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April 13th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Heroin cheaper than six-pack of beer

CNN's Carol Costello reports on who Mexican drug cartels are preying upon.
CNN's Carol Costello reports on who Mexican drug cartels are preying upon.

By Ronni Berke and Carol Costello

Massapequa, New York (CNN) - Doreen and Victor Ciappa thought they got a second chance when their 18-year-old daughter, Natalie, survived a heroin overdose last May.

Her mother recalled how, after the overdose, Natalie promised to stop using, insisting she didn't need rehab.

"She said 'oh no, I'm not going. I'll get myself off it,'" Doreen said.

Doreen Ciappa says she had no idea the packets she found among Natalie's belongings after her first overdose were actually heroin. "I had spent hours on the internet trying to figure out what they were."

During the year before the overdose, Natalie had changed. The straight-A student, cheerleader and accomplished singer had lost weight and began seeing less and less of her old friends. She was spending a lot of time alone in her room, writing songs and poetry. She started hanging out with a new boyfriend. Soon, she was missing curfew and fighting frequently with her parents. Despite their suspicions, the Ciappas say it never occurred to them Natalie was using heroin.

Within weeks of the first overdose, she went out to a party and never came home. Natalie had overdosed again, this time fatally.

Law enforcement officials say a tiny, one-dose bag of heroin, costing $5-$10, is cheaper than highly controlled synthetic opiates like Oxycontin or Hydrocodone - and easily accessible to teenagers.

"Unfortunately, today, a bag of heroin can be cheaper than a 6 pack of beer," said John Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency's New York Field Division.

Vote! Should drugs be legal in the U.S.?

And this cheap heroin is deadlier than ever, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.  Unlike a generation ago, when the street drug was less than 10 percent pure - today's version can be upwards of 70 percent pure. Teenagers are snorting it, smoking it in joints, and getting hooked faster, and overdosing more.

"Try heroin once, and you may not have the opportunity to try it again," Gilbride says.

Wayne O'Connell, Managing Director of the Daytop drug treatment program's outreach center on Long Island, says they are seeing teens as young as 13 using heroin.

According to the Justice Department's National Drug Threat Assessment (2009), Mexican criminal groups are expanding Mexican heroin distribution in eastern states, taking over the South American heroin market. Mexican heroin production increased 105 percent from 1999 to 2007, while Colombian heroin production decreased 47 percent during about the same period. (1999-2006)

The NDTA says more than half of heroin arrests nationwide happen in mid-Atlantic and Northeast states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. In the Northeast states, the Department of Health reports that in 2006, almost twice as many heroin users sought treatment than all other regions combined (173,728 vs. 90,405).

On Long Island's Nassau County, where the Ciappas live, police made 211 heroin-related arrests in 2008. So far in the first three months of this year, police say, they have made 135 such arrests.

Officials and drug counselors say heroin is luring middle-class teenagers like Natalie Ciappa, because they don't feel the stigma associated with the image of the heroin addict as an IV-drug user.

"I think we skipped a generation in education," said Detective Lt. Peter Donohue of the Nassau County Police Department's Narcotics Vice Squad. "The young kids don't see the perils with heroin."

Parents, too, may be unaware of the perils of heroin. The Ciappas have channeled their grief into a mission to save other children from Natalie's fate. Above all, they want school districts to send home warnings to parents when there are reports of heroin use or arrests.

"They teach the kids about everything and update them on everything. They tell parents about head lice and pinkeye, and yet they're keeping quiet about this."

The Ciappas helped pass Long Island's "Natalie's Law," which requires officials to post on the web heroin related arrests by location, frequency, and age of those arrested.

Appearing at a local civic association meeting, Doreen Ciappa pointed to a poster of Natalie and told parents: "This picture was taken nine days before my daughter died. This is today's heroin addict. This is what they look like. They look like everybody's kids."

Some districts are reaching out to parents. Alan Groveman, Superintendent of the Connetquot School District, also spoke at the meeting the Ciappas attended.

"Schools in some cases are concerned that it will give them a reputation of a drug haven or an outlaw building that is problematic," Groveman said. "We've taken the opposite approach," he said. "The children are at stake and that's really the issue."

Victor Ciappa says his daughter had everything going for her, until heroin came into her life. "She had everything to live for. And I just never wondered 'cause I never thought it was an issue. I never thought a kid like that would ever dabble with something as scary as heroin."

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Filed under: Drugs
soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. Greg Goble

    A response to Harold Archibald's question. " If other drugs were legalized would they cause as much harm or more than current alcohol or tobacco problems, and would the harm be greater then the harm they cause by keeping them illegal?" Unfortunately Yes!
    Opiates Heroin are much more addictive Faster and in a shorter time frame then Alcohol. Most people using prescribed pain medication
    (Opiates) will feel withdraw effects after taken medication for 1 month.
    Now let's abuse the perscription info. Instead of 1 to 2 every 4 to 6 hrs
    Let's take 4 every 4 hrs, use that 30 day supply then get another supply simply by copying the perscription paper. Now Heroin is even more addictive, within 1 month of daily use you are well on your way to full blown addiction. As far as legalized medication? We already have!
    Oxycotin is about as close to grade A synthetic Heroin as you can get.
    We now have a big problem with just that.

    See, The problem is 1. The High is different between Opiates and Alcohol.
    2. The dependancy rate is much stronger and faster with Opiates then with Alcohol. I can't see becoming a full blown Alkey in 30 days of drinking. Unless maybe if there is some kind of hereditary symption. That I don't know.

    February 15, 2010 at 8:14 am |
  2. bob

    i'm sorry but where i live herion is not cheaper than a six pack of beer

    December 20, 2009 at 4:56 am |
  3. Linda in CA

    Just say no; tax, don't tax; legalize, don't legalize; make new laws; enforce old laws; promote knowledge, understanding etc etc etc – yadayadayada. You are not getting to the heart of the problem: WHY people abuse whatever substance is within their reach. And the WHY is going to be different for each person. Laws only serve to point out the abuse / sin of a person. It can not take away the reason – the WHY. You can not legislate the heart and mind of man. You must deal with each person and instance individually. That takes time, dedication, compassion, which most people today shove off onto some govt run program.

    October 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  4. melvin polatnick

    Raising the cigarette sales tax in New york State has resulted in a widening heroin epidemic. Many users that could not afford to pay 8 bucks for a pack of cigarettes are saving 5 bucks by spending three bucks for a bag of heroin. Cautious users are snorting heroin rather than shooting it into their veins, they have the misconception that it will not lead to addiction. The good news is that it has caused countless tobacco addicts to break their habit. But unfortunately they have replaced it with a new one. Cigarette manufacturers that once feared competition from marijuana growers now have added competition from heroin dealers who sell their product for only three bucks a bag. Authorities are discussing lowering the cigarette sales tax in order to curb heroin addiction. But no action has yet been taken.

