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The War on Drugz

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, September 25th, 2018 - 68 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, us politics - Tags:

So Donald Trump has declared round 13 of the war on drugs.  His administration has released this one page global call to action which is as indecipherable as it is short.  It does a lot of reaffirming of old commitments then has a few platitudinous statements about education, treatment and law enforcement cooperation.

For a guy who thinks that Philippine hard man Rodrigo Duterte whose forces regularly shoot suspected drug dealers the announcement is weird.

Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand will not be signing it.  From Radio New Zealand:

New Zealand will not be signing the United States’ document calling for global action on the war on drugs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Ms Ardern is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week, along with about 140 other world leaders.

US President Donald Trump is kicking off his week at the UN by holding an event to promote the US document called the Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem.

The document requires the countries which sign to develop national action plans to reduce the demand for illicit drugs, cut off supply at their borders and strengthen international cooperation.

US media are reporting that some countries will sign it, not because they agree with it but because they don’t want to antagonise Mr Trump.

But Ms Ardern said New Zealand would not be among them.

“No it’s not our intention to and there are a number of other countries who haven’t either.”

Ms Ardern said New Zealand had its own specific challenges around drug use, and it would prefer to take a health approach to the issue.

Guess how Simon Bridges replied?  In a similarly nuanced manner?  Nah just joking.

From Newshub:

Simon Bridges says National would be an ally in Donald Trump’s War on Drugs.

At least 124 countries have signed on to the President’s ‘Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem’, which Mr Trump is promoting at the UN this week, but New Zealand has said no.

The Opposition leader says he can’t understand why Jacinda Ardern won’t back the new drug war, calling it puzzling.

“Very strange. I really can’t work out why the Coalition Government wouldn’t sign up to this,” he told RadioLIVE.

“It’s American, yes, but it’s very much under the auspices of the United Nations.”

Mr Trump would require countries to develop national plans to cut demand for illegal drugs, stop supply at their borders and increase international cooperation.  The policy has a special emphasis on synthetic drugs.

The really stupid thing is that the announcement adds nothing new.  It is an attempt for Donald Trump to claim credit for things that are already happening.  And it really does minimise the health aspect of dealing with drug addiction.

Russell Brown has a typically nuanced and damning view of the announcement:

Trump’s announcement is especially weird coming from someone who is so anti International institutions and International law.

As said by Hannah Hetzer in Common Dreams:

But as Trump, speaking from the U.N. headquarters in New York City on Monday, called on other world leaders to follow his lead on drug policy, critics like Hannah Hetzer of the Drug Policy Alliance said they should do no such thing.

“President Trump is the last person who should be defining the global debate on drug policy,” she declared ahead of the event. “From his support of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war to his call for the death penalty for people who sell drugs, Trump has shown complete disdain for human rights and international law.”

Hetzer described Trump’s call to action as “a unilateral move” by the administration “that shows utter disregard for multilateralism and regular U.N. processes of negotiation and consensus.” Urging other governments to be “wary” of backing the president’s call, she concluded, “This is clearly an example of Trump attempting to wade into the international drug policy debate and create a splashy camera-ready opportunity, carefully orchestrated to create the appearance of support from dozens of other countries.”

What we need is an acknowledgment that the war on drugs has failed and that a health approach needs to be tried urgently.  What we will no doubt get is regurgitation of the tough on crime debate and a further attempt by the right to score political points whatever the consequences are.

68 comments on “The War on Drugz ”

  1. Michelle 1

    For nine years the gnats were in power they dismissed the united nations reports particularly when they were scathing of our government policies and how they treated our poor. Nek minute we have soimon endorsing them, hypocrite!

    • Gosman 1.1

      Do you think UN reports should be dismissed then?

      • bwaghorn 1.1.1

        Do you think?

      • arkie 1.1.2

        What do YOU think of this Nat party hypocrisy?

        What other tangental and diversionary questions can you ask without making your own point?

        • Gosman 1.1.2.1

          Just like ALL political parties they decide what international reports to accept and which to ignore. Now back to my original question.

          • arkie 1.1.2.1.1

            Nope.

            Why do YOU care what Michelle thinks when YOU think ALL parties can dismiss any reports they decide to?

            What in particular makes you worthy of a response? Why should anyone submit to your inquisition of irrelevancy? Why does shifting topics of discussion into pointless pedantry and semantics seem to drive you? Do you have an opinion on the ‘War on Drugs’? Do you support the expansion of hostilities against other abstract nouns?

            • left_forward 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Do you support the expansion of hostilities against other abstract nouns?
              brilliant arkie!

