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Apr 22 2009

Spinster aunt trots out statistics from Internet to make point

How long has it been since you’ve had the pleasure of reading some opinionated spinster auntly pronouncements?

Well, that’s too long.

Today I have two things to say, and, as usual, I’m probably gonna use too many words to say’em. So, if you’re short on time, here’s the synopsis:

  • Anyone who uses the term “funbags” can kiss my entire flat ass.
  • The War on Drugs is stupid (statistics say so!).
  • 1. A link shows up in my Huffington Post feed entitled “Denise Richards Funbags.” It’s a video in which Denise Richards, a Beauty 2K-Compliant celebrity, says the words “my funbags” about 893 times. At the end there are little boys saying it, too, as well as a little girl who can’t wait to grow up and have funbags of her own.

    You know what kind of bag would be really fun? A bag full of obstrerperite, a synthetic programmable nanobot compound found on my home planet. You find the knob who made that asinine video and sprinkle this obstreperite into his latte. It bonds to his lobes and compels him to abandon his career as a misogynist video prick, whereupon he takes to standing on street corners, wearing a pencil skirt and a sign reading “I am a human stain. Kick me.” If you program it right, the obstreperite will also give him a permanent erection, making him a social outcast.

    2. The next link is “Tijuana: Body Found On Fire, Head Wrapped In Packing Tape”.

    !

    Another drug-related gangland-style execution. For the lovagod, legalize the fucking drugs, already!

    That goddam War on Drugs! One of my least favorite wars. Like all wars, it’s classist, racist, misogynist, anti-kid, violent, unnecessary, and absurd. But the drug war takes war-absurdity to the next level. For example, it is absurd to the point of insanity, this arbitrary prohibition of chemicals XYZ, based on nothing but uneducated emotional response and cultural conditioning. As you know, delicious, legal cigarettes kill two-and-a-half times more people every year than homicides, suicides, car crashes, liquor, firearms, all drugs (including regular old medical pharmaceuticals), and snakebites combined. Way, way, way more people croak because they like sitting on their butt with a plate of Twinkies than because they overdose on heroin. But neither social policy nor legislation calls for the incarceration in state prison of anyone who gets busted with high triglycerides. I’m not saying it should. I’m just saying this paternalistic “it’s bad for you, therefore it’s illegal” crap makes no sense. Marijuana never kills anybody.* [cite]

    It is also absurd to the point of insanity for a society to grant the state the power to wage a war against its own citizens. If the ruling class really were motivated by a moral imperative to preserve human life, you’d think they’d stop murdering their own supplicants with tobacco and Twinkies.

    “We love the human race, therefore we hereby voluntarily cease production of Marlboros and creme filling. But feel free to grow your own.”

    However, the ruling class is not motivated by its love for humanity. It appears more likely that the ruling class is motivated by a self-preservational imperative to create classes of, and maintain control over, the poor and the marginalized.

    Because what’s actually getting snuffed out in this “war”? Not drugs, that’s for fucking sure. Surprise. The real casualties are people. Specifically the oppressed classes. According to the HuffPo article, over 10,000 people died in Mexico’s drug war in 2006. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to surmise that few of them were rich white guys.

    These folks aver that the drug war is actually a war on education; it has created its own permanent underclass by siphoning youths out of society and into prison. Once kids are jailed for drug offenses, they don’t get educated and they have a prison record, turning them into untouchable outcasts. So back underground they go, doomed to lurk forever in the dank subumbra of America’s effed-up drug policy.

    According to Human Rights Watch, black men are incarcerated in state prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men. Human Rights Watch does not include anything about women in their “Key Findings at a Glance” chart — why should they, since women aren’t human — but I was able to ferret out of the Internet this statistic:

    At midyear 2007, the incarceration rate of black women held in custody (prison or jail) was 348 per 100,000 U.S. residents compared to 146 Hispanic women and 95 white women. With the exception of females ages 55 to 59, black women were held in custody at higher rates than Hispanic or white women across all age categories.

    And I don’t have to tell you what goes on in women’s prison. But I will.

    In 1997 a US Justice Department investigation of women’s prisons in Arizona concluded that the authorities failed to protect women from sexual misconduct by correctional officers and other staff. The misconduct included rape, sexual relationships, sexual touching and fondling, and “without good reason, frequent, prolonged, close-up and prurient viewing during dressing, showing and use of toilet facilities.” (CIV97-476, US District of Arizona). [cite]

    The War on Drugs wrecks lives, rapes women, orphans cute babies, and kills people. It’s gotta go. If you wanna eat Twinkies on the couch all day, I’m with you! If you wanna shoot smack on the couch all day, I’m with you!

    I propose instead a War on Rapists.

    ______________________
    * Quite the opposite. Back when I had the cancer, if you will excuse a brief excursion into my personal past, you woulda had to pry my one-hitter out of my cold dead hand.

