Obama's Drug Control Budget

Here's the White House statement outlining funds in the budget for the War on Drugs. Is there more prevention, alternative incarceration and re-entry funding? Yes. And we appreciate it.

But, it's still top-heavy on enforcement. While it says the DEA gets $24.8 million less this year, it points out that last year's amount included supplemental funding for the Southwest Border. So it probably isn't a decrease at all. And those African vacations keep on coming. Today the feds indicted 7 in Liberia and Romania as part of a reverse sting by DEA agents. (DEA agents posed as drug sellers.)

The men allegedly "agreed to receive and store multi-ton shipments of Taliban-owned heroin" and "sell multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to the Taliban," while the two Americans -- identified as Alwar Pouryan and Oded Orbach -- allegedly agreed to sell the missiles, the statement said.

The U.S. Attorney's press release is here. Once again, it sounds like the drugs weren't intended for the U.S., but needing jurisdiction, the DEA talked the men into sending some here, with the promise of huge profits. Why are we flying these men from Liberia and Romania to New York to prosecute them? The cost of the prosecution, defense and their incarceration if convicted will be huge. [More...]

This excuse is pretty lame:

"This alleged effort to arm and enrich the Taliban is the latest example of the dangers of an inter-connected world in which terrorists and drug runners can link up across continents to harm Americans," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said in the statement.

More on these expensive ventures, which apparently will still be funded in 2011, can be found here. As I wrote then:

How much of our money is the DEA spending on its African adventures? And how much are we spending to fly these sting targets from Africa to the U.S., hold them for a year or more in pre-trial detention, fund their defense, try them, incarcerate them for decades, and then fly them back when they are deported after their sentences?

Considering that except at the DEA's request, the (illusory) drugs are not going to the U.S., why is it even their business to intervene? Or to steer non-U.S. criminal activity into the U.S.?

Here's more on the funding of the increasingly global reach of the DEA.

Others not happy with the new drug war budget: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

Obama's federal drug control budget maintains a Bush-era disparity devoting nearly twice as many resources to punishment as it does for treatment and prevention, despite his saying less than three weeks ago that, “We have to think more about drugs as a public health problem," which requires "shifting resources."

I'm still willing to give some praise to Obama's new budget for starting the process of increased funding for prison alternatives, re-entry reform and for mentioning sentencing reform in the DOJ Budget.

The Budget provides $187 million in prisoner re-entry and jail diversion programs, including $100 million for the Second Chance Act programs and $57 million for drug, mental health, and other problem-solving courts.

....The Administration proposes $8.4 billion for the operations of the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee and the Bureau of Prisons, and will help stabilize the prison population by advancing evidence-based sentencing reform legislation. The Administration will continue to explore fiscally sound, data-driven administrative procedures to address population stress on the prison system such as expanded use of alternatives to incarceration, increased reliance on risk assessments, and diversion for non-violent offenders. In addition, drug treatment and prisoner re-entry programs will be expanded to enhance returning prisoners’ prospects for successful re-entry.

I'm looking forward to seeing the details on this. It has potential. Unfortunately, we will still be spending on new prisons:

Prison overcrowding also will be addressed through the activation of a newly constructed prison at Aliceville, Alabama, which will add more than 1,750 beds.

What policies should the Administration be moving toward? Here's Ethan Nadelman's latest at Alternet, The Disastrous War on Drugs Turns 40: 5 Ways to Stop the Madness.

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    Federal Grants to local drug task forces (none / 0) (#1)
    by kgoudy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 07:47:16 PM EST
    2-3 years ago the feds/DEA gave out quarter million grants to local drug enforcement to buy armored bearcat humvees to "interdict" in "drug dens". Is that insane or what?

    DEA could be retired and (none / 0) (#2)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:36:38 PM EST
    folded in to the FBI. The money available for 'task forces' could be better spent on  frikkin dogs.

    the problem is, money for drug task forces allows local money for 'bad check roundups,' and other humiliations of the poor.

    Gee, I just can't imagine why. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 07:34:52 AM EST

    "Why are we flying these men from Liberia and Romania to New York to prosecute them?"