    October 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Emily

    My 28 year old son died from a heroin overdose a year ago. He had a good job, engaged to be married, had a sponsor in AA, and volunteered in his community. When are we going to provide help for those with addictions? Even with private insurance, it is costly. There were 5 arrests connected with his death. The "dealers" were a Mexican cartel.

    June 3, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  6. roberta

    As of today my child was addicted to Oxy 1st for about 15 months . We had private treatment with home detox. Did not work. After doctor prescribed "suboxone" to take the addiction crave, the need for the high won. The Prescription Oxycondin(Synthetic herion) was prescribed to my son after a knee injury.60 pills!!!By a Licensed Dr.!The doctors of New York get prescription kickbacks. Illegal in many states. The Purdue Pharmacuetical Co.failed to let the public know about its opiate base and high addiction rate. Even seniors are suffering the detoxing ,that received Oxy for arthritis pain. The pills are very expensive. We are being Duped and doped and robbed from the Pharmacuetical Co. and Dr's! My son became a full blown Herion addict and we had to get him help that cost 1/3 of our home due to insurances only covering so much. Perdue Pharmacuetical has destroyed lives!! and should pay for all the deaths of teens in Brockton Mass. as well. Hundreds started on Oxycondins. Our generation drank ,smoked pot and had sex and lived to tell .These kids are living in an addiction hell.The government took Vioxx off the market for several heartattacks. what about the over prescribed drug that originally was only for burn victims and chronic cancer patients.??Where are the watchdogs to protect us? How can we take a class action suit against Purdue when we live in shame of addiction? HELP US PLEASE!!!.

    May 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  7. Colonel Cavendish says:

    Just allow the U.S. Drug Industry to regulate and sell heroin... it will soon be priced out of most peoples reach. Oh? And you feel that wouldn't stop illegal heroin trafficking? You're right, and the same applies to guns.

    April 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  8. DaveT

    I don't know who is going to make it all the way to the bottom of these comments, but there is just so much stupidity here. We have utter morons telling us that the only people who want to "legalize" drugs have IQs not much larger than their shoe sizes. Then they follow the proclamation with uninformed nonsense and expect it to compete with the ideas of people who have studied this problem and thought carefully about it for years.

    First let me tell everyone what "legalized" heroin would be like since heroin is the subject of this article. We don't need to imagine the outcome, since it has already been done in the Netherlands. Look up Netherlands Drug Policy on Google and read the Wikipedia page, or read this:

    "Currently, the Netherlands has a relatively stable number of heroin addicts. During the last decades of the twentieth century, the estimated number of heroin users in the Netherlands increased from 10,000 in 1977 to 20,000 in 1979 and 30,000 in 1983. The current number is estimated to be 25,000. The syringe-using drug users are getting older: their average age is now forty years."

    Heroin isn't going to be sold in stores like beer. Ever. It will be carefully parceled out to existing addicts (and a few lunatics who want to pretend like they're an addict) until such a time as the individual is ready to address the addiction and enter state sponsored treatment (paid with taxes levied on other drugs).

    Marijuana will be sold readily in stores because it's relatively harmless. Regular use will increase by 50% to 100% but excessive use will increase only marginally (meanwhile treatment will be more readily available). None of this matters because Marijuana is not particularly harmful when used responsibly, and most people are responsible (which is why most users do not get caught today).

    LSD would be relatively difficult to obtain (you would have to acquire a personal license proving you have undergone safety training) and avoided by most people. However, it can be relatively safe with proper precautions. The inventor of LSD (who used it many times) lived to be over 100 years old. Most people eventually have a "bad trip" and stop doing this drug.

    Ecstasy is a relatively knew drug. It has an extremely low mortality rate, but it may have other pernicious effects in the long term that we aren't yet aware of. This ought to be as difficult to obtain as LSD and come with plenty of warnings. Use at your own risk.

    The only *real* tricky drug is cocaine. It's relatively popular, and yet relatively dangerous. Then again, the same can be said of alcohol. Currently cocaine is certainly perceived as extreme, and I don't see any reason why it would remain that way even if legalized. Most people would avoid it because of the extreme nature. The ones who used it could be encouraged to be "responsible" in their use of it (be aware of concentrations and potentially lethal doses, and be aware of the strong possibility of addiction).

    April 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  9. DaveT

    Use your brains people.

    @Eric M tried to argue against drug legalization and regulation with the following: "If we legalized prostitution, we could lower crime!! Legalize it, regulate it, and tax it!!! Put the money into STD education & treatment."

    Actually, in Nevada (everywhere outside of the country where Las Vegas is) prostitution IS legal. The girls work out of a licensed establishment (with security and supervision immediately available to discourage and stop any potential violence). The John's are required to sign a contract specifying exactly what he and the girl have agreed upon (what activities and for how much money). Condom use and regularly STD checks are mandated by law. Compared to street hookers this is far, far safer (not to mention there is no possibility of an arrest ruining someone's life). The only possible objection is a moral objection. So it is with drugs.

    @NoWay argues that the black market will not go away unless we lower prices so much that 25% of the country will get so high each night that they won't be able to go to work the next day.

    To that I will say, most people wouldn't touch heroin if it was free (I would bet my life that the number is 90% and it's probably closer to 98%). Heroin is the sky diving of drugs... most people don't want anything to do with it. Cocaine, while less extreme, would also be similarly self-regulating.

    Furthermore, responsible people don't become completely irresponsible in the presence of drugs. Currently drug use is represented by the least responsible people in society, because those are the ones most likely to break the law to use the drugs. If the drugs were legalized and regulated, most new users would be far more tolerable than the current crop. There will always be some people who get incredibly addicted because of their personality, but these people already have alcohol, coffee and whatever illegal (and dangerously prepared) things they get their hands on.

    Use your brains folks.

