months and the increase in addicts was accompanied by an increase in criminal activity as well.[66] And British authorities found that heroin addicts have a very good chance of dying prematurely. On the crime front, Scotland Yard had to increase its narcotics squad 100 percent to combat the crime caused by the “legal” addicts.[67]

The Swiss opened a “legalized drug” area in Zurich seven years ago and local addicts were given drugs, clean needles, and emergency medical care. Unfortunately, the liberal policy backfired and the number of addicts surged to 3,500; violence surged, too. “Needle Park,” as it came to be known, was a place of open warfare among rival gangs, and even police faced gunfire. Their cars were attacked and overturned. In February 1995, officials ended the experiment, conceding that it had evolved into a grotesque spectacle.[68]

Why does legalizing drugs increase crime? Because drugs are addictive and they cost money to obtain. Addiction reduces the ability to hold down a job, which is a legal way of getting money. Therefore, addicts will resort to crime in order to get the money to buy their drugs, since their addiction impairs their ability to hold down a job.