Ron Paul is getting a fair bit of credit for some of the matter-of-fact things he said in the last debate, particularly his comments on the drug war. A sampling:
“I think the federal war on drugs is a total failure. You can—you can at least let sick people have marijuana because it’s helpful, but compassionate conservatives say, well, we can’t do this; we’re going to put people who are sick and dying with cancer and they’re being helped with marijuana, if they have multiple sclerosis—the federal government’s going in there and overriding state laws and putting people like that in prison. Why don’t we handle the drugs like we handle alcohol? Alcohol is a deadly drug. What about—the real deadly drugs are the prescription drugs. They kill a lot more people than the illegal drugs. So the drug war is out of control. I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties. It magnifies our problems on the borders. We spend—like, over the last forty years, $1 trillion on this war. And believe me, the kids can still get the drugs. It just hasn’t worked.”
On the surface, the guy seems smart, and almost compassionate. Calling it like he sees it; even echoing the anti-drug war, left-leaning crowd which argues that the $1 trillion spent on a drug war that has not really reduced consumption and has only filled up U.S. prisons. According to some media reports, Paul really caught the attention of the so-called youth vote with these comments.
But look closer: Paul goes on to mention the "real deadly drugs." Prescription pills. Anyone know what the DEA's new No. 1 priority is? Going after, yes, prescription pills.
Now, I'm not a drug war-basher just for the sake of bashing, as anyone who has read The Last Narco will tell you. I'm not really for drugs, nor really against them, except when they clearly destroy lives. Personally, I don't like them because I prefer beer.
I'll even go so far as to say that I support the drug war as it exists today, because I haven't seen a truly viable alternative (no, nationwide legalization is not viable, because it won't ever happen.)
But what I don't support are politicians twisting their own opinions to pander to certain crowds. If the DEA makes pills its priority, does anyone really think the war on traffickers of other drugs will ease up? Why would it? An all-out war on pills would mean a bigger budget because you've got one more illicit substance to go after; that budget could and most likely would be allocated pretty much anywhere a vast bureaucracy likes.
Again, I'm all for going after pills, and the people who sell them to unsuspecting victims illegally. It's a sordid affair, and needs to be stopped. But please, don't pretend to be against a $1 trillion war that will only continue if you go after the pills!
It's this easy: I, ––––––––, think the DEA should go after prescription pills, perhaps the deadliest drug threat of them all. I recognize that the drug war has not entirely succeeded, especially in the eyes of many critics, and we need to seriously examine how to better combat the drug scourge in the future. Debating legalization is futile, unless you, the American people, decide to actually vote for it (California didn't; I somehow doubt the rest of you will). So in the meantime, we will add prescription pills to the long list of illicit substances our authorities will go after, and do our utmost to fix the underlying societal issues that are turning our kids to drugs.