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May 3, 2008 -- Free Libertarian Blog (US)

Editorial: Crystal Deception

By Mike Renzulli

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Television stations across Arizona aired a movie early last month titled Crystal Darkness which is supposed to have shown what happens when people use crystalized methamphetamine (a.k.a. crystal meth).

There were so many holes in the logic behind it that are/were wider than the Grand Canyon itself. At best, this entire movie was nothing more than a propaganda piece for the drug warriors featured in it such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

The 3 main points behind Crystal Darkness was not only to urge people not to use crystal meth (which is notable) and if you do you will become enslaved to it (absolute nonsense) and you need to stop (also notable).

What prohibitionists, like those featured in Crystal Darkness, will never feature is the results of the illegality of drugs themselves or accept blame for the results of drug criminalization that they support. The reason why there is a drug problem in this country is due to drugs, like methamphetamine, being illegal.

Let's focus on the enslavement aspect of the film.

There were numerous claims made in the movie by ex-meth users, politicians and so-called experts that once you use meth you are hooked.

Claims like this are absolutely false.

Radley Balko said it best in his assessment of alcohol prohibition:

Forcing Americans to go underground to satiate their thirst for alcohol also brought with [prohibition] a major public health problem. Americans drank harder, because they had to get their fix in one sitting, and didn't know where or when they'd get their next drink. And they drank more potent stuff -- bathtub gin and other home-brewed spirits, liquor that was unchecked by market forces or regulators, and so was not only vile and potent, but could at times be downright poisonous. By the mid-1920s, hospitalizations and deaths from alcohol poisoning soared. Some say we have Prohibition to thank for the success of the cocktail, as the only available alcohol was virtually undrinkable straight-up.

The events Balko outlines are the same as to what is happening today. Like home made alcoholic drinks were made when alcohol was illegal, drugs, like crystal meth, are the result of drug illegality.

Once drugs are decriminalized, home made narcotics, like methamphetamine, would disappear from drug markets similar to how moonshine and other home-made alcoholic drinks disappeared when the Twenty-Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed that ended alcohol prohibition in America.

The whole idea of chemical dependency and enslavement to narcotics (like meth) that were pointed out in the movie are rooted in the claims made by the Protestant Temperance movement that pushed for prohibition of alcohol.

The Temperance movement claimed that alcohol enslaved (i.e. posessed) people once it was consumed and that only by relying on a higher power (i.e. God) would a person end their addiction (i.e. obtain salvation) and be free of the disease (i.e. devil) of addiction.

It just so happens that a few members of the Temperance movement went on to help form Alcoholics Anonymous whose addiction model has been the basis for other drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

A.A.'s addicton model also has the worst record in terms of effectiveness.

Ultimately, addiction is a choice and the people who use meth, like those featured in Crystal Darkness, hit a low point in their drug or substance use and then make moves to get out. For lack of a better term, the devil is in the details of how they go about ending their usage.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Schaler pointed out in his book Addiction is a Choice that the addiction model presently used by groups like Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous, not only is ineffective, but relieves the user in question from the responsibility of their actions. Schaler has counseled many people who have abused drugs and alcohol. He points out that what will keep people from relapsing is for them to acknowledge their responsibility in the situation and to be given assurances that they have the will power to stop and never use or abuse alcohol or drugs.

Dr. Schaler also stresses (and I agree wholeheartedly) that people who abuse drugs or alcohol, while needing guidance and compassion, should have their self-esteem reaffirmed. If not, their going back to their drug or alcohol habit is almost certainly assured.

Unfortunately, Al-Anon's model attacks a person's ego which can lead to them not only to absolve themselves of the responsibility of their actions but also abuse drugs or alcohol again.

When it comes to drug prohibition and abuse I suppose it would be best to quote from Shakespeare in his play Julius Ceasar:

The fault lies not in the stars. The fault, dear Brutus, lies within ourselves.

As a result of continuing to elect people to office who continue to criminalize drug use, the land of the free has degenerated into a crime-ridden country where our jails are overloaded with non-violent offenders (mainly locked up for drug-related crimes) and many of the freedoms we cherish that police and elected officials are sworn to uphold and defend are put on the chopping block all in the name of fighting a drug war that can never be won.

December 5th of this year will mark the 75th Anniversary of the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment that criminalized alcohol.

To commemorate this historic occasion and when going to the ballot box to vote in November, make it a point to undo the damage done by the politician's drug policies by voting for candidates soley based on their position on the drug war.

If you truly want to help restore your lost freedoms and take your neighborhood back from the crime that results from drug prohibition, help elect or vote for candidates that will end it.

Doing so will send a strong message to drug prohibitionists that the days of their policies are numbered and we will no longer stand for irrational and immoral laws based on controling an adult's personal behavior.

Call, write or e-mail candidates running for the Arizona legislture, city and county governments as well as Congress too and tell them you want drugs decriminalized and will not vote for them until they do so. You and your family's life and freedoms depend on it.

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