  2. Wayne 2

    I presume the PM’s is more about positioning than about drugs.
    As noted nothing substantive changes in the Trump statement. It is not as as if NZ actually has a health approach on importation and dealing in Class A drugs. The importers and dealers are prosecuted and get heavy sentences. NZ Police and Customs will still be working with US law enforcement agencies.
    The PM tends to make these positioning statements that don’t really affect substantive commitments.
    However she will have reinforced NZ’s reputation for an independent foreign policy at least in terms of image. Generally a good thing.
    Will there be any pushback from the US? With Trump who knows? Maybe, but also maybe not.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Agreed but the whole thing is a PR exercise. Having a PR response to them is perfectly appropriate.

      • tc 2.1.1

        Exactly with the cynical timing, mangled meaningless rhetoric and dissing of the established process/structure/body to match.

        Classic Donald…..look everyone over there, anywhere but me and what I did.

    • lprent 2.2

      Who really cares. To be disliked by the Trump administration seems to indicate that you are on the side of the angels.

      After all, you only have to look at whom he really praises to see the worst despotic arseholes on the planet.

  3. Brutus Iscariot 3

    It would be good to see this government actually taking some action about moving towards a health-focused drug regime.

  4. Bill 4

    War on Drugs + War on Terrorism ÷ War on Intelligence = Things Exactly as They Are Right Now.

  5. bwaghorn 5

    People want to get high on things other than alcohol !! Accept it and have cheapish safish drugs . Weed,mdma ,amphetamine and a mild opiate should cover it .
    Going cashless would help stop the local dealers as well .

  6. SaveNZ 6

    National’s decade ‘war on drugs’ did not work. Actually encouraged more serious drugs like Meth to flourish by making it easier to import in the raw ingredients and allow money laundering here which follows drugs, through ‘pretty legal’ means via Sky City and 0% tax havens for non residents.

    Also no questions asked by the hundreds of thousands of people who are coming and going from NZ with permanent residency, who appear to be criminals and don’t fill in any tax returns but still have permanent residency like these ones?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11842563

    In that instance, think how many people those criminals have addicted by importing in P ingredience to them???

    The government needed to urgently tighten up permanent residency and IRD target people who appear to be living beyond their zero incomes while driving Ferraris!

    If they aint on the IRD radar, but seem to be coming and going a lot with loads of cash, wonder why the surveillance state can’t seem to catch anyone for decades?

    (possibly because they are paying private companies to be spying on completely honest Kiwi’s who believe in animal rights.. or human rights.. and so therefore don’t have the manpower or funds to crack down on the Meth dealers and importers (sarcasm))

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      The government needed to urgently tighten up permanent residency

      We need to get rid of permanent residency. It’s a rather stupid idea to allow non-citizens power in a country especially when those people could be from a hostile country.

    • Obtrectator 6.2

      ” … possibly because they are paying private companies to be spying on completely honest Kiwi’s who believe in animal rights.. or human rights.. ”

      No “possibly” about it. Like the police, the IRD often finds it easier to come down hard on “soft” targets who aren’t actually doing a great deal of harm. Like those armies who’ve found it’s much more fun shooting their unarmed (mostly) fellow-citizens instead of real enemies who can fire back.

  7. One Two 7

    It’s a joke surely…cover for some other information…

    * Worlds largest ‘drug’ market
    * Military guarding poppy fields
    * Opiate ‘epidemic’
    * Pharmaceutical industry/lobby
    * Captured regulatory agencies

    • Stunned Mullet 7.1

      ….eh….

    • Cinny 7.2

      Cover for kavanaugh.

      • Macro 7.2.1

        If Trump thinks he can divert attention from the Kavanaugh hearing by scheduling a meeting with Rod Rosenstein that same day, he’s going to be sorely disappointed when he learns that women can multitask.

    • Liberal Realist 7.3

      Yep – gotta protect those ‘black’ revenue streams the CIA et al love so much.

      When are the general public going to click that the war on drugs has always been about militarising police, erosion of civil rights, funding for 3 letter US spooks, and protecting big pharma’s margins?

  8. SaveNZ 8

    If they want to stop drugs they also have to concentrate on the supply side. What drive people to take drugs?

    Firstly it can start from abuse in childhood, or If you have little security in your life.

