The war on drugs has been a sustained attack for quite a while now. For nearly 35 years, fearmongering mouthpieces of misinformation have been distorting logic and shoving draconian laws through Congress.
Nixon gave birth to the whole thing in 1969, shortly after he was inaugurated. 1970 saw the inception of the Controlled Substances Act, which organized popular drugs of abuse and prescription into five "schedules" of differing severity, schedule one being the most severely controlled.

In 1973, Nixon distilled all of the various drug agencies into one potent organization, the DEA, whose job it is to enforce the CSA.

This is the group responsible for actually imprisoning terminally ill, bedridden patients for using marijuana which had been prescribed to them by their doctors. This is of course done for their own good, I imagine.

After all, we can't have doctors running around prescribing medicine left and right, trying to ease the suffering of dying people. They'd be much better off in prison, with all the rest of the criminals.

I've written before about the bizarre and indefensibly ignorant totalitarian drug policies in this country, and I'd intended to steer clear of this topic, at least for quite a while. But then I read about the latest twisted efforts of the prohibitionists, and decided that these issues need all the exposure they can get.

There have been at times surges in energy devoted to the drug war, sort of high tides in the witchhunt.

Nancy Reagan's ludicrous "Just say no" campaign begun in 1986 is the most memorable, complete with a heartfelt appeal to the nation's children on a very special episode of "Diff'rent Strokes."

Incidentally, Nancy herself was quite fond of Xanax in her days as First Lady, while Todd Bridges (Willis) wound up on trial for attempted murder after shooting a drug dealer and Dana Plato (Kimberly) died of a suicidal overdose. I mention this only because it seems demonstrative of the massive failure of the entire campaign.

But I seem to have gotten off track. As I said, there have been periodic surges in prohibitionist pressure. The latest effort however, dwarfs anything that came before it.

In an attempt to further extend the punishment of drug users, drug czar John Walters, with the backing of drug testing consultants (conflict of interest anyone?) has encouraged the states to enact what are referred to as "per se" DUID, or Driving Under the Influence of a Drug laws.

"Per Se" is in this case a fancy way of saying "zero tolerance." What happens with such laws is that it is assumed any detectable level of a controlled substance or a metabolite of such a substance is evidence of impairment.

On the surface, this doesn't seem all that bad. After all, nobody wants people rolling around in two ton death sleds high on anything. But the really scary thing is the wording and intent of such a law.

Under these laws, anyone who had smoked a joint two weeks ago could be arrested for DUID, because the metabolites of marijuana are notoriously long lasting, as anyone who's ever sweated the results of a urinalysis can attest.

That's right, under these laws, people who are indisputably sober can and will be classified as "under the influence," declared criminally unfit to drive and imprisoned.

Not a problem for you because you don't smoke weed?

Think again. Anyone who's eaten a poppy seed bagel will test positive for opiate abuse. Next time a cop suspects you of being a heroin addict behind the wheel of a car, just try peering over his monstrous mustache into his mirrored lenses and using the "it was just a bagel officer ... honest it was" line, and see how lucky you get.

And you can all be thankful alcohol is one of the chosen few drugs we have left. If it were to suddenly find itself in any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act, a couple sips of beer would be enough to get you arrested for DUID.

Undoubtedly, there are no people who will stick up for such a law, pointing out that driving high is unsafe. I agree, driving high is unsafe and anyone doing so should be dealt with harshly. Anyone who kills another person while driving impaired, on alcohol as well, should be charged with murder.

But the people arrested by this law need not even be impaired, and that is the problem. Lawmakers have finally crossed the final line. They have elected to warp and redefine the English language itself as they see fit -- and for political brownie points.

There is a certain agreed upon meaning assigned to each word in the language. There is little room for interpretation, to be sure. But impaired is impaired, end of story. Sober cannot ever be construed as "under the influence" despite what deranged fools like John Walsh want us to concede.

I'd like to remind Mr. Walsh that he is at present walking around with a miniscule but detectable amount of DMT in his body, and that DMT is one of the most potent hallucinogens known to man.

He is therefore in violation of the law every time he starts his car. If I ever see this man behind the wheel of anything, God help his sorry ass, because I fully intend to place him under citizen's arrest.

This may be dangerous ... drug fiends are vicious jerks and they fight like rabid dogs when cornered, but for the public good, I am willing to take that risk and bring this man to justice, using as much force as necessary and probably more.

I also will not be held responsible if his teeth happen to fall out. Drug people are known to have receding gumlines, you know ... from toxins and stuff, poor bastards.

To further confuse matters, there are bizarre exemptions to these laws. For example, a person is not considered to be guilty of DUID if they are on prescription drugs.

This must mean that in the dangerous minds of people like Walsh, prescription drugs do not exert anything that qualifies as "influence" over the patient. This sort of thing is reserved for illegal drugs. Prescribed Oxycontin it would seem, does nothing to a person's ability to drive, while a pot brownie last week is grounds for arrest.

To top it all off, Congress knows this crap will never fly if they don't force it on the states. To this end they have proposed H.R. 3907, which would actually strip federal highway funding from states that don't adopt "per se" DUID laws.

I encourage all of you to do what you can to stop this baseless nonsense. Write to your representatives and insist that they vote against H.R. 3907 and H.R. 3922


Source: Daily Barometer (OR Edu)
Author: Jim Smith
Published: April 8, 2004
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Barometer
Website: http://barometer.orst.edu/
Contact: baro.news@studentmedia.orst.edu