    81 comments

    1. VibratingLiz

      Viva la Hamsterdam!

    2. kate

      “You know what kind of bag would be really fun? A bag full of obstrerperite, a synthetic programmable nanobot compound found on my home planet. You find the knob who made that asinine video and sprinkle this obstreperite into his latte. It bonds to his lobes and compels him to abandon his career as a misogynist video prick, whereupon he takes to standing on street corners, wearing a pencil skirt and a sign reading “I am a human stain. Kick me.” If you program it right, the obstreperite will also give him a permanent erection, making him a social outcast.”

      oh my dear lord have mercy – i think i just peed myself laughing

    3. B. Dagger Lee

      As a tax & spend kind of girl, I must add: And think of all the lovely tax money from each pack of marijuana cigs!

    4. Montag

      If you program it right, the obstreperite will also give him a permanent erection, making him a social outcast.

      it’s called priapism and you almost can’t spell it without pariah.

    5. another voice

      I will join you in the official war on rapists, although there’s an unofficial one already declared in my neck of the woods.

    6. Pulsar

      It never made sense to me why salvia is illegal and marijuana isn’t (at least in the U.S.), when salvia is a far more potent hallucinogen. My hypothesis as to why most other hallucinogens are illegal is that they expand the mind, leading to deeper awareness; a public that is aware is never an advantage to the government.

    7. Pulsar

      Er, why salvia is LEGAL. Excuse me.

    8. DancingGrapes

      “The War on Drugs wrecks lives, rapes women, orphans cute babies, and kills people. ”

      SERIOUSLY.

      “Since 1986 [when mandatory sentencing was imposed for drug related crimes], the rate of increase for African-American women has been 800%, compared to an increase of 400% for women of all races.” -ACLU (http://www.aclu.org/womensrights/violence/25899res20060612.html)

      Match that with the 2008 study Prevalence Patterns of Sexual Assault on Incarcerated Women.

    9. Jezebella

      I have heard that salvia is being criminalized, state by state, as we speak.

    10. Human Bean

      The War on Drugs terrifies me. I can’t read any news story about it these days without getting terrorized by tales of men raping, torturing and murdering women. Absolutely fucking terrifying.

    11. Pulsar

      Wow that’s disgusting. High fructose corn syrup is legal, so are partially hydrogenated oils and Sara Lee bread. But no, we need to protect people against mind-altering drugs! Heaven forbid someone smoke some salvia and have an intense conversation with a tree. How many people accidentally electrocute themselves? Should electric sockets be illegal?

    12. slythwolf

      It was, to my deep embarrassment, only relatively recently that I made the connection between my pro-women’s-ownership-of-own-goddamn-uteruses stance and the legalization of every illegal drug in existence. The government, I reason, has no business involving itself in what any citizen chooses to do with hir own personal body.

    13. nancyisdancing

      A good book to read is “Ain’t nobody’s business but your own” by Peter McWilliams. Also, do some research on this guy…he died in prison for growing medicinal pot. It is a book on consensal crimes or victimless crimes, i.e., prostitution, gambling, drugs, etc. Although “they” will try to say there is no such thing as “victimless” crimes. Also, there was an article in the newspaper a few years back that there is a rise in white woman now being jailed for drugs. It seems a shame for our nation to become a police state. It makes me so sad that i think i will just go smoke a big blunt and pull the covers over my head. Of course, that might be the reason America is in the state it is in….we are much to complacent or stoned. Great article!

    14. PatriarchySlayer

      That video is so incredibly useless to my life. I’m still not clear on the point of it. I’m also not clear on how women continue to respect themselves and their bodies when they’re making videos like this. I am shocked and disgusted. What will they have next?

    15. Stella

      Yeah, when *are* they gonna declare the War on Rape?

      (Tapping foot.)

    16. Anna Belle

      A war on rape makes 500 trillion times more sense than a war on drugs. I’ll enlist. Where do sign up?

    17. Jenn

      The prospect of a War on Rape really undermines my youthful commitment to pacifism. Just the prospect of raiding a John’s house on evidence of rape-for-pay (i.e. prostitution) and knocking him around a little bit would really make my year.

      Also, the male appreciation for Denise Richards makes the bile gather in the back of my throat. The more the woman acts like a perfectly submissive 13 year-old, the more they pant after the prospect of legal pedophilia.

    18. hero

      Slythwolf! How do I love you for using the Middle English “hir” as a gender neutral possessive pronoun! IBTP for getting rid of it in the long period of severe asshatery called the eighteenth century.

    19. Jezebella

      @nancyisdancing, I is one of those ‘they’ who would remind you that prostitution is not a victimless crime. Drug use is a whole other kettle of fish.

    20. Twisty

      Yeah, when *are* they gonna declare the War on Rape?

