Obama's 2011 National Drug Policy Unveiled: Hype v. Reality

On Saturday, I wrote about the Obama Administration's new Southwest Border Drug Control Policy. Here is the 2011 National Drug Control Policy. The Administration wants us to believe it is focused on prevention and treatment. And Sections 1-4 of the Action List do address treatment and prevention. The devil is in the details.

Obama has no intention of reducing the crack/powder disparity further than the 18:1 ratio passed by Congress. Or reducing any other mandatory minimums for drug crimes. Or reducing any current federal drug penalties. Under the action section, "4.2.D. Foster Equitable Drug Sentencing", in red letters, is the word "Complete." [More...]

Some assorted action items:

  • Zero tolerance for driving with a controlled substance in your system:
    Fifteen states have passed laws clarifying that the presence of any illegal drug in a driver's body is per se evidence of impaired driving. ONDCP will work to expand the use of this standard to other states and explore other ways to increase the enforcement of existing DUID laws.
  • Allow probation officers (without a judicial hearing or order) to send a probationer to jail for failing a drug test.
    NIJ recently funded an evaluation of the Delaware Department of Correction's new "Decide Your Time" program, which is also based on these principles. Potentially, similar results may also be accomplished administratively if probation and parole agencies were given limited authority to impose brief sanctions such as short stints of incarceration. These initiatives have the potential to sharply reduce drug use, crime, and probation revocation, in addition to being able to distinguish those who truly need drug treatment from those who can be induced to stop their drug-taking through other means. (my emphasis)
  • Make pseudoephedrine (whose sales are now monitored) a prescription drug again like it was in 1976.
  • Treat cash the same as illegal drugs.
    Bulk seizures of currency, regardless of who makes the seizure or where it is made, should be treated, to the extent allowable by law, as drugs or other contraband are treated.
  • More snooping into your mail and packages:
    There is little doubt that a significant amount of illegal drugs moves through our public and private mail systems. This is a particular problem with prescription drugs, which are easily mixed in with large-scale legitimate mailings. Considering the huge volume of packages, domestic and international, that are transited throughout the 50 States, this threat poses a difficult challenge and overwhelms the limited manpower now focused on examining these packages. Nonetheless, new technologies combined with investigatory efforts hold promise to curtail this problem.

Is a plan in the works to take kids away from parents who use drugs? Smoke a joint, lose your kids? Sounds like it's in the nascent phase of development, with the "Establish Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children " section.

  • Expand our global efforts -- all around the world
  • Increased use of military in war on drugs:
    The Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS), a DOD component of U.S. Southern Command, coordinates and directs detection and monitoring of all illicit drug-trafficking activities in the Transit Zone. Bringing together partners from the military, law enforcement, and intelligence communities, along with our international allies, JIATFS has contributed to impressive interdiction results and disruptions of trafficking organizations by United States law enforcement agencies and our international partners, allowing us to "work smarter." This has largely been accomplished through the consistent employment of Maritime Bilateral Counter-Drug Agreements and Operational Procedures, improvements in the exchange of information among our partners, better detection technology, development of more and better actionable intelligence, and improvements in the ability of transit zone partner countries to conduct interdiction endgame operations on their own
  • Work towards drug tests for all arrestees, even those not arrested for drug crimes. "Individuals who are arrested and/or convicted of crimes demonstrate substantially higher rates of drug use-especially chronic or hardcore use-than the general population."
  • Determine new ways to find out who is using drugs via a "Community Early Warning and Monitoring System." Will this involve our health insurance companies demanding information from us and providing it to the feds?

How much are we spending on this drug policy? $26.2 billion. (Full budget here.)

There's $15.5 billion for enforcement,

Over $9.5 billion in FY 2012 Federal resources are requested to support domestic law enforcement efforts, an increase of $314.6 million over the FY 2010 enacted level.

...The Federal budget for interdiction totals $3.9 billion in FY 2012, for an increase of $243 million over the FY 2010 enacted level.

