#284 New Jersey Drug Prosecutor Defends Drug War

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004
Subject: #284 New Jersey Drug Prosecutor Defends Drug War


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #284 Tue, 20 Jan 2004

On Wednesday, Jan 14, one of the few strident defenders of the drug
war – Orange County, NJ’s Terrence Farley – got loose with a lengthy
diatribe criticizing former Superior Court Judge Martin Haines’
criticism of the failed war on some drugs.

It’s understandable that Farley would defend the war. After all his
pay depends on it because of his dual role as assistant prosecutor for
the county and Director of the county’s Narcotics Strike Force.

Without exception, every point that Farley uses to defend the war has
its basis in the policy of prohibition, rather than in the drugs
themselves. He seems very concerned about the so-called ‘social
costs’ to society, but seems to have no problem with our governments –
federal and state – spending over 40 billion dollars annually just to
run it’s war on some drugs.

He smoothly begins his discussion talking about ‘illegal drugs’ than
quotes a ream of statistics that include alcohol use and abuse. If
Farley truly believed the statistics he quotes as justification for
criminalizing drugs, he should be the first in line to introduce laws
prohibiting the distribution of alcohol and tobacco since they are the
most harmful commonly abused legal drugs in America.

His paragraph on the perceived risks of marijuana fails to acknowledge
that none of these risks are as detrimental to a person’s health as a
sentence in a prison cage or the damage of a lifetime criminal record
simply for possessing marijuana. Further, he endorses putting cancer,
AIDS and other medical patients in prison if they elect, with the
advice of their doctor, to use more harmful legal drugs or narcotics.

Finally, his comment about ‘one third of those in treatment are there
because the criminal justice system put them there’ implies that drug
users must be coerced into treatment with threats of prison or they
will not participate. The experiences of over 100 million former
tobacco addicts and tens of millions of former alcoholics show this
statement to be without merit.

Please consider writing a letter today to the Asbury Park Press to let
them know that the alternative ideas presented by Martin Haines are
not as crazy as Terrence Farley suggests with his derogatory commentary.

Thanks for your effort and support.

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


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Notes: This original article is also on line at the newspaper’s website,
which notes “Terrence P. Farley is first assistant Ocean County prosecutor
and director of the Ocean County Narcotics Strike Force.”


The referenced column of Superior Court Judge Martin Haines is


Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2004 Asbury Park Press
Contact: editors@app.com
Author: Terrence P. Farley


In his Jan. 8 column, former Superior Court Judge Martin Haines
attacked the so-called “war on drugs.” It is hard to figure out
whether his philosophy is leftist, libertarian or simply nonsensical.
His ignorance of the facts and his lack of logic is so evident one
might believe that he was a paid lobbyist for the Drug Policy
Alliance, the goal of which is to legalize all drugs.

Haines begins his diatribe quoting statistics for drug arrests and the
numbers of people in state and federal jails and prisons ( a common
ploy of the Drug Policy Alliance ), but never cites the number of drug
overdose hospitalizations, deaths or murders — figures which are of
more interest to the families affected by drug abuse — or even the
enormous costs to society when these drug users and dealers are out on
the street.

He then cites financial figures for the costs of fighting the “war” on
drug and alcohol abuse. He neglects, however, to recite that it costs
the taxpayers of this country about $143 billion annually in
preventable health care costs, absenteeism, premature deaths,
increased insurance and health care costs, accidents, crime and lost
productivity. Alcohol and drug abusers are late for work three times
more often than fellow employees; have absences of eight days or
longer 2.5 times more often than other employees; are five times more
likely to file a worker’s compensation claim and are 3.6 times more
likely to cause a workplace accident.

Haines then accuses “our governments” of misleading the public about
the dangers of drug abuse so that we can have “harsh criminal laws,
tough prosecutions and stiff penalties.” He wants judges to have more
discretion in sentencing, and to reduce penalties for marijuana, as it
is “mostly harmless.” He also boldly states that marijuana has
beneficial medical uses.

The pro-legalization rhetoric about the government wanting harsher
laws, tougher prosecutions and stiffer penalties is not backed up by
any statements or reasoning because it’s pure nonsense. As to the
reason for mandatory minimum sentences, it was brought about by judges
who failed to fulfill the duties of the job to which they were
appointed or elected. There was a twofold reason for their

( The public was fed up with criminals not going to jail. Former Sen.
Phil Gramm, R-Texas, once noted that “mandatory minimum sentencing is
a massive no-confidence vote by the American people in the
discretionary powers of our judges.”

( The very nature of the drug trade requires that prosecutors have a
tool with which to deal with drug traffickers. Without drug dealers
facing stiff penalties, there would be no incentive for them to
cooperate with law enforcement.

Haines’ statements regarding the “harmless” drug marijuana fail to
take into account any of the relevant medical studies of marijuana
that have found, among other things, that marijuana contains much more
tar, carbon monoxide and other dangerous chemicals than tobacco; that
marijuana smoking affects fertility in both men and women; that it has
led to increases in cancers of the head, mouth and neck; that it
affects school and work performance more than any other drug; that the
Food and Drug Administration has ruled that “smoked marijuana is
neither safe nor effective as a medicine for any ailment; and that the
National Institutes of Health have stated “patients with HIV or any
diseases of the immune system should avoid marijuana.” There are many
more adverse studies on marijuana.

Haines also promotes the use of needle exchange programs without
looking at, or ignoring, the facts. He should look at the 1995
Montreal study, which found that 78 percent of needle exchange program
users and 72 percent of non-needle exchange program users shared
needles. In the Vancouver study, the rate of HIV infections for
intravenous drug users rose from 2 percent prior to the needle
exchange program to 27 percent after — despite the fact that 92
percent of the intravenous drug users used the needle exchange program.

While I agree that we need more prevention, education and treatment
efforts, we must remember that about one-third of all people in
treatment are there only because the criminal justice system put them
there. Drug courts are but one of the new programs available.

I agree with Haines that we need more public discussion on these
issues. (I do approximately 100 lectures per year.) I hope, however,
that the people who have these discussions are more informed and
willing to discuss the real issues than Haines, who merely brought a
knife to a gunfight.


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Prepared by: Stephen Heath, MAP Focus Alert Specialist