    April 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  10. Patricia Robinson

    What Recovery should be
    I use to be an addict and legalizing them is not the real answer, but since what I want isn’t real in this world,
    I guess it will happen, the only thing it will do is stop the import of illegal drugs. no one will be on corners selling it. Our people can get back to work, the way the Methadone helps the addict come to terms.
    it allows some addicts to see the world not as a victim but as an equal.
    That woman wont be beat down for her pocket book, our houses wont be broken into, there wont be a need to steal, rob or kill for drugs.
    The doctor will give it or the clinic, but we have to watch the clinics also, as with the methadone clinics they can hurt the purpose instead of help it.
    They can make it so difficult to get the drugs. In some states. They want to help, but as with SC, they want to make money of the drugs.
    They put the price so high jobs cant even pay for it. The threat of not getting it tends to lead the addict back to the streets. That when the dealer becomes a big part of our lives.
    I remember when I didn’t have insurance I hated going to the doctor, and that almost killed me in 1992, because of the way they treat you in the hospital setting, talking loud to shame you.
    Know one wants other people to know their business. Another thing, If you staff the clinics with all non users, it wont work, we need some who has been through, to deal with the addict.
    Id love to help in our church we have a Celebrate Recovery at Barefoot Church, to try to help out other addicts.
    Most of us are addict which makes the suffering addict more comfortable, as they walk in. I love it when that addict walks in in the first place, but I love it even more when the next time they come.
    I see the difference in them, washing their hair, cleaning their clothes, actually wanting to come and get involved.
    This is what help is suppose to be, kind, peaceful yet strong. We who reach out have to show strength and be powerful in our need to help and stay sober, powerful, bright, in truth and love.
    I reach to hug those who might have been the same way as me lonely for love and a life. I use to stand across the street from a church and wish it was me going in.
    Wish it was me with nice clothes, shinning bright. Today I’m so glad that someone hugged me.
    When I walked into Barefoot strangers hugged me. Clean people that smelled good, and treated me nice, That night when I went home I could still feel those hugs squeezing me, they never acted like I was too dirty to come close too, it was awesome. This is what recovery is suppose to be
    Life, love faith, compassion, warmth. We the sober addict are a big part of the still suffering addict. We are here to show them what its like, and if we have to do it over and over again so be it. Recovery should
    not a place that you have to be made to come, real sobriety is wanting too for your self.. By: Patricia Robinson-4/13/09-5pm

    April 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Bruce

    "There are too many lies and misinformation and this is not good, it is not helping. "

    Yes, there are. And when the lies and misinformation come from the people in charge it does nothing to promote trust.

    "Now, kids may not be able to decide against peer pressure, you know how teen groups work! Therefore if we can control the drugs distribution it would be helpful."

    I'm sure peer pressure exists. I won't argue that. But don't replace personal responsibility with excuses. Everyone has choices and the better you and/or them are educated with truths (non-anecdotal, non-emotional) the better chance a person has at making a good choice.

    "Abusing anything is bad: light drugs, hard drugs, legal drugs, illegal drugs, food, water, work, time off, anything. Don’t abuse, and avoid things that can be addictive and drive to abuse."

    USE IS NOT ABUSE> Learn it. Moderation is the key to life.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  12. Tao

    To DaveR, above: very well put! It is our/their choice. We need to be well informed to make the best decision. There are too many lies and misinformation and this is not good, it is not helping.

    Now, kids may not be able to decide against peer pressure, you know how teen groups work! Therefore if we can control the drugs distribution it would be helpful.

    Abusing anything is bad: light drugs, hard drugs, legal drugs, illegal drugs, food, water, work, time off, anything. Don't abuse, and avoid things that can be addictive and drive to abuse.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  13. M. Fletcher

    If pot were legal, kids could admit to using and get help if they needed it.

    The taxes generated could be used for mental health and addiction counseling for all people who need these services, saving a whole lot of grief for non and addicts alike.

    When I was growing up, pot was easier to get than booze. I personally preferred it to the effects of alcohol, but when it became a problem for me, I didn't dare admit it to my folks. I had ample opportunity to try harder drugs, from the same people who sold me pot and chose not to, beyond the odd sample.

    Legal pot would take away the connection to the dealers, no gateway. It could make open dialog between parents and kids possible. Just like booze, some people can handle it, some can't. I don't believe anyone can handle the white powders/chrystals for long. Those should remain illegal.

    Better mental health care, funded by taxing legal pot, would go a long way to removing the reasons why people get lost to intoxicants in the first place.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  14. tomgurney

    Clearly, things aren't working now, so why not try something different? Politics is run on short-term stretches with short term measures. From this come poor results, particularly as those 'in charge' dont understand society issues, as have never experienced themselves.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  15. Bruce

    Voltaire's Rotting Corpse- I couldn't agree with you more.

    I have seen a bunch of letters starting out with "my so and so was 22 when he died. . . dada. . dada. . dada. . . "

    What have you done about it? Let me guess- you formed a community group, no doubt requiring dues and a director's board, maybe you even got another useless law passed and that's about it. I'm sure it made everyone feel better at the time.

    Did it ever occur to any one of you to ask where the drugs came from and hold them responsible? And I'm not talking about the 17 year old little entrepreneur that sold a twenty bag to your kid. I'm talking about the BIG shipments. I say if you're going to form any kind of group- form a class action lawsuit against these so called "heroes" in our many, many, many enforcement agencies. They are out there spending billions upon billions of your taxpayer dollars and aren't held accountable to anyone. It is our duty to put an end to it however painful it is, as American's.

    We don't live in a vacuum people. Statistics are useless because people lie. And the thing you people are looking to control is called "free will". Good luck with that.

    April 14, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  16. creeping

    and where does the heroin come from? much of it comes from the Taliban in Afghanistan but Holbrooke claims wiping out the crops used to make heroin was the biggest waste of US money he'd ever get ready for an increase in supply, more users, more deaths, and soon the price will be cheaper than a six pack of soda

    Creeping Sharia blog

    April 14, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  17. Sweetpoison

    Imagine stimulant drugs like cofffee and chocolate being illegal, Millions clamouring for their daily fix. Coffee and chocolate cartels forming across South America, Illegal chocolate factories popping up across the country,Coffee speakeasies in inconspicuous basements and hundreds of thousands imprisioned along with the other drug users. Let’s stop the war and return to common sense laws.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  18. Tunisia Lee

    For reasons like this, no drug should be legalized. I think it will cause confusion. I know a lot of people who think marijuana should be legal. Let's examine that idea.
    Someone gets pulled for being in possession of drugs. The police find out that it's pot. Because it's legal, the police can't do anything about it. They let them go. Marijuana nowadays can be laced with anything. Have you not seen "Training Day"? Imagine if this guys' pot was laced with heroin? The cops just let a bigger case go. Some other kid like Natalie Ciappa could run the risk of an overdose.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  19. Gail McLean

    This strikingly demonstrates what happens when we are not honest about what we tell our children about substance use.
    You can't die from an overdose of cannabis. When you put it it the same category as drugs you CAN die from, you are lying to our kids and they will know it. Then they won't believe you when you tell them about the things that CAN kill them and they won't take you seriously.
    You can die from heroin, cocaine, cigarettes, alcohol, prescription and over the counter drugs; the statistics are there for anyone to see.
    You can not die from an overdose of cannabis.
    Do you see the inconsistency here?