...The FY 2012 Budget requests over $2.1 billion to provide international support, a decrease of $456.6 million from the FY 2010 enacted level.

On prevention and treatment: $10.6 billion

$1.7 billion support education and outreach programs aimed at preventing the initiation of drug use, a nearly 8 percent increase ($123.0 million) over the FY 2010 enacted level.

...The FY 2012 Budget proposes $8.9 billion in Federal funds for early intervention and treatment services for substance abusers, an increase over one percent ($98.7 million) over the FY 2010 funding level.

This is just the National Drug Control budget. It is different (and in addition to) the budgets for law enforcement (DEA, DOD, DOJ, Meridia, etc.) in fighting the global war on drugs.

Still to come: The Northern Border Drug Control Strategy.

It is mind-boggling that Congress and our President are considering raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67 and cutting social security benefits, while continuing to authorize so many billions on the war on drugs. Most offensive to me economically is the amount being spent on the global efforts that have nothing to do with the U.S., like the millions spent on preventing drugs from being shipped from South America to Africa with a final destination of Europe, not the U.S. And the millions spent on training law enforcement in other countries to do it like we do it, wiretaps and all. Somebody needs to rein in this spending.

As Drug War Rant says:

Only in government can you point to a massive financial black hole that you’ve caused and use it for justification for a budget to do more of the same.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Sigh (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 01:28:48 PM EST
    What an empty vessel this guy has turned out to be.  Might as well title this post "Obama: hype vs. reality"

    I remember (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:21:39 PM EST
    during one of Obama's first sort of conference in which he took questions from the people - he was confronted with the fact that a majority favored the legalization of pot.

    He was quite condescending and disparaging - mocking those in favor of legalization inferring they were a bunch of stoners and pot-heads.

    I wonder how he would have fared if he has mocked those who choose to unwind with a martini or a whisky and soda.

    How could we forget... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:25:19 PM EST
    when our pres. displayed his hopelessly limited vocabulary that does not include "legalization"...or freedom, liberty, inalienable rights and assorted stuff those with a more imaginative and advanced vocabularies hold dear.

    Smoke a doobie... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:23:42 PM EST
    lose your kids is particularly heinous to even think about, much less consider.  For shame, even for this shame-riddled prohibition business.

    Good news is the safety net must be safe if we got the cashish to piss away in this shameful manner.  Wha? Our government is that wicked?

    I heard that (none / 0) (#5)
    by lentinel on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:27:57 PM EST
    the space shuttle program was ended in part because it cost about 4 billion dollars a year.

    That is about a week and a half of the wars of choice in which we are engaged.

    That is about one quarter of the amount the government is willing to spend for drug enforcement in one year.

    "Enforcement" - what a joke.
    I am continuously reminded of the feds breaking into warehouses in the '20s, shooting people engaged in brewing beer.

    Drug tests for all arrestees???? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:31:37 PM EST
    You gotta be kidding me. What's the expense for that? What's the plan, everybody pees in a cup at the booking window? (oops, sorry officer, bad aim). I have to agree with commenters from the budget thread. This guy (Obama) does not deserve the support of liberals and/or progressives. This guy is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    Are you ready to declare yourself 2L4O? (none / 0) (#7)
    by vastleft on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:31:57 PM EST

    Much of the left blogosphere is in the shallow end of supporting Obama's renomination and re-election.

    But the shallow end is still the supporting end.

    Who in the left blogosphere will say "no more"? Who will get out of the pool and stay out?

    There are a few of us who never (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:43:17 PM EST
    got on the Obama bandwagon to begin with.

    I don't support politicians who put SS on the table. Since the election, all safety net programs have been put on the table to keep SS company. No reason to get on the bandwagon now.  


    As an actual liberal (none / 0) (#9)
    by vastleft on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:48:21 PM EST
    I was extremely reluctant to vote for Barack Reagan Obama, but I held my nose and must live with the shame of what I ended up supporting, including Obama's claim that the Executive Branch has the right to assassinate American citizens without a whiff of due process. Wish I'd voted for McKinney or wrote in "None of the Above."

