The war on drugs – a microcosm.

First, read this: http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/may/19/8/eight-charged-school-drug-sting-ar-495783/

Now, let’s examine it a bit more.  We had a five-month sting operation (apparently copied from “21 Jump Street”) that has netted us eight arrests for buying or selling pot.  The local Town Manager is proud: “This is definitely a major step in the right direction. I think it sends a clear message that this kind of activity won’t be tolerated in West Warwick,” said Town Manager James Thomas.

So, we had a cop in the school for five months and that got us eight arrests.  For pot.  How much did it cost to keep the narc in school?  Were any drug pipelines exposed or taken down, or did we just get a few petty users/sellers?  What will happen to these eight arrestees?  I’d imagine their chances of becoming productive members of society just took a major hit, and now we’ll support them in prison on the taxpayer dime, and probably support them again later as they continue to screw up.

All this for buying or selling a little weed, but hey, the Town Manager is proud and he’s sending out the message.

In high school I spent much time in graphic arts.  One semester my sophomore year, one period all year my junior year, and 2.5 periods all year my senior year.  Back then we had platen presses and a darkroom with nasty-smelling chemicals.  Much of what happened in the darkroom didn’t have anything to do with printing the football programs.  Drug deals happened there, and as I later found out, our teacher was putting the moves on students in there.  Sometimes we just took naps.  I was exposed to that and I came out (arguably) fine.  I’m not saying everyone else exposed to it had similar results, but I’m sure most of them did.  I’m guessing even some of the stoners got their ducks in rows and have done OK.

Lots of speculation in that paragraph, but the point is this: kids in high school are still kids.  Do we need this kind of sting operation going after them?  What kind of lasting effect will the arrests have on drugs in the school, if any?  Once the narc is gone and things calm down, the weed will be back.  The battle may be won but the war goes on.

Again, I have to clarify my position: I’ve never done illegal drugs and have no desire to.  However, I want to see pot legalized because I find it ridiculous that alcohol (and to a lesser extent of ridiculousness, tobacco) are legal and weed isn’t.  As a nation we spend way too much money hunting down teenagers smoking weed.  It’s a masturbatory exercise that doesn’t address the real problem, the desire to use drugs and the treatment for abuse of them.  It just give a Pyrrhic victory that will result with more people in already-overcrowded prisons, which will make the prison workers unions and nobody else very happy.

As a nation we love to make war on…things, ideas, and such.  Maybe we should think about ending some of our wars and instead focus on preventing the “necessities” that cause the wars.

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