    Why do YOU think "we" are, Jeralyn?

    Not for nothing.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 09:04:48 AM EST
    The President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Drug Control Budget requests $26.2 billion to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States.

    I don't see what business it is of the government to reduce our drug use...some of us feel we're using just the right amount, thank you.  

    Now reducing the government's chain & cage use...that would pay dividends, at a net savings.

    An increase in prevention and alternatives to chains and cages are good and all, but in the framework of a "war" with the stated goal of depriving us of inalienable rights?  It won't do much good...the whole framework and foundation must be rebuilt.

    Maybe because (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 10:45:53 AM EST
    personal drug use just doesn't affect people doing the drugs?

    The economic cost of drug abuse in the US was estimated at $180.9 billion in 2002, the last available estimate. This value represents both the use of resources to address health and crime consequences as well as the loss of potential productivity from disability, premature death, and withdrawal from the legitimate workforce.

    While you could argue some of those costs would go down in crime prevention, other costs would go up or remain the same.  $181 billion seems like it could be used for much better purposes than making up for lost productivity at work, the costs associated with early deaths, etc.

    Or this:

    In 2009, one in three drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes who were tested for drugs and the results known, tested positive for at least one medication or illicit drug.

    Or how about this?

    In 2008, an estimated 2 million visits to emergency departments in US hospitals were associated with drug misuse or abuse, including close to one million (993,379) visits involving an illicit drug. Nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals was involved in 971,914 visits.15 Cocaine was involved in 482,188 visits, marijuana was involved in 374,435 visits, heroin was involved in 200,666 visits, and stimulants (including amphetamines and methamphetamine) were involved in 91,939 visits.

    And to think we have a health care crisis in this country - who do you think is paying for this?  And this is not a problem that would be solved by legalization.

    And this:

    In 2009, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem (9.3 percent of persons in that age group). Of these, 7.1 million persons needed treatment for illicit drug problems, with or without alcohol.

    Again - who's paying for this?

    Or environmental issues:

    Coca and poppy cultivation in the Andean jungle is significantly damaging the environment in the region. The primary threats to the environment are deforestation caused by clearing the fields for cultivation, soil erosion, and chemical pollution from insecticides and fertilizers. Additionally, the lab process of converting coca and poppy into cocaine and heroin has adverse effects on the environment.

    So, see, while there may be some good arguments about personal freedom, your drug use doesn't just affect you. It affects your friends and family, it affects your employer, it affects society, it affects the environment.  That's why it's not a simple as saying "legalize everything!"


    The internet... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 11:04:00 AM EST
    has done more damage to "workplace productivity" than every drug known to mankind...shall we criminalize what we're doing right now?  How 'bout the NCAA tournament?  Honestly jb...this little convo is having more of an effect on my "productivity" than the many bingos I enjoyed last night.

    Not to mention, since when did "workplace productivity" trump individual liberty?  

    Would love to hear how I'm hurting my family, society, and the enviroment more so than any straight-edge counterpart.  My family likes me happy, so should society...and my car does more damage to the enviroment than every joint I'll ever smoke.


    No (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 12:19:19 PM EST
    But your employer exercises control over your internet use by a) offering it or b) having policies as to what you may and may not view while at work and while on their network.  (Trust me - my job is to review electronic documents in litigation cases - I get to see what people sent in their emails and what websites they've viewed - and depending on the content andif there is any information related to the particular case at hand, then some of these documents are getting handed over to [wait for it] the government)!)

    See, if "workplace productivity" is so bad and starts hurting the bottom line, an employer can choose to a) fire you, b) cut everyone's hours, c) not hire someone else who could use a job. That's just not about your extracirricular activity. (Also included if you get hurt at work or cause injury to someone else because you're high - well, that has a whole lotta other costs to people besides you.)

    You know - your rights only extend to the end of your nose - until they start intruding on my rights. Sorry pal - if someone is toking up and operating machinery and hurts me, it's much bigger than your "personal freedom".

    I'm not saying we shouldn't look at legalizing some of them in a small way, but just a blanket "legalize them all" is not really going to be the wonderful answer that some people think it is.  There will be other problems.