    April 14, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  20. silversurfer


    MANHATTAN— Baz Mohammad, 51, an Afghan heroin kingpin, and the first defendant ever extradited to the U.S. from Afghanistan, was sentenced this afternoon to 188 months imprisonment for managing an international narcotics-trafficking organization that imported millions of dollars of heroin into the U.S., announced Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Karen P. Tandy, the Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

    Former President George W. Bush previously designated Baz Mohammad as a foreign narcotics kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, which authorizes the President of the United States to make such designations when he determines that a foreign narcotics trafficker presents a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the U.S. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, authorized the extradition of Baz Mohammad to the U.S. in October 2005. On July 11, 2006, Baz Mohammad pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court. According to the Indictment, other documents filed in the case, and statements made during Mohammad's guilty plea:

    Between 1990 and 2005, Mohammad led an international heroin-trafficking organization responsible for manufacturing and distributing millions of dollars worth of heroin in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The organization then arranged for the heroin to be transported from Afghanistan and Pakistan into the U.S., including to New York City, hidden inside suitcases, clothing, and containers. Once the heroin arrived in the U.S., other members of the organization received and distributed the heroin. These co-conspirators then arranged for millions of dollars in heroin proceeds to be laundered back to Mohammad and other members of the organization, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The organization, closely aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan, provided financial support to the Taliban during the course of the conspiracy. More specifically, between 1994 and 2000, the organization collected heroin proceeds in the U.S. for the Taliban. In exchange for its financial support, the Taliban provided the organization protection for its opium crops, heroin laboratories, drug-transportation routes, and members and associates.

    In 1990, Mohammad discussed heroin trafficking with other members of the organization in his Karachi, Pakistan, residence. During the meeting, Mohammad told his co-conspirators that selling heroin in the U.S. was a “jihad” because they were taking the Americans’ money and the heroin was killing them.

    This case was the result of the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), working together under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as well as the Afghanistan Counter Narcotics Police and the Interior Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Mr. Garcia praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, the FBI, ICE, the NYPD, and the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police.

    “Baz Mohammad is a narcotics kingpin whose drug organization, operating under the protection of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, made millions of dollars from the sale of heroin in the United States," said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia. “Today's sentencing is a gratifying conclusion to an important prosecution that would not have been possible without unprecedented cooperation between law enforcement authorities in the United States and Afghanistan.”

    “The sentencing of Haji Baz Mohammad - the first person ever extradited from Afghanistan to the United States - demonstrates both our nations' resolve to destroy the hold opium lords have on Afghanistan,” said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy. “This drug kingpin bragged that he waged jihad against Americans by poisoning them with his heroin. His attack was unconventional, and his massive drug profits funded the Taliban and other extremist organizations dedicated to destroying freedom and justice. Today, as Mohammad loses his own freedom, he begins a long, hands-on lesson in the certainty of American justice.”

    The prosecution of Baz Mohammad is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Boyd M. Johnson III, Amy Finzi, and Jocelyn Strauber are in charge of the prosecution.

    April 14, 2009 at 5:01 am |
  21. RSvit

    I know its only a CNN Blog , but I honestly didn't think there were this much Civic Integrity left in America .

    I mistook silence for extinction , my bad.

    April 14, 2009 at 4:43 am |
  22. Ed Trujillo

    After reading dozens of takes from change nothing to legalize everything, it occurred to me that perhaps a more widely backed approach would be to first rank illegal drugs by lethality. Once all agencies involved agree on these rankings, legalization can be approached on a piecemeal basis; first at the least lethality ranking, thus pushing out educational information bow wave from the period of implementation at that ranking. Then, using lessons learned from that process, moving up the ladder in the order of lethality and using the lessons learned from implementation at the previous rung. Evolutionary rather than evolutionary. Sad to read of so many children's lives wasted to the every more powerful cartels distributing ever more powerful and cheaper drugs of all lethality rankings.

    April 14, 2009 at 2:36 am |
  23. thespiritdog

    This sadly has gradually become an all to common problem. If you suspect your child is using drugs, there are plenty of drug test kits available at most major pharmacies. Buy a drug kit and ask them to take the test, better yet if your kid says no then make them take the test. And if you can't get them to take the test, there is no clearer answer of their drug use.

    This is there life, so what if they get upset with you.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:03 am |
  24. bren


    I have never in all my 30 some odd years seen or been offered a black market tobacco cigarette and i am sure if pot were legal i wouldnt be able to find a black market joint for very long. Who would want a bag of home grown stuff when you could get a better quality product prepacked and rolled for you?

    April 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  25. BrianMan

    All adults have the right to put whatever they want into their own bodies. It is not the government's job to protect adults from themselves. Only the complete legalization of ALL drugs would end the government's denial of the right to own your body and mind. Npt to mention, that ending the War on Drugs would save money and the lives of innocents killed by gangs or even the police.

    April 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  26. Voltaire's Rotting Corpse

    To Philo: That's the best you've got. *Yawn*

    "Just 'cause we're 'Merican's, that excuses everything. America! F**k, yeah!!!! Love it, or leave it, Baby!!! HEEE-HAWWWW!!!"

    Thanks for proving me right, in so few words. Obviously, I must have struck a nerve, if that's the best counter-point you can muster.

    April 13, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  27. Sam Stout

    Heroin is not that cheap!

    April 13, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  28. Jeff Price

    Look at all the dopers lined up to say "If only dope were legal this tragedy wouldn't have happened"

    Go back to your twinkies pot heads.

    The controlled substances we have today are more addictive than alcohol. Why do you need drugs? Have you thought about that? You like funding drug cartels? You have a constitutional right to fund the taleban?


    Grow up! Heroine is brutally addictive. If kids get it many will die. Period.
    Execute smugglers and dealers. Then you can avoid the prison overcrowding theat seems hurt some peoples feelings. It's too good for them anyway.

    April 13, 2009 at 8:32 pm |
  29. nostawetan

    Beer tastes better than Heroin, too. At least we think so. I thought this post would speak a little more about beer, which is why I clicked from out site I promise that we mention beer quite a bit. By the way, I'm not trying to be a prick, just telling you why I clicked.

    April 13, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  30. Philo

    To Voltaire's Rotting Corpse. It may not be perfect, but it's better than most other places on this earth. Suggest you go find one that's better and move there.