    Currently life in NZ is structured around your work which is poorly paid and insecure even at the top end (Handley shows the lengths people are expected to go for for a job which eventually was pulled anyway while the employer can also just fire you within 90 days anyway). Too much power has been taken away, in every area, from work, housing (even if you have a house, value can be wiped out by neighbours with excessive development which is legally not allowed to be considered an effect under planning and RMA rules in NZ), or it could be leaky or substandard construction, again in NZ the consumer is responsible for the mistakes not the council or builder who can just delay and delay for years and avoid responsibility).. non paid work such as spending time with or looking after family is heavily penalised through our tax system and discouraged…

    Neoliberalism, Globalism and Rogernomics and high drug usage go hand and hand.

    • xanthe 8.1

      “Neoliberalism, Globalism and Rogernomics and high drug usage go hand and hand.”

      I suggest that
      Neoliberalism, Globalism, Rogernomics, the “War on drugs”, and high drug usage go hand and hand. would be more complete list

    • joe90 8.2

      The pursuit of better living through pills, potions and powders predates all of the above.

  9. Bill 9

    What we need is an acknowledgment that the war on drugs has failed and that a health approach needs to be tried urgently. What we will no doubt get is regurgitation of the tough on crime debate and a further attempt by the right to score political points whatever the consequences are.

    From the UK.

    The former lord chancellor Charles Falconer has apologised for his role in the war on drugs, as a group of leading politicians from across the world called for the legalisation and regulation of the drugs trade.

    The report alluded to isn’t quite available yet (I found a Spanish version).

    This article (that contains the Spanish link) highlights some of the thinking going on.

    I’m with Lord Falconer in challenging (as reported in The Guardian link above)” Jeremy Corbyn – “a radical Labour leader” – to commit to the legal regulation of drug production and supply in the next Labour manifesto.”

    Maybe someone could comment on the state of play on that front within NZ Labour?

    • tc 9.1

      Portugal’s approach deserves consideration. They decriminalised possession of less than 10 days supply over 15 years ago and surprise surprise the sky hasn’t fallen.

      Plenty of stats back up its positive impact with a key point being it liberates the state from policing to focus on health. The US spends 90% on policing.

      • Ngungukai 9.1.1

        Along with housing & feeding users and small time dealers ?

        Likewise the NZ Government needs to fulfill our jail occupancy rates with SERCO ?

        • tc 9.1.1.1

          Death by OD’s down 85%, their Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin, down from 100,000 when the policy began.

          There will always be users but if drug addiction is treated more as a medical challenge than as a criminal justice issue, as Portugal have done, the results are there to be seen.

          Them pesky facts again.

          • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.1

            Yep. Realising that religion type banning does not work and that something more subtle may is a good start …

  10. Ngungukai 10

    Let’s look at countries world wide where drug policy has worked and start from there ??

    NZ’ers are no different to other Nationalities in their appetite for drugs, have a look at Portugal and the Netherlands perhaps and the success of their drug policies ??

    NZ has very porous borders and we import legal & illicit products from a number of different countries.

    Also we have very weak law enforcement on serious drug crime as we appear to be chasing the low hanging fruit like users and petty drug dealers rather than catching the big fish and their supply sources.

    Illicit funds are easy to launder in NZ through property, casinos, banks, lawyers, trusts & financial institutions ref # NZ Panama Papers ??

    I don’t think the USA & the CIA are good examples to follow when it comes to drug policies ??

    • tc 10.1

      Yup see my commment above.

      Leadership from govt is required on this. Chatting to a Californian a few months back who couldn’t get his head around how conservative NZ actually is.

      Low hanging fruit alright such as busting cancer patients with a few personal medicinal plants that ease the pain isn’t winning any wars.

      • Ngungukai 10.1.1

        + 100% I still don’t get busting cancer patients, it is draconian and small mindedness, by uneducated authorities and PC politicans ?

        • tc 10.1.1.1

          It’s still illegal so they get dobbed in by the prudes and raided as that’s the law.

          Yet I see people all the time on phones in vehicles of all sizes driving past police who ignore the offence.

          So it seems to be a question of resourcing and prioritisation that needs sorting also as distracted driving costs lives yet seems to be going unenforced.

      • greywarshark 10.1.2

        Conservative NZ all right. Is that what people who are in a comatose state are called? We can’t make a decision on anything. Trump with a war against drugs? That’s been running for many decades to no avail except that it undermines integrity in the police and justice departments.

        If we concentrate on fighting drugs we can turn away from doing responsible soicl policy making and eventually it would probably see us all living on the streets and drinking gin in large amounts as in Hogarths drawings. We’ll give up all the dangerous drugs and drink spirits and alcohol and life will be good. /sarc

        Hogarth drew a woman with baby sprawled under this sign:
        Drunk for a penny,Dead drunk for twopence,Clean straw for nothing …
        https://wtlh.wordpress.com/…/drunk-for-a-pennydead-drunk-for-twopenceclean-straw…
        Nov 30, 2016 – Gin Lane and Beer Street were published by Hogarth almost … Drunk for a penny,Dead drunk for twopence,Clean straw for nothing. …

        Turning drugs into the epitome of evil opens avenues for corruption for those in authority as we see from the scam about traces of amph in NZ houses. All
        things in moderation, including cant against the ‘drug evil’.

