#202 McCaffrey Teams Up With Housman To Bend The Truth Again

Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2001
Subject: #202 McCaffrey Teams Up With Housman To Bend The Truth Again

McCaffrey Teams up With Housman To Bend the Truth (Again)

For a compendium of examples of former drug czar McCaffrey’s loose
affiliation with accuracy and facts please see “Is Truth a Casualty of
the Drug War” http://www.csdp.org/ads/

Note: Please see a new MAP feature the “Target Analysis” at the bottom of
this Focus Alert.


DrugSense FOCUS Alert #202 Thursday March 15, 2001

Once again drug warriors are taking their misinformation campaign to
the people, this time in a March 15th column in the Los Angeles Times.
Robert F. Housman and Barry R. McCaffrey, former Assistant Director
and Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control
Policy, are claiming success in the never ending drug war. This
despite the finding of last year’s Monitoring the Future survey that
heroin use among high school seniors is at record levels. Likewise,
drug-related emergency rooms are at record levels, along with drug war
spending, yet the promotion of reefer madness hysteria remains the top
priority of Housman and McCaffrey.

McCaffrey has a history of using the availability of pure THC in the
form of the prescription drug Marinol as reason to deny marijuana to
sick and dying patients. However, in this instance the authors chose
to demonize marijuana’s active ingredient, even going so far as to
defend tobacco, by far the deadliest drug in America. Please write a
letter to the Los Angeles times to remind their readers that Housman
and McCaffrey can’t have it both ways.


Just DO it! If not YOU who? If not NOW when?


Phone, fax etc.)

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This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is the only way we have of gauging our
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Source: Los Angeles Times (LA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com


US CA: OPED: Hollywood Is Ignoring A Valid Drug War Script

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01.n455.a09.html

Pubdate: Thu, 15 Mar 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Address: Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-7679
Feedback: http://www.latimes.com/siteservices/talk_contacts.htm
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Forum: http://www.latimes.com/discuss/
Authors: Robert F. Housman, Barry R. Mccaffrey
Note: Robert F. Housman Was Assistant Director for Strategic Planning in
the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy From 1997 to January
2001. Barry R. Mccaffrey Was Director of the Office From 1996 to January 2001


On NBC’s “The West Wing,” President Bartlet sees the fight against
drugs as a lost cause and a huge waste of money. His surgeon general
has declared marijuana less dangerous than cigarettes. His staff
overwhelmingly favors legalizing drugs. Meanwhile, in the
Oscar-nominated movie, “Traffic,” the new drug czar is so rocked by
the enormity of the drug problem and his own daughter’s addiction that
he walks away from the job.

All this makes great entertainment. But it is about as accurate as
saying “The Brady Bunch” was a portrait of real life in America.

The fact is, our national strategy against drugs is working. Over the
last two years, youth drug use dropped 21%. Workplace drug use has
fallen to an 11-year low–4.6%, down from 13.6% in 1988. The number of
murders related to narcotics laws dropped from 1,402 in 1989 to 564 in
1999, the lowest point in more than a decade. The number of people
receiving drug treatment nearly tripled between 1980 and 1998.
Neighborhoods, like New York City’s Harlem, have been taken back from
the dealers and gangs and, once again, offer safe places for
hard-working families to live.

It is true that the number of people arrested for drug crimes has
grown, arguably one reason why drug crimes are down. However, at the
same time, we have dramatically increased the number of diversion
programs to break the cycle of drugs and crime. These programs, such
as drug courts, offer nonviolent, drug-addicted offenders supervised
treatment in lieu of jail. Ironically, the actor who plays President
Bartlet, Martin Sheen, is one of the nation’s leading advocates for
drug courts and against legalization; he believes that the threat of
jail time helped his son break free of addiction.

Contrary to the prevailing wisdom you may see on movie and TV screens,
with exceedingly few exceptions, we are not locking people up for
simple possession of marijuana. During fiscal year 1998, only 33
federal defendants were sentenced to jail for base offenses involving
less than 5,000 grams of marijuana. At the state level, more than 70%
of drug offenders were incarcerated for drug trafficking as opposed to
possession. An overwhelming majority of the total state prison drug
offender population had prior criminal histories, a quarter of which
were violent.

Along these same lines, “The West Wing’s” surgeon general would be
wise to consider new research out of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive
Cancer Center suggesting that marijuana users may be at higher risk
for cancer than cigarette smokers. THC, the active component in
marijuana, has been shown to cause cancerous tumors. Marijuana
deposits four times more tar in the respiratory tract than cigarette
smoke. And studies show that young people who smoke pot tend to be
lethargic, socially removed, more prone to committing violent and
property crimes and do worse in school. None of these effects are
equally associated with cigarettes.

President Bartlet’s policy team should also take a harder look at the
real impact of legalizing drugs. Each year drug use costs the U.S.
52,000 drug-related deaths and roughly $110 billion in additional
societal costs. Legalizing drugs would compound this suffering. One of
the main reasons why the majority of young people never try drugs is
societal disapproval. Legalizing drugs would make drug use an accepted
behavior and, inevitably, more young people would use them. More
people using drugs would mean more addicts, more traffic fatalities,
more human and economic costs.

Nor would legalization cut crime. The average drug criminal isn’t
waging a turf war over black market territory or shooting it out with
the police. Most drug-related crime is committed by addicts to get
money to buy drugs–the vast majority of drug users rely to some
degree on illicit money to support their addiction. Legalization would
only increase the number of people robbing, stealing and prostituting
themselves for drug cash.

Shows like “Sports Night,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “ER” and “Third
Watch”–some with the sponsorship of the Office of National Drug
Control Policy–have done accurate portrayals of the devastating
impact of drug use on people, families and friends. However, when the
entertainment industry takes dramatic license with the facts about
drug use, it has a real impact. Children see drugs as less risky.
Parents grow less concerned and talk to their children less frequently
about the dangers of drug use. Public support diminishes for the men
and women of law enforcement who safeguard our families. Policymakers
are less inclined to do what’s necessary to fight drugs.

Walking away in disgust from the realities of drug use can add drama
to a movie or a TV script, but in the real world it is plain



Robert F. Housman and Barry R. McCaffrey want to have their cake and
eat it to. In their Mar. 15th column the former Assistant Director
and Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
claim that THC, the principle active component in marijuana, has been
shown to cause cancerous tumors. Yet when arguing against medical
marijuana McCaffrey routinely touts the prescription availability of
100% pure THC in pill form as a healthy alternative. Housman and
McCaffrey exhibit an appalling willingness to bend the truth to suit
their needs. Contrary to what they would have the public believe, THC
has not been shown to cause tumors, in fact recent research conducted
by the Complutense University in Madrid found that THC eliminates
tumor cells in rats.

Their complete lack of credibility is glaring. The $110 billion in
societal costs cited includes the cost of keeping drug offenders
behind bars. The high cost of maintaining the largest prison system
is certainly no reason to put more Americans behind bars. Likewise,
the authors purported 52,000 drug-related deaths per year is extremely
disingenuous. It is not possible to obtain such an inflated estimate
without including deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco, by far the
deadliest drugs in America, despite their legality. Marijuana, the
drug that Housman and McCaffrey mention most, has never been shown to
cause an overdose death. America’s drug problem is far too serious to
allow the blatant misinformation provided by drug warriors to dominate
the debate.

Sincerely, Robert Sharpe, Washington, DC

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Prepared by Richard Lake – http://www.mapinc.org, Robert Sharpe, and
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