    April 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  31. DaveR

    I applaud peoples effort to make a better life for children. I guess I don't have much pity on those that have the privilege of affluence in our culture. I found that I researched drugs before taking them and knew that heroin was far more dangerous then pot. Some people have been mentioning the prevalence of pain killers on the scene and how they contribute to the addiction cycle. I have friends growing up that were poor and tried solvents to get high. There will always be a substance to abuse. The poor in or society have been dealing with crime and drugs for a long time. I think it is rather telling that affluent folk now have the power to make laws in the name of their dead children. I have always thought that affluence was protection from drug addiction. I mean how many ipods or zunes do you need to make yourself happy in this day and age? Can it be that hard to deal with the pressures of growing up when you are advantaged? I wasn't poor growing up but I did feel the need to try marijuana, I just knew I didn't want to waste my life on the hard stuff. Can we teach the difference between alittle high and addicted? Or is it all of nothing? Seems to me if it is all or nothing you will never win as you make expectations so high that children feel they can't fail. IS drug education like abstinence education, a complete failure?

    April 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  32. Mike from ID

    Take a look at Portugal's efforts to decriminalize drugs and the effect it has had. I'm not going to say what I think about it one way or another – I just think people should observe what has happened in Portugal and allow the empirical evidence to influence their decision instead of logically inconsistent drib-drub.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  33. Voltaire's Rotting Corpse

    These "for the children" laws annoy me. They are often useless, counter-productive, and amount to shameless attention whoring for grieving parents, as well as grand-standing by those in office making political capital out of unfortunate tragedy.

    It's a shame when any young person dies. However, to assuage the heavy shackles of parental guilt through pointless or ill-conceived legislation has become so commonplace and more patently superficial, that I think such endeavors tend to evoke more eyerolls than sympathy - and rightfully so.

    Maybe I'm cynical, but do the people supporting what equates to a something of a sex offender-style registry for drug arrests really think that anything is going to change? I have my doubts.

    What is the next logical step? I already see where this will end up. We'll start putting the photos and personal information of all convicted drug offenders on probation or enrolled in any rehabilitation program on the Internet. This will allow the "good" parents and the interested public to know who the "lepers" are, as well as where they reside, work, and go to school.

    That would be pretty awesome. That'll really show those drug users a thing or two! Let's further marginalize them - pushing them further into their own negative cycle of addiction, by putting them on display - all in the spirit of protecting children, of course.

    Let's make their lives even more miserable by making them forever pay for their mistakes and misdeeds. After all, we are a nation tough on crime.

    Where will it ever end? Drunk drivers? Tax cheats? Jaywalkers? How about petty thieves? Ooohh, I know, people who blare their car radios in urban areas at 2 AM. Those people are jerks! They, too, deserve public embarrassment.

    Give everyone who commits even the slightest offense a Scarlet Letter, viewable through electronic techno-wizardry. This way, we can all sleep a little better at night, warm and secure in our smug self-righteousness.

    Increasingly, our legislation is guided by irrationality and emotion, not common sense or appropriate measure. Rather, we have become a nation weak on justice.

    Enjoy your Police State, folks. I hope your precious snowflakes enjoy the living hell you'll surely construct for them, one stupid law at a time.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  34. Voltaire's Rotting Corpse

    These "for the children" laws annoy me. They are often useless, counter-productive, and amount to shameless attention whoring for grieving parents, as well as grand-standing by those in office making political capital out of unfortunate tragedy.

    It's a shame when any young person dies. However, to assuage the heavy shackles of parental guilt through pointless or ill-conceived legislation has become so commonplace and more patently superficial, that I think such endeavors tend to evoke more eyerolls than sympathy - and rightfully so.

    Maybe I'm cynical, but do the people supporting what equates to a something of a sex offender-style registry for drug arrests really think that anything is going to change? I have my doubts.

    What is the next logical step? I already see where this will end up. We'll start putting the photos and personal information of all convicted drug offenders on probation or enrolled in any rehabilitation program on the Internet. This will allow the "good" parents and the interested public to know who the "lepers" are, as well as where they reside, work, and go to school.

    That would be pretty awesome. That'll really show those drug users a thing or two! Let's further marginalize them - pushing them further into their own negative cycle of addiction, by putting them on display - all in the spirit of protecting children, of course.

    Let's make their lives even more miserable by making them forever pay for their mistakes and misdeeds. After all, we are a nation tough on crime.

    Where will it ever end? Drunk drivers? Tax cheats? Jaywalkers? How about petty thieves? Ooohh, I know, people who blare their car radios in urban areas at 2 AM. Those people are jerks! They, too, deserve public embarrassment.

    Give everyone who commits even the slightest offense a Scarlet Letter, viewable through electronic techno-wizardry. This way, we can all sleep a little better at night, warm and secure in our smug self-righteousness.

    Increasingly, our legislation is guided by irrationality and emotion, not common sense or appropriate measure. Rather, we have become a nation weak on justice.

    Enjoy your police state, Folks! I hope your precious snowflakes enjoy the living hell you're constructing for them, one stupid law at a time.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  35. Bills Cat

    Prohibition didn't work; it simply created and financed Organized Crime that still exists today. The War On Drugs is a silly farce that costs taxpayers billions each year. It's no longer a matter whether people morally approved of drugs - kids are dying and creeps are getting wealthy by supplying them with drugs. Not everyone was okay with the repeal of Prohibition, but it was far better than bootleggers gunning down rivals, and shoppers and kids, in the streets. Drugs are here to stay; it's time to accept that and get control over them.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  36. silversurfer

    And another thing. Why do my hard earned tax dollars have to be spent on paying for some hype/junkie to get a FREE(free for the junkie) hypodermic needle (rig)?

    Clown politicians....quit spending the money that you take from me via taxes to purchase somebody else a new hypodermic needle kit. That damn junkie/hype is just going to use that complementary (complementary for the hype) rig to inject the damned heroin that HELPS TO FUND THE DAMN TALIBAN WHO WANT ME DEAD.........aaaaarrrrgh.

    Damn fool politicians, taking my money away to buy a rig for some junkie so the hype can buy the junk that goes to buy the guns for the violent radical extremists who want to kill me and my family.

    I'm literally surrounded by's freakin' ZOMBIETIME folks. At least I am aware of this irrational, illogical 'horse-manure'........EEEEEYYYAAAAAA.....hey now.

    It's 'the Night of the Living Dead'......ZOMBIETIME. Let's stick needles into our veins so we can all vomit and then pass out. And while we're at it, we can assist murderous terrorists by buying the dope that they're sellin'......WOW, I'm SOOOOOO SMAAAART.