      Well, never. Rape is the backbone of women’s oppression, without which civilization as we know it would collapse.

    21. Twisty

      Just a reminder: Denise Richards is not the problem. The male appetite for female humiliation is the problem.

    22. Nepenthe

      Any food product for which they must misspell “cream” to avoid charges of false advertising is, on face, much more frightening than most illegal drugs.

    23. Tanya

      This post is so great, I wish I had written it myself. The War on Drugs has been a thorn in my ass since the first time I smoked pot myself. I couldn’t believe that such a benign substance was so thoroughly demonized while alcohol, a much more dangerous substance, is not only legal but socially acceptable. Every Friday after school, teachers engage in “choir practice” at the local pub. Yet if I were to want to host a gathering where we all indulge in a much safer drug (cannabis) I would be a criminal and social outcast. It’s all bullshit.

    24. rootlesscosmo

      dank subumbra

      The writing on this blog is always a treat. When better neologisms are coined, Twisty’ll coin ‘em!

    25. wisewebwoman

      I couldn’t watch the video all the way through. I felt ill.

      My favourite ingredient (listed as #1) on a top of the line hand lotion is “aqua”.

      It begs all sorts of questions.

      We tolerate this on an English language ingredient list?

      Peeps are so stupid they don’t know it’s water?

      Regulators turn a blind eye?

      But yeah, the war is on drugs. Scads of money to be made with an added bonus of the culling of non-whites.

    26. Lovepug

      I get the merits of legalization. But having been on the codependent end of way too many relationships and interactions with addicts (and that includes pot smokers), I have a hard time feeling entirely warm and fuzzy about legalization. Any legalization should not happen without communities taking a nice long walk in the truth about rampant addiction. Diverting some of that tax money to addiction treatment programs would be a nice start. I’m pretty sure no one every abandoned their kids or lied to their significant others or stole money from their parents or wrapped their car around a tree because of high fructose corn syrup.

    27. Astro

      “I’m pretty sure no one every abandoned their kids or lied to their significant others or stole money from their parents or wrapped their car around a tree because of high fructose corn syrup.”

      But this happens every day because of alcohol.

    28. Lovepug

      Yes, it certainly does. I’ve lived with enough alcoholics to know that.

      The insidious part of any addictive substance is not that it will kill the addict. Most addicts go on for years and years. In fact, there’s one meth addict I know who’s an evil shit who I really wish would die. The insidious part of addiction – BOTH DRUG AND ALCOHOL – is that is wreaks havoc on relationships. The people who take in in the shorts are not the addicts themselves, it is the people who are on the receiving end of addicts’ behavior.

      That alcohol is legal and other drugs are not, that pot has less effect on the body than alcohol is irrelevant to fact that addiction is a problem and will need to be addressed when illegal drugs are made legal.

    29. Emgee

      The powerful alcohol lobby is probably what’s impeding pot legalization.

    30. Kiki

      Addiction is not currently being addressed? I had no idea.

      I’m all for a War on Rapists. All sorts, including Environmental Rapists.

    31. Twisty

      Addiction is being addressed left right and sideways. Isn’t everyone you know in treatment? Everyone I know is. But the prevalence of addiction doesn’t mean junkies all oughta be in jail. That’s a huge, illogical leap. Addiction won’t stop being a problem until — that’s right — patriarchy stops driving people crazy.

    32. Lovepug

      “Addiction is not currently being addressed? I had no idea.”

      Not what I meant, and what was the point of saying something snide like that? Addiction is already not being addressed to nearly the level it needs to be currently. When fratboys no longer have to worry about getting jumped by gang members in order to get their meth, there will be a lot more addiction to treat.

      I’m trying to key in on the point that for people who have been traumatized and emotionally damaged by the behavior of addicts, drug legalization may not be perceived as quite the celebratory occasion as others may find it. I see why it may be necessary. I see why it makes sense. I just don’t see it as a big hooray.

    33. Catherine Martell

      Lovepug, I will certainly not dispute your point that addiction is damanging; but on what basis are you asserting that legalization would lead to more drug addiction?

    34. Caitlin

      Sign me up for a War on Rapists.

      Funbags? Fun for whom? My breasts are strapped in during flight to avoid injury (to ME). My real “funbag” is otherwise known as my backback o’ doom, which contains the whole Universe (Patriarchists excepted) and quite possible the kitchen sink. That’s fun, but it may be an OHSSA violation to carry more than one of those things.

      And the War on Drugs is ludicrous. Committing more and more atrocities years after it became obvious that the State had *not* backed the winning side sounds more like a revenge-driven temper tantrum to me.