    You're really digging... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 12:29:11 PM EST
    to justify the caging of human souls, ya know that?  I'm talking a massive excavation project to rival Boston's Big Dig.

    My boss can fire me if he so chooses...for smoking on my off time or hanging on TL while doing my job...but he can't cage me for either, and neither should the big boss man.


    And yeah... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 12:39:49 PM EST
    everything comes with problems...freedom and/or tyranny...I'll take freedom's problems all day long.

    A way bigger problem than drug abuse right now is authority abuse...I mean have you peeped our embarassment of a prison population lately?  Huge problem.


    I'm not digging for anything (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 04:05:29 PM EST
    Your idea is that drug leaglization will be the greatest thing since sliced bread and will eliminate all kinds of problems and be great for society.

    I say bull.  It may solve or relieve some problems, but it will also open a whole host of other ones.


    I just don't see the creation... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 05:19:41 PM EST
    of any new problems that we already don't have today...irresponsible people, addiction, etc.

    Prohibition did not meet its desired goal in the slightest, a "Drug Free America" (lol)...time to scrap that failed experiment as we did with alcohol prohibition...unless you happen to think that experiment just needed more time, and we pulled the plug too soon....a "Drink Free America" was right around the corner.

    Besides, isn't the burden of proof on the prohibitionists here?  I thought individual liberty was our default position, and by design.


    From Richard Cowan (none / 0) (#30)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:46:25 AM EST

    One of the problems that the marijuana reform movement consistently faces is that everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.

    Click or Quote Me


    Thats the god damn truth... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:49:22 AM EST
    or as Keith Richards put it so succintly...

    I never had a problem with drugs.  Only with policemen.

    How Much Work Place Productivity.. (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:02:19 PM EST
    .. was increased with caffeine, cocaine, speed, or any amphetamine ?  Sales departments would cease to exist without a little chemical help.  Where's that factoid.

    How many people weren't hacked to pieces or gunned down because of weed or alcohol, which to many are necessary stress relievers.  Stat please.

    How much productivity is lost because of knee & hip replacements for the fatties, or because of the local smorgasbord with unlimited triglycerides and fructose ?

    I'll put the total cost of health care of drug abusers against food abusers any day of the week.  Yet unhealthy food is legal, hmmm...  But you said costs...  but you said lives...

    Been to a Wallgreens lately, lines of people who are somehow a lot sicker than when I was a kid, who's doing a factoid on those drug abusers and productivity, or do we not look in that direction because they are somehow different because the people peddling them are branded 'legal dealers'?  You even mentioned it, it's not illegal to drive under the influence of prescribed drugs, huh ?  I should say it is nearly impossible to convict a prescription med user of DUI.  Where's that factoid, or do we lump all drugs together for that stat, apparently so. How many were legal and how many weren't ?  The smart money is on legal drug users causing a lot more deadly accidents.

    There probably is not a function of normal life that can't be attributed to something bad, even expelling methane, are we to declare a war on beans ?

    Let's eradicate modern transportation, make the drinking age 65, ban fast food, and melt every single destructive thing ever made, from ships to knives.  Think of the lives saved, the dollars saved, think how happy we would all be.  

    Better yet, declare war on war and think of the money and lives, infinity, pretty sure more people have died and spent more money on war than drugs by a factor of a million.  Yet somehow wars are not only legal, they are never ending, only something like 8 years of recorded history has there been peace on the whole planet.  Many of which were won because of those pesky drugs.

    Religion... legal, how can that be, it's responsible for so much suffering, yet some people need it and I respect that, why can't others do the same and respect what others want and need ?  For the record, I don't do drugs, I don't even drink with any sort of regularity.

    When you look at all the stats, not just cherry picked non-sense, drugs are so low on the human suffering or lives or cost levels, they should easily make the cut of legalization, yet only the ones that benefit Corporate America get he thumbs up, odd coincidence wouldn't you say ?


    Actually (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 04:07:45 PM EST
    You too think drug legalization will solve all our problems.