    Sheer ZOMBIETIME. Glad I'm not you junkie/hype. You're livin' a bassackwords existence and helping to fund radical elements within our world who are killing the troops who are PROTECTING YOUR SORRY ASS.......duh!

    Oblivious zombies....'the Night of the Living Dead'.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  37. Dave Culbertson, Mount Vernon, Ohio

    On Feb. 15, 2009, my wife, Ellen and I, lost a son to an accidental heroin overdose.Carl, 27, was a good son. He was active in sports, good in school, a witty sense of humor; very intelligent, and very popular. Following high school, he battled addictions for 8 yrs.

    Heroin & other drug use is rampant throughout Small Town America. Oprah just did a second show about our area.

    We've started an outreach program in Carl's honor & interest is growing. We have founded the Arms of an Angel Foundation as an outreach to youth & parents about the evils of drugs and drug addiction, with a special emphasis onSmall Town America. We want to develop positive strategies to drug use for parents and youth...things to help them feel good about themselves & to encourage positive peer pressure.

    We are reaching out to other families and people who have suffered similar losses & hope to tap their specialties, skills & resources.

    We envision using the magnetic power of sports & entertainment celebrities to reach out to youth, to assist with fundraisers, or to donate items for our benefit auctions or to speak to groups with us.

    We are doing this so our son Carl's loss will not be in vain, as well as the thousands of other lost loved ones to the ravages of drug addiction. If we save one family from going through what we just went through with the loss of our son, Carl, to accidental heroin overdose, it will be worth it...but we don't want to stop there...we want to help thousands of families in the coming years, nationwide.

    Open to suggestions on directions our organization should take and other ways to help. Feel free to e-mail this to any people or media you can think of...

    Bless you,

    Dave Culbertson (under construction)

    April 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  38. Zello

    "Heroin cheaper than six-pack of beer"

    Thanks for reminding me, CNN! ;D

    April 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  39. Juan Zepeda

    I live in Nogales, Mexico, I was born here and have lived almost all of my life here, just left town when I went to college and grad school. Nogales is a border town with Nogales, AZ, Google it and you will probably find that this city is and important path for drug distribution to the U.S. Since I was very young I knew people that knew people involved in this crime. I wish I had the answer on how to fix this problem, I don't. But I wanted to share my comment with you because I have my doubts that legalizing drugs will be the answer. These people I believe are in the business because of the danger that it involves. I really don't see them getting prepared for an FDA audit to their facilities to check if their drug is good to use, besides who would write the rules? Drug users? Now that our government has launched a big war against drug dealers I understand that some of them are looking into another business: KIDNAPPING and HUMAN TRAFFICING. The only way youth and kids will stay away of drugs is by keeping them busy within the family circle meaning that parents need to do their job: LOVE THEIR CHILDREN, the only reason a person wants to use drugs is to avoid it's problems, and the only problem that a kid can have is the lack of LOVE in it's life. How to do that? Talk to them! Have a relationship with them, it doesn't matter if you fail you can try it again! LOVE THEM, and tell them constantly that you love them! SAY IT! Don’t just think it. Get involved in her/his life, know whom his/her friends are! DRUGS (WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE THEM NEAR) are not the problem; the problem is within the CONSUMER. Why do they use them? What problem do they have, that they want to avoid with the use of drugs? And I am not trying to lecture anyone, but analyze it! Why do people have addictions? Because they feel vulnerable, and why do they feel vulnerable because they do not feel or ever felt loved!

    April 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  40. Rob Thomas

    I think it is time for our population to discuss why certain drugs have flooded our country at bargain prices during certain times in our history. Though demand for drugs does drive supply, there are certain interesting supply "floods" not exactly correlated with demand. We need to figure out who has the power to supply drugs to our country and why/when they are doing it. Why, for instance, was cocaine flooding our nation during the 1980's at very low prices at the same time our government was executing and accelerating the "war on drugs"? Our society is just now grappling with the fallout of that flood of cocaine. Why, for instance, has heroin flooded our streets, while our government/military is conducting war in Afghanistan. Opium production and distribution to the US and Europe have increased dramatically since NATO invaded that country. Though the US government has incredulously made press releases claiming that it is desperately trying to eradicate the poppy growing which was supposedly encouraged under the Taliban government, cheap heroin is flooding our streets. The Taliban almost eradicated the poppy from Afghanistan. We need to ask finally how it is that in the times when government entities are taking massive amounts of public funds to lessen the supply to drugs to the US, the supply actually increases dramatically. Who is profiting and what part do they play in our government(s)?

    April 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  41. Matt

    Decriminalise it. Tax it. Educate the populous using the same "shock" ads we use for AIDS, Smoking and Domestic Violence.

    People on smack are sick, are anybody who's ever had an addict in their sharehouse would know. The dealers (pushers, not the dropkick pushing a few bags to fund their own habits) need to be punished, but by vilifying the addicts, all your are doing is pruning the leaves off the very tips of the tree. You have to ring-bark the trunk if you are going to kill it.

    And, remember 1920. Prohibition doesn't work.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  42. Mike

    I am 19 and I have lived on Long Island almost my whole life. When I was in high school I knew of people doing pot and rumors of people doing cocaine and maybe shrooms. It was unfathomable to think that people would be doing heroine. It is really crazy to think that heroine is so cheap and accessible now. I really hope none of my friends who are still in high school or going to college on Long Island are thinking about trying that stuff.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  43. Oh Well

    Legalizing any drug in the nation would do two things:

    First, create more idiots wandering the streets (oh yeah, we need that)

    Second, it would deeply cut into the pocketbooks of the elected officials and government agents making themselves rich of these illegal narcotics (the real reason no drug will ever be legalized)

    I would rather tend to agree JackB and take the route of the nations of Southeast Asia but make certain that anyone in either political office or an acting fiduciary of any state, federal, or local government caught in the act of; dealing or supporting traffickers be sentenced to death. You can through in the groups that are caught trafficking into that crowd and simply give them all the death sentence... the money saved could be spent on saving good citizens 401k's and homes..

    Stiffen the drug laws, require mandatory drug testing for ALL elected officials (Oval Office down to the Clerks in the local courts) along with, ALL Civil Servants and simply segregate the users from the dealers, sentence the users to work camps/farms producing foods and goods for citizens for life, and simply hang the rest... problem solved

    April 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  44. Brian Mcnaughton

    Prohibition is counter-productive. it makes the prohibited substance more attractive, especially to teens who want to rebel and prove their adulthood. Regulate, tax and dilute drugs, and make them available in restricted zones until the American population learns to trust itself and each other.