    35. Gozzibopli

      Lovepug, when frat boys don’t have to worry about being jumped by gang members to get their meth, there very well may be more meth addiction among frat boys (and other middle/upper class folks like frat boys). Maybe then the folks with the money and the power (parents of frat boys?) will take note and start paying the appropriate attention to addiction treatment services. But as it is, the war on drugs is just a class war. IBTP. Because of the patriarchy, there’s only so much accountability any member of an oppressed class can personally take on, while ironically, personal accountability is an important part of recovery. Twisty said it: to effectively combat addiction, the patriarcy’s gotta “stop driving people crazy.”

    36. Jezebella

      “That alcohol is legal and other drugs are not, that pot has less effect on the body than alcohol is irrelevant to fact that addiction is a problem and will need to be addressed when illegal drugs are made legal.”

      Clearly criminalization of addictive substances has not prevented people from getting them, so why would you think legalizing them would increase addiction rates? Any evidence to support this contention?

      Right now, right here, in Buttcrack, Mississippi, it is easier to get meth, crack, oxycontin, or weed than it is to get a Bud Light after hours. If you’re under 21, it’s ALWAYS easier to get illegal drugs than beer. Legalization won’t make it easier to get the drugs, and it certainly won’t make them more addictive. It might even make it harder for kids to get their hands on ‘em.

      Addicts will find something to be addicted to, regardless of the law.

    37. slythwolf

      Addiction is devastating. But it’s not the government’s business to protect me from something I choose to do to myself. And it’s certainly not the government’s business to “protect” me by throwing me in jail and ruining what might have been left of my life.

      And any argument that pot is somehow more addictive than alcohol is ridiculous on its face. Try telling it to someone without two alcoholic grandparents and one alcoholic uncle.

    38. Cimorene

      I clean the house of a woman who has fibromyalgia. I have talked to her about getting acupuncture, which she’s been open to, but hasn’t tried. I tentatively brought up marijuana to her one day, and she told me that she’d be too scared to try it because it’s illegal. First she said that she couldn’t inhale any medicine. Then she said, “Well, I guess I did smoke for 20 years.” And that’s when she admitted that it was just because it was illegal. NY may be legalizing it medically soon–I hope so. She can’t eat, because she has no appetite and her pain meds, which are far more brain-killing than pot, made her woozy and nauseated. So then she has no energy to do anything, because she never eats. Which means she can neither enjoy the delicious world of Polish food anymore, and she also can’t go anywhere or do anything. And she desperately needs to lose weight, because right now she’s got too much pressure on her joints and losing weight would help the pain of her arthritis. But she can’t move! Because she has no energy! And her joints hurt! And besides that, everything hurts her! Her life is so fucking miserable right now. She literally sits down at all times. It’s so sad that she can’t really take pleasure in anything physical (except the smell of murphey’s oil soap, which she totally loves) because of her disease.

      I was thinking about slowly introducing the subject and then offering to buy her some pot. I don’t smoke (it makes me stupid) but I know enough people that I trust who do smoke that I’d be willing to get some for her. I’m wary, though. She is friends with my grandmother, and I’m a bit worried that acknowledging that I know people who smoke pot might give her the vapors or something. Hopefully it will get legalized soon here and her doctor will prescribe it, at which point I think she’d be willing to try it.

    39. yttik

      I despise meth, I live in a rural area and it’s our major economic contributor. Considering meth addicts are willing to have open sores, bald spots, liver failure, and sleep in the street, I’d have to say getting beaten up by gang bangers wouldn’t be much of a deterrent. Neither is prison, except my only argument for that is that sometimes being locked up for a few weeks and cleaned out prolongs their life. It’s heartbreaking.

      I’d like to end the drug war and legalize drugs, but we have to include a way of incarcerating those whose addiction is threatening their lives. I remember a few decades ago when we were all excited about the rights of the mentally ill and how no one should be involuntarily committed. Then we want and cut funding. There was some compassionate intent in there but what we have now is thousands of untreated mentally ill people on the streets.

    40. Citizen Jane

      Thanks, Cimorene, for bringing up another oppressed class who are hurting from the war on drugs – the sick. The cancer patients who they put on legal painkillers with all sorts of crippling side-effects when medical marijuana is much safer and in many cases more effective.

      And thank you, Twisty and commenters, for reassuring me that I am not the only person on the planet who is for drug legalization but not a drug user myself. Anytime I express my opinion on the subject, everyone gives me a knowing grin that says “Ah, so you’re a pothead.” It amazes me how everyone seems to think that is the only way I could hold such an opinion.

    41. Lindsey

      Medicinal use of cannabis is most likely what is preventing its legalisation – what would all the drug companies do if people realised they could grow their own treatments for free?

    42. martine

      Totally agree that the War of Drugs is all of the above (IBTP) but there is no way they should legalize heroin and meth. Parental neglect caused by drug abuse is something from which a child never recovers.
      Regarding marijuana, it’s changed big time! Most of it is hydroponic and very strong. There is research saying it causes all sorts of psychoses.

