#270 Drug Warrior Misinformation Exposed

Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2003
Subject: #270 Drug Warrior Misinformation Exposed


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #270 August 8, 2003

Drug policy reform activists know all too well that entrenched
interests riding the drug war gravy train use misinformation to
justify the continuation of failed drug policies that do more harm
than good. Thanks in large part to the efforts of MAP volunteers,
drug war lies are no longer accepted at face value. It’s no
coincidence that newspaper editorials have been increasingly critical
of drug war propaganda ever since the advent of the Internet.

This week no less than three editorials in the state of Hawaii called
into question a federal prosecutor’s use of bogus statistics to try
and convince state lawmakers to weaken Hawaii’s constitutional
search-and-seizure and wire-tap requirements. The Honolulu
Star-Bulletin, Honolulu Advertiser and The Maui News all criticized
the federal government’s deceptive effort to undermine civil rights.
The Maui News editorial is especially noteworthy in that it recognized
a pattern of misinformation throughout the history of the war on drugs.

Write a letter today to thank The Maui News for exposing drug warrior
misinformation. For extra credit, write the Honolulu Star-Bulletin
and Honolulu Advertiser to thank them too. Be sure to mention that
the recent use of phony statistics to sway Hawaiian lawmakers is not
an isolated incident, but rather part of a pattern of taxpayer-funded
deception that has been going on for decades.

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


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The Maui News policy on letters: “The Maui News welcomes and
encourages letters to the editor. The letters should be brief and to
the point and on subjects of general interest. Letters must be signed
and include an address and phone number where the writer can be
reached during working hours for verification. The writer’s name and
community will be published. Letters should be limited to 250 words or
less with shorter letters being given priority. Letters of any length
are subject to editing.”

Our analysis indicates that the average published letter is about 172
words, with about one in five near 250 words. The Maui News has
published letters from our letter writers who live through out the



Pubdate: Wed, 6 Aug 2003
Source: Maui News, The (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Maui News
Website: http://www.mauinews.com/


More than two years ago, The Maui News devoted considerable time,
space and manpower resources to detail the corrosive effects of the
illegal, but easily obtainable, crystal methamphetamine, also known as
“ice” or “batu.”

Any regular reader of The Maui News knows how often the use of ice is
a factor when a defendant is charged in criminal court cases. The
drug is an unmitigated plague on the families of the users and the

Monday, the U.S. attorney for Hawaii, Edward Kubo Jr., went to state
lawmakers with a shocking disclosure. He said there were an estimated
30,000 hard-core users of ice in Hawaii and some 90,000 recreational
users. Kubo told the Joint House-Senate Task Force on Ice and Drug
Abatement, the statistics were “reliable ballpark figures.”

It turns out the ballpark had nothing to do with Hawaii. Kubo later
said he was using figures reported by a Honolulu police vice officer.
Trouble is, the officer said he was misquoted and he advised Kubo of
that before the attorney spoke to the lawmakers. Kubo, sticking to
his guns, said he didn’t believe the officer had been misquoted since
other narcotics officers told him the numbers were right and that they
came from a University of Hawaii professor.

William Wood is a UH professor of sociology who works with the
National Institute on Drug Abuse. He said a 1998 household survey of
more than 5,000 people in Hawaii led him to estimate there were 8,100
people in the state who were hard-core ice users. That’s a far cry
from indicting 10 percent of the state’s population, but Kubo had his

The U.S. attorney used the numbers to back up his request to weaken
the state’s constitutional search-and-seizure privacy clause and the
constitutional requirements for obtaining wire-tap warrants.

Kubo’s request may or may not be warranted in light of all the ice
being consumed in Hawaii, but using inflated figures for shock value,
even after his source said he had been misquoted, is typical of the
sort of misinformation – it could be called lying – officials have
been guilty of promoting throughout the history of the “war on drugs.”

The ice epidemic is a hot political issue this summer, but it will
take cool heads to find the right combination of interdiction,
enforcement and treatment to end it, not phony statistics.



Dear Editor,

Thank you for exposing the federal government’s use of misinformation
in your Aug. 6th editorial on U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo Jr’s shameful
effort to gut Hawaii’s constitution. It’s not the first time federal
drug warriors have resorted to deception. Drug prohibition funds
organized crime at home and terrorism abroad. The drug czar’s
sensationalist drug-terror ad campaign would have the public believe
that’s good reason to maintain the status quo.

If the federal government is serious about helping Hawaii it will do
something about the glaring unmet need for drug treatment. Those
brave enough to seek help for an illicit substance abuse problem in
this age of zero tolerance have to contend with lengthy waiting lists
and taxpayer-funded stigmatization in the form of the Bush
administration’s belligerent anti-drug campaign.

Want to help Hawaiians addicted to ice? Increase funding for drug
treatment. Remove the government-sanctioned stigma associated with
illicit addiction. End the war on drugs. This country is
squandering its future by investing in incarceration instead of
education. Until more media follow the lead of The Maui News and
begin to question the duplicity of federal drug warriors, U.S. drug
policy will continue to do more harm than good.


Harold Anslinger

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Below are links to two additional targets worthy of Letters to the

Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1183/a06.html

Honolulu Advertiser editorial: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1191/a07.html



Please utilize the following URLs



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writing activists.



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Prepared by: Robert Sharpe, Focus Alert Specialist