    Consciousness altering substances are attractive because altering consciousness is a natural urge among almost all humans around the world.

    Taking drug control out of the hands of law enforcement and putting it in the hands of public health officials is the true American way – freedom to choose for oneself. Some will prove to be incapable of dealing with addiction, and they should be forced into rehab through incentives.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  45. Mich

    As a former high school teacher, I watched some of my brightest students drop out of school because they began using the so-called "harmless" drug marijuana. I believe that decriminalizing marijuana would result in more kids trying it and subsequently losing their desire to succeed in school and pursue their ambitions. Our country needs future leaders who are focused and diligent. I don't care how much revenue could be collected by taxing the marijuana industry. The price of a desensitized mind is not worth it.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  46. Deborah AKA The Vocal Citizen

    For the love of God, we must stop all the chatter and have a national vote:

    Do you support the legalization of drugs, if all fatal drugs were regulated and prescribed by a doctor and if cannabis and its derivatives were legalized, regulated, and taxed for sale to persons over the age of 21?

    Period. It is SO important that CNN and other major news outlets continue this discussion. The problem will NEVER go away until We the People do the right thing and take control of the issue.
    Throwing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year at the problem has been tried for decades. It's time to save those tax dollars, remove the profitable market from the criminal element (who don't care what or to whom they sell), ease the strain on our law enforcement (see ), courts, and prisons, and earn tax revenues from the sale of non-lethal cannabis.
    In addition, jobs will be created while we enforce age restrictions through the wildly successful We Card Program.

    My 14-year-old daughter and her friends inform me that it's ridiculously easy for them to get illicit drugs at school which, as one friend pointed out yesterday, "... is good because you can't get beer or cigs because you hafta be carded".

    This chilled me to the core. These drug pushers on our street corners and in the schoolyard want the MONEY, not I.D. The only way to hinder these sales is to regulate and control these substances.

    Regardless of President Obama's PERSONAL feelings on the issue, he should take stock of what the American people want and do as we ask. Forget the special interest groups. Forget the fact that the DEA will have to shift personnel. Let the DEA keep their agents, so long as they commit to cleaning up the residual drug law violators AFTER the U.S. gets some common sense in our drug policy!

    It's past time!

    April 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  47. Jon

    Darwinian Theory will take care of the problem. So the US needs to legalize drugs, develop a distribution system and revenue basis from the sale of the products. Use the monies for health care. The drug tax money should be large enough to reduce the average cost of medical support for all non-using Americans. Possibly it could even become free for all non-users.

    Here is how it might work. When you go to get health or dental care, everyone would need to pee in the cup. If you test positive, you need to be prepared to pay or go away. If you test negative you would be paid for.

    Eventually, the users would diminish through attrition. Sad but better than having junkies shooting up everyone including law abiding people for drugs. The only downside would be to Dunkin Donuts. I can foresee a dramatic reduction in their poppy seed bagels.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  48. Joe in NJ

    "Richard Rankin April 13th, 2009 1:33 pm ET

    Taliban is in charge in Afghanistan, no opium is produced. Americans come in, take over and opium production through the roof, world is flooded with heroin. Something wrong with this picture."

    Yes, what's wrong is how uninformed you are. Opium production flourished under the Taliban before 9/11. When we first went in there, we disrupted the production line. Now that the Taliban are regaining their foothold, opium production is on the rise.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  49. David

    If people are stupid enough to use drugs, then no great loss if they take themselves out of the gene pool. Make drug sales a capital crime and get rid of the scum bags, instead of clogging up the prison system. Maybe some people will think this is harsh, but it makes more sense for the general public not to have to put up with the problems associated with the drug problem.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  50. matthew

    This will go and go and go. They'll never legalize weed, and certainly not heroin. So we're all left to twist in the wind. People squawk about 'educating' the 'kids', they aren't kids and the people that are doing the educating don't have a clue what they're talking about. "Don't do it"! doesn't work, it never has or will. I've been in the middle of this stupid war on drugs for 20 years and it's way worse now. Meth is the only exeption, compared to ten years ago that nightmare really seems dissolved.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  51. BK

    Ironically if heroin were legal like cigarettes or beer, it would be more tightly controlled, harder to get by children, and far more expensive since it would be heavily taxed. As foolish as it is to use it, one has to wonder.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  52. Pancho Villa

    I don't favor the legalization of drugs because I'm rich. I sell my drugs to you stupid americans, I take the money out of your local communities and send it home, and I laugh and choke on my taco when you arrest and send to jail your own citizens. Ha Ha Ha! Viva Zapata!!!

    April 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  53. Meh

    freeb> It's obvious by your comment that you are not really familiar at all w. the effects of mj. You can't really equate alcohol w. mj, for one thing. They are two entirely different animals. Alchohol causes impairment whilst driving, whereas mj causes the user to be extremely dilligant at the task at hand. As far as I know, there are no documented instances of stoned people killing others in car accidents.
    As for your anti-legalization argument: more people won't be doing it just b/c it's legal. It's quite easy to obtain if one wants it. Some people just prefer not to & will still prefer not to even if it is legal. Ciggies are readily available and legal and I don't smoke.

    I feel really bad for the parents of this girl. Let's help addicts instead of throwing them in prisons!

    April 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  54. Charles

    The reason why kids try drugs is because they think the drugs are harmless. A teen might go and smoke a joint filled with weed, and see how harmless it really is. When they clearly see that something like weed is considered bad, then they are duped into thinking that heroin and meth are acceptable.

    All the U.S. needs to do is make weed legal for all users 21 and over, and regulate just like the alcohol industry. The problem is the alcohol industry is afraid legal weed would hurt their profits, and the higher ups in the alcohol industry have Washington's ear. It's all political nonsense.

    NO ONE has ever died from a weed overdose, yet a person can die from too much alcohol, or even too much of the "good" drugs like Tylenol.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  55. Matthew Sobel

    I live in Los Angeles ... i smell reefer on every block of my street. Everyone signs a form saying they will contribute. Shlalom.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  56. Washington State

    What disturbs me out of these 300 plus comments is that very few – maybe 3 – discuss education starts at home. Why are these people seeking out drugs to escape? People are making excuses for legalizing these types of drugs or regulation will solve the problem, but really – teaching kids to deal with their problems substance free and recognizing when and why's of reaching for a donut, needle or bottle – will teach them to deal with their problems/stress instead of wishing them away. Child rearing takes work and thought – love isn't enough.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  57. Matthew Sobel

    The girl next door is like every heroin user? Get real. This is more inflammatory bs aimed to get americans behind the 'war on drugs'. The WOD was masterminded to keep feudal southern land owners increasing desire for revenue streams fueled. That is the only reason... power and cash. I'm Matthew Sobel and I tell it how it is. Shlalom baby.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  58. Relative of Addict

    I have had several relatives and friends who were addicts. Opiates are by far the most insidious and detrimental. You cannot tell if someone is just tired or depressed when they are using opiates. They just become more and more withdrawn. Then they begin disappearing for long periods of time along with things that are valuable and not secured – golf clubs, computers, cameras, jewelry, cash anything.