        • greywarshark 10.1.2.1

          Looking further at the gin craze in the 18th century the authorities tightened up on quality, and it had to be sold at licensed premises. A law was passed in 1751 and that turned round what had been a very ugly scene causing degradation and many deaths in London. Things improved after that and then….tea was introduced and became the favourite tipple.
          https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/53jj7z/how-a-gin-craze-nearly-destroyed-18th-century-london

          By controlling the substance the authorities were able to limit its use and its potency. We have done that with cigarettes but have gone to the limit with pricing so that has induced corruption through crimes committed in trying to steal the expensive items.

    • Gabby 10.2

      Well if the importation and manufacture of illegal drugs were stamped out, a lot of ‘drug warriors’ would be out of work.

      • Ngungukai 10.2.1

        We need to go one way or the other ie Japan/Cuba or Portugal/Netherlands ?

        Sitting on the fence or the Slogan “War on Drugs?” doesn’t do anyone any good, we a need a clear coherrant policy with good health support services for those with mental health issues ?

    • Incognito 10.3

      The Netherlands did not sign Trump’s call to arms because there’s too much focus on Law and Order. But what do the Dutch know about problems with drug use …

      • greywarshark 10.3.1

        What do the Dutch know? Good question – they tried to control marijuana not ban it.

        • Incognito 10.3.1.1

          There was no question mark; it was rhetorical 😉

          There are plenty of other drugs available and used in the Netherlands, BTW; it’s not just the ‘grass clippings’.

  11. Booker 11

    I wonder if this Trump declaring continued support for the war on drugs has met the Trump who bemoaned the epidemic of opioid deaths on the campaign trail or who declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency when in office. Nothing like consistent policies!

  12. adam 12

    Gotta wonder if that will start with US soldiers no longer protecting Poppy fields in Afghanistan.

    The hypocrisy from the USA of late if it were not so scary, would make them a laughing stock.

  13. Ngungukai 13

    Don’t understand the Afghanistan thing however I am lead to believe 90% of the world’s medical grade opium comes from Afghanistan for legallised opoid production and 10% is sold illicitly on the open market ?

  14. AsleepWhileWalking 14

    The very concept of a “world drug problem” is stupid.

    I read an article recently about two Indian males who convinced snake charmers to get their snakes to bite their (the men’s) tongue. They couldn’t get high any other way anymore.

    It’s not like they can ban all the snakes in the world, or educate the practice out of existence with public announcements explaining that snake bites are dangerous.

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/107128627/men-get-high-from-snake-bites-on-tongue

  15. gsays 15

    Bill Hicks, the war on drugs is a war on personal freedom.

    Also from Hicks: “You never see a positive drug story on the news. They always have the same LSD story. You’ve all seen it: “Today a young man on acid … thought he could fly … jumped out of a building … what a tragedy!” What a dick. He’s an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off from the ground first? Check it out? You don’t see geese lined up to catch elevators to fly south; they fly from the fucking ground. He’s an idiot. He’s dead. Good! We lost a moron? Fucking celebrate. There’s one less moron in the world.

    Wouldn’t you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Just for once?

    “Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration – that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.”

  16. Chuck 16

    For users = health, and help hell even a regulated market for weed. For the gangs and source of the drugs = war.

    • In Vino 16.1

      Oh! Such elegance of expression! Such poetic cadence!
      Chuck is the new Shakespeare of the keyboard.

  17. Timeforacupoftea 17

    Adern is one Dopey Woman.

  18. David Mac 18

    People take drugs and drink to escape.

    A joint, slab of Cadburys, $20 through a pokie or church on Sundays never hurt anyone.

    We’re animals of habit. It’s only when we’re tooting on bongs every 4 hours, eating 3 blocks of Cadburys a day, feeding our wages through a pokie machine or praying at the chapel 3 times a day we have an issue.

    I see too much weed, scoffing, gambling or living only for Jesus in a similar light. Too much of one thing in our lives, crappy life balance. An addiction to any of it doesn’t need jail, it needs love.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      My idea is that we have to keep balance in mind when viewing our life and habits.
      Which should happen, a deliberate life is what we need to adopt, not a constant rush from necessitated control to pleasing ourselves, from work to the pub, or a party, or training for another marathon.