    43. Gonzo

      Fucking excellent
      !

      And never did an exclamation mark make me laugh so much!

    44. zelda1

      Meth, well, it does hurt people but I agree that people who use or sell drugs should not be jailed. All that money they spend on housing men and women and even teens should be used for treatment and good treatment for those addicted. As far as the video of the fun bags, well, I feel sorry for Richards. I would be willing to bet that making that video was not a delight for her.

    45. Stella

      Just checking in to see if the War on Rape has been declared yet.

      No?

      Huh. Ain’t that something.

    46. Jezebella

      The drug companies may be partially at fault, Lindsey, but the cowboy law enforcement dudes who get to buy new toys for their War on Drugs aren’t exactly helping. For example: the cops here in Buttcrack spend most of their time on the side of the highway looking for drugs traveling THROUGH and PAST our town instead of dealing with in-town crime.* When they bust someone, they put a picture of the haul on the front page of the paper, everybody hurrahs, and they get a new motorcycle or giant truck or fancy gun with the money they get selling the guns & cars they confiscate. It’s lucrative, the War on Drugs, for law enforcement and them what sells the cops their toys.

      *Well, to be fair, they also spend some of that time pulling people over for DWB (Driving While Black, or Brown).

    47. Casey

      The “great” thing about the war on drugs is that it keeps on creeping, meaning that more and more of us become suspects or even criminals by virtue of living our lives, even if we don’t use “controlled substances.” I have to produce ID and sign a waiver here in Texas if I want to buy sudafed or spray paint, and I recently found out that I am, as a homeschooling parent, in possession of what the state police now consider “controlled glassware.”

      That’s right. I bought an Erlenmeyer flask at Hobby Lobby (on the science toy aisle!) a few years back and now you’re supposed to have some kind of permit for them. I wonder if I’m grandfathered in, or if I need to wait for Erlenmeyer amnesty day and drop it off at the local police station.

    48. Twisty

      Culture is what ought to be criminalized. It’s the ultimate substance. It makes girls starve themselves or cut themselves with razor blades. Culture creates rapists. Culture has created the warrior class, trained killers who, when their youthful brainwashed vigor is used up, are sent home to go nuts. Culture makes men sell their daughters into wife-slavery. Culture invented Mr Right, marriage, racism, religion, and white liberal dudes. The brutality, the boredom, the claustrophobia, the mediocrity, the poverty, the ignorance, the injustice, the socially enforced impossibility of personal fulfillment, the total lack of philosophic substance that inheres to modern human existence is the cause of the suffering that people will do anything to relieve. Some people become triathletes. Some people have babies. Some people suck up to Dude Nation. Some people do drugs.

      I’ve have some fairly mondo first-hand experience with addiction and drug-related deaths. If criminalizing drugs worked, 8 or 10 of my peeps might still be alive. But criminalizing drugs doesn’t work, it only makes it worse, because meth and heroin aren’t the real problem. Culture is the real problem.

    49. phiogistic

      Regarding ending the war on drugs, Portugal decriminalized -all- drugs two years ago. The predicted collapse of civilization and junky-zombification of the populace has stubbornly refused to happen. Glenn Greenwald recently did a big presentation for the Cato institute about the situation in Portugal, see http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10080

    50. Twisty

      “controlled glassware.”

      Hilarious. Who knew Hobby Lobby was such a den of iniquity? Also confirms my assertion that the War on Drugs is insane.

    51. humanbein

      Outside of pot, which I would hope would be available in much milder forms than some I’ve had in the last decade, drugs are usually triggers for the kind of behavior our culture both encourages and suppresses.

      My thought was to decriminalize drugs and make them available only through doctors. If they were cheaper to get from a doctor, then the street trade would suffer a great deal; and if they came through doctors, it would dampen some of the teenaged thrill. Plus the possibility of treatment would be constant.

      Our culture has embraced addiction as a way of marketing and controlling us. Money can be made by selling cures – Ecstacy may have been a one-hit cure for real depression, for example – but the real money for our corrupt and evil culture is selling us addiction, like all the prozac-style medicines that aren’t nearly as good, but which need to be taken forever. The threat of legalization as I see it is the threat of marketing our addictions to us more effectively than ever before.

      Addiction to sex is one real root of misogyny, which also extends to addiction to titillation and the delusional feelings of entitlement that seem to increase every day. I’m all for decriminalizing drugs, but only after the war on rape is well under way.

    52. Montag

      @humanbein: Our culture has embraced addiction as a way of marketing and controlling us.

      While Twisty’s assertion that “Culture is the real problem,” is intriguing, i’m more convinced that marketing is the culprit. The kind of culture that might spontaneously arise within a group of people, say, sitting around on the porch singing songs and smoking pot, seems far less insidious than culture that does arise from the clear-headed imagination of a patriarcotically-entrenched advertising executives with product to move.