    Again - I say bull.  The fact that people who want legalization can't even admit some of the major problems associated with legalization is proof enough that we aren't ready as a country to do it. It's kind of like a Sarah Palin argument - "Yeah - but look over there!"


    The Difference of Course is History Puts You... (none / 0) (#29)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:29:08 AM EST
    ... on the wrong side of the arguement.

    You can't make a point that wasn't made to keep alcohol illegal.  Once prohibition was repealed, all the black-market violence all but disappeared and instead of losing money chasing ghosts, it's now a significant revenue generator in most states.

    Of course there are problems with alcohol, I am not afraid to admit anything, there are problems, but we aren't spending massive resources and locking up bootleggers praying at some point Americans will lose their thirst for booze if we just break enough of them.  We haven't turned our southern neighbors into a war zones because of liquor, we aren't importing bootleggers from Africa over non-existent hooch and on and on.

    At this point, I can get just about anything I want delivered by the end of the workday, except the legal stuff.

    What is the ultimate goal, to reduce our appetites for drugs, to reduce the availability of drugs, to reduce the violence it is generating, what is the end goal and do you think we are getting closer or further from that goal ?

    You compare my views to Palin, but who is hell bent on continuing a program that by any metric is a colossal failure, facts be damned, your view is clearly more important that actual evidence.  Which is our current policies are not working, no matter how much you fund and/or tweak them.

    Is legalization the answer, who knows, but what I do know is the current draconian approach isn't working and it's eating up limited resources and costing a whole lot of suffering and death to a lot of innocent people.

    Behind life, there is no more basic right than free will, aka liberty, and decided how I treat my mind and body is not a place anyone should feel comfortable deciding.


    One More Note (none / 0) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:14:15 PM EST
    Funny how you mention injuring another party because of drug use.  Isn't it odd that you most likely get a pass if your sober, never mind that the circumstances could be identical...  I would find little solitude in know the guy who f-ed up and got my hand chopped off was sober.  I'd prefer he lose his job either way.

    Blaming the drugs, not the person, how sad.  Yet most blame the person and not the gun when some clown kills someone, and if there are drugs involved, the gun and person get a pass and those evil drugs shoulder the blame, always.

    Isn't it odd that the people who set drug policy tend to be the ones who have never done drugs.  Name another field in which policy is set by people who don't know a damn thing about their main objective/focus ?


    Well said, two times! (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:23:22 PM EST
    And it's not like we can't have a rule against driving a forklift or school bus high/drunk/recklessly in general.  Though my feeling is rules against reckelessness cover it all, adding certain intoxicants needlessly clouds the matter at hand....reckless behavior.

    Where Can You Drive a Forlift Drunk &... (none / 0) (#32)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:26:14 AM EST
    ... keep your job, pretty rare if you don't get tested before employment, and if the S hits the fan, you can pretty much count on being tested.  So those mechanisms are already in place, ditto for driving or flying or even acting like a fool in public.  Which is only frowned upon if your under the spell of drugs/alcohol.  Sober, you can act a fool just about anywhere.

    It makes so little sense... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:42:52 AM EST
    it will drive you crazy.

    Somebody could run a red light and broadside you...if you blow a .000001 over the limit and the idiot is stone-cold sober you're the guilty party. WTF?


    That Variable (none / 0) (#35)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 12:32:16 PM EST
    My homeland of Wisconsin you are assigned a percentage of fault, just being on the road is 10% I believe.  So if you pull out in front of someone with their blinker on, your fault and liability is never 100%.  

    But here is Texas, it's one or the other, and influence is not used in determining fault.  If you are dead drunk and get T-boned because someone ran a red light, you will get a DUI, but they will get the ticket and their insurance is liable.  If you are in wreck here, even if your whole family dies and you are paralyzed, they have to give you a ticket by law.


    Not sure where you get that about Texas (none / 0) (#36)
    by Rojas on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:39:06 PM EST
    Generally they don't give tickets unless they actually witness the accident.

    If you are in wreck here, even if your whole family dies and you are paralyzed, they have to give you a ticket by law.