      And that is a good point about price of cigarettes going too high. Now it is like every other attempt at control, it is working on the Peter Principle,; we have gone as far as we can go with so many policies, and then keep on because we have reached a level of incompetence at dealing with the problem from that vantage point.

  19. David Mac 19

    Tailor-made cigarettes are about $1.20 each now. I wonder where the price point needs to get before it’s viable for a black market entrepreneur to import a dismantled cigarette manufacturing machine and sacks of ‘Chopped strawberry compost’.

    Booze cops a mega tax in Sweden. A Swedish pal had a chap with a ute call in on his rural place about once a fortnight. Under Jan’s ute tarp, plastic bottles like our 2 litre milk ones, home brewed clear schnapps.

    Humans will always be looking for an escape, what a disaster prohibition was in the States. Al Capone had much in common with the drug czars of today.

  20. David Mac 20

    Capone was jailed for tax evasion. Our authorities are collaring gangs with a similar device…”If you can’t show me how you accumulated the money for that freehold property Mr Mad-Dog, we’re taking it from you.”

  21. Muttonbird 21

    Here is an example of a journalist, Edward O’Driscoll (not Garner), doing the right thing in the body of the article, but the sub-editor or whatever you call them these days constructing a controversial subheadline. O’Driscoll dispassionately touches on a range of aspects to the issue, yet Mediaworks as an organisation manufactures the controversy in the subheadline and has a crack at the Prime Minister at the same time.

    At the time of writing this comment the subheadline on the NewShub website says, “The statistics come as Jacinda Ardern refuses to sign up for a new drug war”.

    I have quoted the subheadline because this is sure to change as the day wears on.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/09/methamphetamine-charges-hit-10-year-high.html

    Apologies to everyone for the link to tabloid shock-jock, Duncan Garner.

    • greywarshark 21.1

      Talking about changes, the conservativ e approach is to not want change from punitive measures, they enjoy looking down on the hoi polloi and aren’t interested in putting much money and time into habilitation.

      Also I earlier read Wayne on the PM and the drug war that Trump is fomenting and I thought I saw him quoting that 120 other nations have signed up so why won’t we. Then I read it again and there was no mention of my brainfart. But I think this would be how a conservative reacts – as Sir Humphrey in Yes Mianister says ‘Many things could be done, but we must be thoughtful about doing things for the first time.’

      We must remember that each one of us is a consumer of something that business wants to sell us to relieve us of the weight of our money. If it can be sold it is legitimate, and so are drugs, in that mindset. Having a war on them as in this scenario, makes them scarce and in economic terms scarcity makes the price go up. The dealers are special agents for the suppliers, and encourage people to seek them out, and bring friends along for a discount on their drug of preference, thus growing the money-pot. Good business, but must be kept under wraps of appearance of decency.

      Satirist Tom Lehrer croons a gentle lullaby about The Old Dope Peddler:
      (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puu4cYfohgs

  22. greywarshark 22

    I noted the news item about the jailbird put on long term detention. He is a gang member, he has been violent, and he attacked a prison warden and another prisoner/s.

    biscuits. When people have very little and have had to fight to get that, it makes perfect sense to protect your few possessions in the usual way. The Judge proncounces that he seems to show no willingness to give up violence.

    A different approach is needed than just throwing people in jail with other deprived and depraved individuals, andbeing pronounced upon by the Law which generally has everything its own way in life.

    Another Peters Principle failure to use our education and intelligence and stop doing the punishment and nothing else method which has been the style since Adam was a cow-boy (and that saying was first uttered).

  23. Timeforacupoftea 24

    In my opinion I think Gov’ts think of the tax they aren’t getting.

    This is a tad positive on LSD as I never saw anybody jumping off buildings but did hear of friends restraining an odd friend now and again. Naturally we’ve seen restraints put on people who drink from time to time to.

    Private confession not private any more.

    Bring back the 60’s 70’s and LSD, a little blotter filled in the night very nicely.
    Made up names like Uncle, spider, skirt, duck, legless, tart, looney, dot, jude, different colours all seemed to do the same thing.
    Most ladies could split a blotter but sometimes one half may only just seem to start then leave you wondering if it was or wasn’t all night.
    I don’t think it was very expensive at the time.
    The guy suppling it got 6.5 years in prison for his effort.
    Sometimes the nights did not seem to end.
    No trouble getting up in the morning, in fact the next day at work was sort of euphoric / impulsive.
    I only took it once every 3 weeks, sometimes you would get flashbacks in between doses usually when drinking, smell of cigarette smoke or flirting.

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