    53. TheLady

      Why worry about fluctuations in the number of “drug addicts”[1] when often the problem isn’t addiction itself, but the social and human costs of addiction?

      If you look at heroin, then there’s very little wrong with it that prolonged exposure can do you harm with. It doesn’t make people violent or corrode their internal organs like alcohol does, for example. Medical morphine isn’t that different to heroin, and carries few if any harmful side effects.

      The reason people die fro heroin is that the stuff they buy on the street is contaminated with everything from sand to rat poison, and diluted in unpredictable degrees (leading to accidental overdoses). The reason people commit crimes in search of their next hit is that the social exclusion they suffer as a result of their addiciton, and the constant contact they have with other criminals (users & dealers) leads them down that path.

      Legalise heroin, make it easily available and affordable in pharmacies, and you reduce both crime and mortality – without making any change to the number of “addicts” (which at this stage will probably have been re-labelled “customers”).

      (Not to mention the stable income you’ve just provided to half of Afghanistan – bye bye warlords! – but Twisty covered that)

      My point is that reducing the number of people using a particular substance shouldn’t be our touchstone for the success or failure of decriminalization. Once we eliminate the stigma of being a drug user, the criminality that goes with it etc., we reduce the misery of addiction to such an extent that the net effect – even if more people start using that substance, which is totally counter-indicated – will be positive.

    54. Pulsar

      Of course there should be more addiction treatment centers but these need to be drastically improved. I know of some fascist treatment centers that are far worse than jails and practice horrific methods of “therapy”.

    55. delagar

      The hell with Sudafed, we have to show ID to buy Alkaseltzer here in the great State of Arkansas.

      Alkaseltzer? I asked the clerk at the Target. WTF? What does the DEA think I’m going to do with Alkaseltzer in my meth lab? Seriously?

      She just shrugged.

    56. Jezebella

      TheLady, your model does not hold up if we look at, say, alcohol addiction. Alcohol is legal, and alcoholism isn’t just a cheerful walk in the park for the addict or hir family, not by a long shot, merely because alcohol is cheap and easily acquired. People die of alcohol abuse all the time. They wreck their families’ lives, steal to support their habits, and, horribly, even end up on reality shows with Dr. Drew if they were famous once.

      There is no reason to believe any other form of addiction will change if the drug’s status is changed. What would (or should) change is the nature of drug sales and marketing (from gangsters to pharmaco), the brutal and racist enforcement of drug laws and jail terms, and even perhaps some money would be freed up for developing better addiction treatment.

    57. nobodyinparticular

      There will always be addictions in the patriarchy. The degree of misery experienced day in and day out just having to be a lifelong member of it is enough to induce some kind of addiction in most people. If not drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, then money, TV, junk food, pulp fiction, porn, computer games, consumer electronics, one’s own thoughts, or simply beating one’s head against the wall.

      Regulation and attempted enforcement thereof, treatment centres, legal and/or illegal distributors etc. only add to the general congestion of the patriarchal forcefield.

      No point in chasing one’s own tail, eh?

    58. yttik

      “There is no reason to believe any other form of addiction will change if the drug’s status is changed”

      I do think that if you change the status of a drug and change the cultural views of it, you can change the addiction to it. Alcohol for instance was marketed to teen agers as forbidden, as a way of proving your manhood, being tough and praying to the porcelain god every morning. People would brag about how hammered they got. We’ve been changing that message and we’ve seen teen drinking drop.

      Meth is another one fueled by gender stereotypes, use this and you can be thin and have enough energy to clean house all night long.

    59. Jezebella

      yttik: Less teen drinking is desirable, yes, but I don’t think there’s any evidence that indicates that less teen drinking lowers addiction rates.

      I’m also not convinced that the myths about meth are targeted exclusively at women. Plenty of meth addicts are male.

    60. LisaB

      nobodyinparticular: don’t forget religion!

    61. yttik

      People who drink heavily at a young age are supposedly more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol, so the theory says heavy alcohol use by teens increases the number of alcoholics down the road.

      Meth was definitely marketed to women first, middle class housewives. The patriarchy left them looking for a way to be hyper thin and full of energy. And compulsively cleaning. It’s now spilled out into rural areas and of course men become addicted too, but I was attempting to show a brief example of how culture and attitudes about certain drugs definitely influence addiction.

    62. Glass Cleaner

      The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade amount to almost $150 billion, per year. I’d wager that it is much more profitable for the US to reinvest some of those profits into enforcing the state-monopoly on trafficking, and turning former “small business owners” over to the prison-industrial complex to do all the “classist, racist, misogynist, anti-kid, violent, unnecessary, and absurd” shit that it does.