    You have a cite? This has not been the case in the past. It's an impossible task.


    Proving the point (none / 0) (#27)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 08:12:56 PM EST
    That you don't have to scratch too deep.. ...

    And I'm not surprised that once you get through F**cking around..... "then some of these documents are getting handed over to [wait for it] the government)!)"

    Bottom line my *ss. Try it here.


    This blog pretty much shuts down (none / 0) (#28)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 08:16:54 PM EST
    When the posters are off the clock.
    Snow days... crickets

    Same could be said about many things (none / 0) (#8)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 11:01:42 AM EST

    Stupidity, greed, TV, sloth, ignorance, most right-wingers, junk food, Rx industry propaganda etc.

    Indeed... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 11:28:04 AM EST
    any number of personality traits can cause problems for the rest of us...I'd put greed on the top of the list, way above partying too much.  

    Simple partying in moderation wouldn't even make the list...yet it is criminalized.  You figure it out cuz I can't.


    Drug use (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 12:19:57 PM EST
    is not a "personality trait".

    Apples to oranges.


    Coulda fooled... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 12:34:32 PM EST
    my personality.

    Dont forget the conservative religious (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:24:49 PM EST
    facet of the drug war: our latter day Puritans and misery promulagating Inquisitors have a knee jerk aversion to the 'mysticism' involved in people taking their freedom and consciousness into thier own hands and leaving the father confessors, Big Pharm reps and ambitious prosecutors out in the cold.

    We should take a big fat slice of that drug war money and investigate what it is about American society that drives so many to drugs in the first place (while we medicate our kids at four times the rate they do in other developed nations). Maybe, just maybe it has something to do with this pathetically, narrow, inimaginative obsession we have with "workplace productivity" and Obama's "our ability to compete" mantra, among other things..


    jondee my man... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:32:40 PM EST
    good to see ya, I was gonna put out an APB if you didn't turn up soon.

    I like your study idea...America sure makes me wanna do drugs, why exactly is hard to finger...it's a complicated case Maude, lotta ins, lotta outs.


    a lotta strands to keep (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:41:04 PM EST
    in old duder's head..

    someimes it requires a strict drug and alchohol regimen to keep the mind lubricated..


    And yes... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 01:49:24 PM EST
    the last thing the preacher man or the government man or the corporation man wants us to be doing is looking within and reflecting in a new rented frame of mind...all eyes on us!

    They say smoking ganja "demotivates" you...may be true.  Or as a wise old friend once told me..."nah, it doesn't demotivate you, it just motivates you to do different things."


    Gov. doesn't want to reduce drug use (none / 0) (#7)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 10:48:44 AM EST

    Drug use is what drives a huge industry of special interests.  Police, lawyers, intelligence services,
    and many others depend on drug use by citizens who are defined as criminals -- but who are, in reality,
    merely enablers of the special interest groups listed above.


    This is true... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 11:05:16 AM EST
    first paragraph of the WH statement...a bold-faced lie.  Why read any further?

    "Pro-duc-tiv-ity, pro-duc-tiv-ity, (none / 0) (#34)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 11:46:28 AM EST
    whirr, click, buzz."

    As if you were a freakin' robot.

    With the rise of unions, the Owners were forced to stop treating their workers like the machines they toiled beside.

    But with the advent of the War on (Some) Drugs, the Owners got the upper hand again, returning to their de facto slavemaster roles by threatening your economic livelihood (and freedoms) courtesy of your choice of intoxicants.

    Make no mistake, the DrugWar is as much an element of class warfare as is the offshoring of jobs. Those who admonish us about our 'productivity' after working us like dogs already (the US worker is amongst the most productive in the world) could care less if we died of exhaustion beside those machines. While they benefit so very handsomely from our labors...handsomely enough to afford the cocaine snorted up their bazoos.

    Enough with this 'productivity' BS! That's the Owners talking, and parroting their nonsense clouds the issue of corporations infringing on civil rights and civil society under the faux rubric of 'public safety'.

    People aren't machines, and it's long past time they stopped allowing themselves to be treated as if they were. And ending the DrugWar would go a long way towards that.