    Civil liberties is also a biggie for me (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:04:50 PM EST
    His vote for the Bush protection act and telecom immunity also was one of the deciding factors.

    I don't know if I'm too lefty... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 02:56:03 PM EST
    but I have too much self-respect to vote for people who want to chain me up, force me to pee in cups, and possibly threaten to take my kids away (if I had kids).

    I'm too sane and reasonable for O, leaving politics aside and focusing on basic inalienable creator-endowed natural human rights.


    One of the major frustrations of the Age of Obama (none / 0) (#12)
    by vastleft on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:12:43 PM EST
    Is that committing to the most minimal left/liberal stands condemns one to be routinely characterized as the "looney left."

    For example, disapproving of the President's bombing, via robot planes, of six countries is the mark of outrageous fringe radicalism.

    Implicit in the "Too Left / Too Liberal for Obama" thing is the irony that you don't have to be very lefty or liberal at all to be 2L4O. You just have to value policy more than tribe.


    Definitely not (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 05:38:39 PM EST
    Republicans are worse. Who's making the money from this merchandise you're selling?

    I don't even like the message. The onus should be on Obama. The message should not be that we are too liberal for Obama, which puts the onus on us, but that Obama is not a progressive or progressive enough for us. I'd also change the "us" to "me. I'd rather see a t-shirt that says "Obama is not progressive enough for me." If millions started wearing it, maybe he'd get the message and enough in our direction in time to lure us back.

    I'm not willing to do anything that will aid the Republicans in winning back the Presidency or the Senate, or keeping control of the House.

    Also, please take this topic to an open thread, and keep this to the new drug policy.


    Responses (none / 0) (#17)
    by vastleft on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:23:54 PM EST
    1. "Definitely not" sounds rather different from your position in the Social Security thread, where you threaten to "pink slip" Obama if he's willing to endorse something that, according to numerous insider reports, he has endorsed. Whether or not it comes to fruition at this juncture, if these reports are accurate, Obama has given his imprimatur to raising the age of Social Security eligibility as a (supposedly) legitimate fiscal-policy option.

    2. Perhaps some day I'll make some money off the T-shirts. A year-plus into selling the shirts, I'm running at break-even. I've been blogging for free since 2006, so I wouldn't mind doing better than break-even eventually, if that's OK with you, while popularizing a message I think is vital. Also, about a dozen blogs help sell the shirts, and they make a commission off the top, so the shirts are helping support the likes of Black Agenda Report, Corrente, and The Sideshow.

    3. If you want to print shirts that phrase a message of de-support for Obama in your preferred lingo, that would be great. I like the succinctness of "2L4O" as a conversation starter for the topic of one not having to be very left/liberal at all to be too left/liberal for Obama.

    4. I'm confused, though, about how to jibe your vision of millions wearing an "Obama is not progressive enough for me" shirt with "definitely not... Republicans are worse." Do you want people to wear shirts declaring that Obama is an unacceptably conservative choice while harboring a committed plan to vote for him, regardless of his actions, in 2012?

    Anyway, I'll desist discussing this topic in this thread per your wishes, though I'll continue to respond to any further direct questions or comments from you that you post here.

    Clarifying one point (none / 0) (#21)
    by lambert on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 08:27:45 AM EST
    Before signing off, one question of fact:

    Union workers make money on the shirts. The shirts are Union-made.

    Just saying.


    Obama Can go F Himself (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:26:43 PM EST
    Fifteen states have passed laws clarifying that the presence of any illegal drug in a driver's body is per se evidence of impaired driving. ONDCP will work to expand the use of this standard to other states and explore other ways to increase the enforcement of existing DUID laws.

    Well good thing work is sussidizing my Ritalin and the Valium to bring me back down to sleep, only costs me a fraction, my dealer is open 24/7 (with a drive through), and I can drive stooooopid silly and blame it on the man with MD.

