Dope File: Dispatches from the drug war

By Joel Miller

Getting rooked

Apparently finding it difficult to nab violent drug offenders and
kingpin types, Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey is going after easier
prey. In an article published in September’s Chess Life magazine,
McCaffrey suggests that tournament chess players be “checked” for drugs.

“Research proves that mentoring youngsters and teaching them that
games like chess can build resilience in the face of illegal drug use
and other destructive temptations,” writes McCaffrey, citing the federal
Office of National Drug Control Policy and its drug-prevention program,
Chesschild. “Drug testing is as appropriate for chess players as for
shot-putters, or any competitors who use their heads as well as their

Of course. Most people who play the game of kings drop acid and
shoot junk — helps them with their game. Bishops can do a lot more
than diagonal on LSD.

“Just when I thought I’d heard it all from McCaffrey,” said Allen St.
Pierre of the

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
a little shocked by the notion. “What’s next from this overreaching drug czar? Drug testing for tiddlywinks players?”

“Policy recommendations like this … demonstrate a deep and disturbing pathology that goes well beyond opposing drug law reform efforts.”

Treat this!
Finding that incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein is burrowed into her U.S. Senate seat like a rabid badger under a tree stump, Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Campbell, is switching campaign gears, throwing all of his political eggs in the drug-law reform basket.

Rep. Campbell’s approach is two-pronged.

For starters, Campbell wants a cease-and-desist on prosecuting drug addicts and champions a California ballot measure that would drop junkies in rehab programs instead of jail to listen to hip-hop remixes of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Prong No. 2 is a bit sharper. “While shifting the emphasis to treatment,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle, “Campbell said the war on drug dealers should escalate, and include the death penalty for anyone who sells heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines to children under 12, even if the child does not die from the drugs.” Yikes.

Deal with stoners, stone the dealers.

“I’m a pragmatist,” says Campbell, widely recognized as the House GOP member whose cows graze furthest from home. “I look at a system now that is clearly broken, clearly a failure, and I’m prepared to try alternative routes to solving this problem.”

Alternatives, sure; like maybe ending the drug war — period. But, considering how thorough, judicious and thoughtful law enforcement has been about prosecuting the drug war thus far, I don’t even trust the government with treatment, let alone termination. Given his position about drug-war incompetence, you’d think Campbell would figure this out on his own.

Oh well, maybe he hasn’t thought through the ramifications. Maybe it’s just a campaign ploy. Or, maybe, somebody’s been slipping something into his brownies.

Bring out the big guns
In case you were wondering how much “war” there really is in the drug war, according to the Sept. 21 Washington Times, “Colombian police have resumed using .50-caliber machine guns in the war against drugs after problems encountered with the weapons were fixed last month.”

.50 -caliber machine guns?

Since most of us are firearm illiterate these days, let me just remind you that this is not the gun your aunt carries in her purse to ward off carjackers, muggers and overly fresh parking attendants. Rambo, you’ll recall, used something a little smaller at the end of “First Blood” to obliterate half a town. According to the Colombian officials, the guns work well for obliterating narcoterrorists too.

Doughboys or dopeboys?
In another case of the drug war meeting real war, U.S. military personnel are popping Ecstasy pills in greater numbers than ever before, according to a testing officer in the Pentagon’s Office of the Coordinator for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support. As Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough report in their

Sept. 22 WND column,
the officer claims use of the designer drug has “increased markedly.”

Results from 2,273,998 urine drug tests conducted by the Pentagon in fiscal year 1999 include:

  • Marijuana positives, 12,006
  • Cocaine positives, 2,839
  • Methamphetamine positives, 807
  • Ecstasy positives, 432
  • LSD positives, 325

Despite the fact that grunts and officers caught powdery-white-handed are either discharged or reassigned to Stony Lonesome, some military personnel can’t keep their hands off the hash.

The military is one of the most tightly regulated social environments in the entire U.S. — and drug use is still uncontrollable. So what on earth, sensible people might wonder, makes the drug warriors think that they can control dope in the rest of society if they can’t even control it in the military, of all places?

If you want to talk pipe dreams, this would be a great place to start.

Related items:

Legal concerns

“Digging out the dope fiends”

Why cops go too far to nab narc offenders

“The Lord giveth, the police taketh away”

Forget the Constitution — cops get seizure fever.

“Subtracting the 4th Amendment, part I”

Drug-courier profiles and the assault on the Bill of Rights.

“Subtracting the 4th Amendment, part II”

Police search-and-seizure tactics endanger American liberty and ransack the Bill of Rights.

“The problem with drug raids”

No-knock raids violate the Fourth Amendment and endanger liberty.

“Yakkity yak, don’t talk smack”

A column about the drug war’s recent attacks on the First Amendment.

Religious concerns

“Blaming drugs, or people?”

Is the drug problem cause by inanimate objects like a line of coke — or the sin in our hearts?

“Drug policy and my pal, Cal”

Taking conservative columnist Cal Thomas to task for hypocritical drug stance.

“One toke over the line, sweet Jesus?”

What does the Bible say Christians should think about drugs? This column attempts an answer — and it isn’t death-by-stoning.

“Witch way on drugs?”

The follow-up column to “One toke over the line, sweet Jesus?” exploring the drug-witchcraft connection.

Other concerns

“Politicians and media hype drug fears”

Why polls and the papers blow dope out of proportion.

“Fat for thought”

We’ve got a war on drugs, why not fatty foods?