    It gets far worse than that and I have a hundred horror stories. Drugs will politicize families and tear them apart. Usually this divide develops between the 'tough love, rock bottom, ostracize' group vs. the 'support, therapy, hand-holding' group. There are pitfalls to both mindsets and either side may prove to have a more effective strategy. The only way to find out is either through tragedy or elation. But no matter what, there is always pain along the way.

    Parents need to take their blinders off and spend time with their children. Whether it is conversation or activity in or outside the home it must be done. There is no other way to discover what state of mind your child is in than spending time with them. And there is no substitute for love and support in the formative years.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  59. JackB

    Instead of legalizing drugs, we should legalize beatings. Growing up in an asian family, I was scared to death of my dad's belt, wooden sticks, etc. Or do what Indonesia does with drug dealers...they kill them.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  60. Eric

    Tobacco is part of the reason we won the Revolutionary War. Back in Virginia, in the late 1700's, this was our only crop. Today you people demonize smoking tobacco, even though this nation is standing today because of our tobacco exports.

    Alcohol is just a synthetic man-made drug that people demanded to use during the 1920s. It's not legal because it's less dangerous. It's legal because people wouldn't have it any other way.

    Now we're telling you! We want marijuana legal also! It's a plant with well-documented use dating back hundreds or possibly even thousands of years.

    No, just because it's a plant, doesn't mean it's ok. There are many poisonous plants. However marijuana isn't one of them.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  61. Lenny

    Prohibition is an excellent method of governance for children, not adults. It's a deep and abiding mystery to me how distaste for it came to be thought of as a 'liberal' viewpoint when one of prohibition's most vocal opponents was the founder of the modern Conservative movement and the personal political mentor to Ronald Reagan.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  62. Adam Law

    Forget the Marijuana ads. Kids are jumping to Meth and Heroin faster than the old "gateway" theory would suggest.

    However, if you can't get proper education about the stuff try viewing "Requiem for a Dream" directed by Darren Aronofsky. That'll make you stop doing just about any drug.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  63. Steve

    If people want a Huxley's "Brave New World", more power to them. When I was 15, my 13 year old POT addicted friend warned me never to try because once you pick up the pipe, you might neve put it down. He was dead 2 years later.

    My brother was a social worker who spent a number of years attempting to rehab the worse alcoholics. These were street people who had lost everything. He warned me never to give them money as they would use it for alcohol and drink themselves to death. Needless to say, their 5 year success rate was worse then type IV lung cancer.

    Regardless of whether drugs are legalized or not or which ones, the more controled substances you throw out there, the greater the likelyhood of destroying lives. The human being is the most complex machine we know. There are some people who can walk away from Meth, Heroin, and Cocaine. Yet it is alcohol that is their demon. The problem with legalizing more and more is you are accepting that society must take a loss that will be measured in lives. If we condone that the best way to get pleasure out of life is through a chemical even as harmless as Huxley's SOMA then lets just supply the bullets also. Life through chemicals never works.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  64. Steve

    How would legalized drugs have saved the girl in the article? If the addiction is so lethal that it drives people to ruin their lives when it's illegal, how will their lives be less ruined if it's legal?

    As for the assumption that criminal organizations will just walk away from billions in easy money with the stroke of a legislative pen – come on, you have got to be kidding! This notion is just laughable. The push in the illegal channel will just shift to higher potency, or larger quantities, or the new-drug-of-the-week, with the legal channel only supplying the "recreational" user, or last year's drug of choice. Is there such a thing as a recreational heroin user, given the lethality?

    Has the drug war failed? Possibly, probably. But how much worse would the toll have been without it?

    April 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  65. Aimee

    Legalization will only "fix" the drug dealers getting rich off addicts – and instead the profits go into the pockets of who knows what government agency to mismanage the funds. There needs to be something done to "fix" the culture of boredom, despair, fear, etc. etc. that drives these kids to experiment with H in the first place. What is so darn awful and unrewarding about your life that you are willing to try something that you have been TOLD can kill you. Our kids are not stupid – there's something more to it than that. Find what it is that triggers the using to start, and fix THAT problem first. Addiction is a disease of the mind, the spirit, as well as the body. It's not something that can be cured simply by diagnosing and dispensing a "cure all". Less stigma on the disease of addiction, more help for people who need it. More help for parents to understand how to help their kids.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  66. Oh Well

    Legalize drugs? I don't think so... in fact, I think the laws should be stiffened only to recognize the real criminals and separate the victims.

    If think the death penalty should be doled out to drug dealers involved in any drug related death, and anyone in a position of authority that is involved in dealing narcotics should face the same if not life in prison...

    You start putting these dealers to sleep, this problem will go away.. the real problem is the surprising amount of involvement in trafficking via government resources... These people that are in fact in the employ of "we the people" should pay the ultimate for supporting and destroying the fabric of this nation...

    Corruption, and cash is what is fueling this disease. Mandatory random drug testing for ALL elected officials along with ALL civil servants "no strings attached" just go and give the sample, no warning.. If caught you lose it all just like these children that are dying every day are giving up... life, love and liberty

    April 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  67. Andy P

    Why does the US have so money drug problems? Canada, a more liberal, socially tolerant, and welfare state, and Mexico, a desperately poor with plenty of drugs (as most drugs transit or originate from there on there way to the) do not have, apparently, the same problems as the US does?

    April 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  68. Joe

    If you are stupid enough to use heroin or any other substance like that you then you deserve what happens to you. I don't want to hear the excuses as to why people do drugs.

    If we want to stop this from coming into our country we need to be willing to go the distance. Burn the damn poppy fields in Afghanistan and shoot all folks involved in growing, producing, transporting and selling the drugs. Destroy anything and everything that has to do with the drug cartels as well. No more political correctness, no more worrying about their "rights", etc. Use whatever amount of force is necessary to end it.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  69. Jason R

    I drug test my kids every week or so. I purchased the kits from Uritox Medical. It's not about trust it's about saving your childs life. Those of you who want to pretend like it's not around your kids, well lets just say you don't understand or you just want to ture a blind eye. Think of your children and about being a parent and not trying to be there friend.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
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