    63. Jezebella

      Actually, no, it was amphetamines that were sold as diet drugs and continue to be prescribed to people with ADHD, for example. METHamphetamine has long been a trucker drug for long haul wakey-wakey. They are two different drugs, and methamphetamine is easier to cook at home, rarely if ever prescribed, & is stronger than plain–ol’-amphetamine.

      Here’s a quick breakdown: http://www.mentalfloss.com/difference/?p=50

    64. zooeyibz

      Socio-economics, that’s all it is. My home state of Oregon is meth central for one simple reason: the rural economy is fucked. People have nothing to do, limited access to education or entertainment, no light at the end of the tunnel so they get high. Can you blame them? Yeah, if you’re the asshats running the War on Drugs, because it’s easier to criminalise the most vulnerable members of your society than admit capitalism is a stinking fraud. When things get really bad you do what Oregon did and ban ephedrine (the essential ingredient for home-cookin’) and drive the meth business south of the border so it’s poor Mexicans who bear the brunt of the violence associated with controlling the means of production.

      Incidentally, it isn’t just the US. The Mexican drug cartels don’t want legalisation either ’cause that messes their cash flow. The violence is as much to spook the pols (on both sides of the border) as keep order in the ranks. Oh, and Mexican cops make minimum wage. Less than five bucks a day. Would you take a bullet for that?

    65. Spiders

      “My hypothesis as to why most other hallucinogens are illegal is that they expand the mind, leading to deeper awareness; a public that is aware is never an advantage to the government.”

      I agree, those in power prefer to sanction chemicals which impair thought, rather than enhance it. Makes it easier to keep us under the state thumb.

      yttk, I don’t know where you are but down here teenage drinking is increasing.

    66. TallyCola

      This was a great post. The war on drugs stuff hit the spot. Thanks Twisty.

      There has been a gigantic spike of gang shootings in my city this year (as well as related police violence ending in death), and it’s all over cocaine and crystal meth. Now crystal meth is a hell of a drug, but I think it’s just ridiculous and sad that the only way we can deal with it is to make it illegal and leave it to the black market. I just can’t accept that. There has to be another way – this way isn’t working.

      Like all wars, it’s classist, racist, misogynist, anti-kid, violent, unnecessary, and absurd.
      YES yes yes yes yes! It’s so refreshing to hear from someone who *gets* it.

    67. AntiLoquax

      Socioeconomics is definitely a factor, but don’t forget that rich people get plenty high too. They just get to do it a lot more safely. They get safer drugs, a chance at addiction treatment and less risk of imprisonment.

      Just because the poor suffer the overwhelming damage from the war on drugs doesn’t mean it’s a consequence of poverty. Like Twisty said, it’s a consequence of a culture. (Poverty is too.)

    68. lauredhel

      Cimorene: Has this woman with a disability specifically asked for your advice on her treatment routine?

      If not, perhaps she is attempting to politely deflect your attempts at interfering. I’ve had that exact conversation a billion times myself, especially when cornered. There’s a reason “cure-talkers” are specifically addressed in the Open Letter to Those Without CFS/Fibro.

      Perhaps you could think about _why_ you inextricably entwined “literally sitting down all the time” with “fucking miserable”, and maybe even about why she can’t go anywhere – does she have access to a mobility scooter? A power chair? Access to transport? Access to community services? Access to the medications she actually needs, instead of the ones the doctors think she won’t get hooked on or sell on the black market? If she doesn’t have access to all of these things (affordably and easily), why doesn’t she? Perhaps her problems with social exclusion don’t lie entirely within her own choices about treatment for her disability.

      Perhaps she has other issues she just doesn’t want to be forced into a discussion about with her employee/helper. Issues that are none of your business.

      And perhaps she doesn’t particularly want you to be talking on the intertubes about the ins and outs of her illness, her fatness, and her treatment. Even under cover of anonymity.

    69. Buffy

      I’ve always been of the opinion that you should legalize them all. Those folks that will use drugs as a form of slow suicide will do so legally or illegally anyhow.

      But, isn’t there some sort of argument that the #1 lobbyist of government officials, the pharmacutical companies, profit by keeping illegal drugs illegal. I’ve also heard the same argument about the timber industry vs. hemp. Though, I’ve done no actual research into either scenerio.

    70. ElizaN

      On Monday there was a 4/20 smoke-in here on the university campus in my small town. In the span of six weeks last winter, four women were attacked and raped as they walked down the street. You can guess which got all the police attention.

    71. Felicity

      ‘culture is the real problem.’

      Hear hear! The same conclusion I keep circling round to.

    72. Jenn

      This drug talk is intriguing.