    Am I the only one who thinks there was some sort of Face Off movie like switching of faces in regards to GWB & Obama.  Like the movie, I am confused as to who is the good guy, and who is the bad one.

    Junk science... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 03:38:28 PM EST
    as everybody in the know knows...you can smoke a doob on July 12th, not drive for 2 weeks, hop back behind the wheel on July 26th and get pinched for "impaired driving".

    Only a mental midget prohibitionist could come up with such a laughable legal definition of "impaired".


    Not True in Wisconsin (none / 0) (#15)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:04:49 PM EST
    The state has a legal definition, ppm for most substances, and this was back in my college days.  But I was pulled over over on suspicion of DUI, or DWI in WI at 8 am.  I puposly spent the night at a friends to avoid the non-sense.

    It's when the limit was 0.1.  Field test, .09, at the station with the machine that looks like a Frankenstein's contraption, complete with hoses and bubbling water, .08.

    Well the prick decides I need a blood test.  Later my attorney informs me a blood test is generally .02 higher.  Well that came in at .09, but I had so many ppm of other substances.  

    My attorney told me that although I was not legally impaired by either substance, the combination would make it an almost certainty of a conviction.  A couple months later in court, 2 weeks before I moved to WI, under advisement from my attorney, I plead guilty to DWI, they removed the the other substance from my record, and I got a license the day I got here.  

    Only cost me about $5k for an attorney (1998 dollars) and and $800 for the state, but did not lose my license and my record here is crystal clear.

    As mentioned above, there is a legal limit in WI as far as ppm for the most popular recreational drugs, or at least the ones in your blood stream.  I suspect that is true for a lot of states, and I know it's true for employment drug tests, took literally one every month in the service, and passed each and every one of them.

    PPM can be altered with massive quantities of H2O and a whole lot of luck.


    Ah the unjoys... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:45:34 PM EST
    of experiencing such matters. Never deewee'd, took a field sobriety test once, aced that puppy and yes sir no sir on my way.

    The "negative dilute" result can bite ya with too much H2O, and be referred to a hair test.  Hypothetically, of course:)



    The Funny Part (none / 0) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 10:26:50 AM EST
    Because I wasn't legally intoxicated, by the time they took me back to the station (from the hospital for blood work), they couldn't lock me up.

    So I had to wait in the waiting room for my GF to pick me up.  Who was not thrilled to get me, so she took an inordinate amount of time to get me, like 2 hours.  But she did look damn fine and had a cold one in the car with my name on it.

    All this before noon.


    I like your style Dude... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 10:51:49 AM EST
    you'd fit right in my circles.

    and i should vote (none / 0) (#18)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 06:42:18 PM EST
    for obama in 2012 because?

    with regards to the per se state legislation you note, this has far less to do with "road/driver safety" (the always popular reason for draconian laws that generally have nothing to do with either), than it does, as always, with the benjamins.

    by passing this legislation (scientific evidence notwithstanding), the state tries to relieve itself of the annoying burden of having to actually prove its case. it's just swept away with a gov's signature, saving the state ginormous amounts of cash. that the mandate of the US constitution isn't changed is irrelevant: how many people are going to take one of these cases to the USSC? very few, i dare say.

    so, cost savings and revenue enhancement (from penalties, fees, etc., a twofer siren call that few states can resist.

    The more I think about this... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 09:47:23 PM EST
    ...the more I come to believe Barack Obama is a truly despicable guy.  Because, and he knows this very well, he's simply too big a coward with too small a joint (pun intended) to speak the truth, which is this:

    OBAMA: I cannot even marginally push for MJ legalization, and I have to keep up this draconian act, because I have gotten on my knees time and time again to fellate Big Pharma.  And because I've gone down on them so much, because I am their chosen hooker, I can't do anything that would compete with their profits.

    I could understand that, though not respect it, but at least it would make sense.  His policy now is a disgraceful and inhumane one that is evidence of his cowardice, ignorance, disdain for the public.

    He becomes a bigger and bigger as*hole every day.