      I take dexedrine (full name: Dextroamphetamine), and have been for seven years. I have severe adult AD(H)D, and it’s about the only thing that allows me to function in the highly linear intensive way that law school demands, as well as keep my life straight outside of class (On that note: to those willing to pretend ADD doesn’t exist, I hereby preemptively declare you a denier of disability, and invite you to have a delicious pie of shut the fuck up). As a side effect of the War on Drugs, dexedrine has been declared a “controlled substance”, and I have to drive 15 miles to the doctor every single month to pick up a prescription instead of having my pharmacy fax in a request. Obviously, for some with trouble doing tasks like that because of the ADD, I have trouble remembering and finding the time to pick it up. All of this trouble would be abated without this asinine War on Drugs!

      Additionally, as a side affect, it irritates my Crohn’s Disease. Besides very strong anti-inflammatories that make me woozy, guess what sooths the aching bowels? Of course, that miracle drug called pot. If that wasn’t enough, dexedrine causes depression. Since I already have chronic depression (thanks Mom for the lovely genes, digestive disorders and depression are awesome!), without a high dose of Zoloft I would like nothing better than to waste away in bed all week. But Zoloft has a side affect: it makes me fat and, again, irritates my Crohns. Know what makes me happy without the side affects? Low doses of ecstasy.

      So really, I could treat all the side affects from the medicine I actually need, without running all over town to get the medicine, if the War on Drugs just decided to belly up.

      And my relatives wonder why I’m committed to moving to another country after I finish my degree…

    73. Spiders

      “Socioeconomics is definitely a factor, but don’t forget that rich people get plenty high too. They just get to do it a lot more safely. They get safer drugs, a chance at addiction treatment and less risk of imprisonment.”
      That’s true. I’m pretty sure the penalties for using rich folks’ drugs like cocaine, are not as severe here as say for crack, or ice.

    74. Kuleana

      Huh. This has really made me think, Twisty. I’ve always been all for the legalization of weed and mushrooms, but I’d never considered or really supported legalizing hard drugs. But just last night my roommate asked me to help him take care of his friends’ cats for the night because their apartment building had been evacuated. The reason? Their upstairs neighbors had been running a meth lab, which of course had it blown up would’ve burned and killed a whole lot of people. It makes sense to think that if meth addicts could legally get meth, it would cut back drastically on the number of people running those sorts of incredibly dangerous operations in their own homes. Sure, it’s obviously not the best idea to be addicted to meth in the first place, but at least legalization would limit the circle of people who could be harmed by it, and then those people could seek help for their addiction rather than hiding it from doctors and others for fear of getting in trouble.

      And that’s another thing that I think is important — so many people who are addicted to drugs simply don’t seek help because they’re afraid of getting in trouble for it. Legalization could very well benefit addicts because then they wouldn’t be as afraid to seek out help. A sort of middle-of-the road approach is what Holland does (though of course many right-wingers think it’s way out in left field). It’s not illegal to use hard drugs, but it’s illegal to deal. Their thinking is that they don’t want people to use so-called hard drugs, but they understand that it’s also pointless to punish the users, as they’re victims as well, and they know that criminalization discourages people from seeking help. Of course, this approach doesn’t solve some of the scenarios Twisty described above, so it’s certainly not perfect.

    75. AileenWuornos

      Your summary of the war on drugs made my heart sing with delight.

    76. speedbudget

      Kuleana said:

      It’s not illegal to use hard drugs, but it’s illegal to deal.

      I’ve always wondered why we don’t do the opposite with prostitution. Why don’t we make it illegal to use or sell a prostitute, but legal to be one? Usually, these women are victims are just trying to survive the patriarchy…oh. I just figured it out.

      Damn.

    77. jael

      hey speedbudget – this model is in place in sweeden (since 99; crim code since 2005), and more recently in norway and iceland. good and bad: large numbers of sweedish prostitutes object to the law; it reduces the number of johns (which might seem like a good thing, unless you depend on the number of johns for your suirvival), pushes trade underground, there is limited support for anyone trying to leave prostitution, limited needle exchange.

      but yeah – it’s a far perferable model, no? just got to get it right; part of a suite of tactics, not a stand alone change.

      though i should point out that according to a durex survey (always the height of reliability, I know, but ayway..) sweeden has the lowest rate of purchase of sex in the world. which has got to be saying something. :)

    78. thebewilderness

      The preamble to Sweden’s law states, “In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant … gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”

    79. speedbudget

      Wow, thebewilderness. Perhaps I should look into moving to Sweden. They seem rather enlightened.

      I imagine court reporting in Swedish could get a bit hairy, though…

    80. Citizen Jane

      Just because it’s illegal in Sweden doesn’t mean it’s stopped. Check out the film Lilja 4-ever if you want to be really depressed. It’s a true story.

    81. AileenWuornos

      There are troubles with the Swedish system as well.

      The cons seem to outweigh the benefits in my opinion, but further research is needed to convince me either way.

      http://sensuellqkonsult.wordpress.com/2007/05/26/lies-about-sexwork-in-sweden/

      Written by a Swedish sex worker.
      I just thought I’d throw it out there.

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