The Democrat agenda 2022 and going forward

GermanSuplex

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Read the transcript for yourself, you tell me if Biden's brains are scrambled or if he seems like a "forgetful old man". I'm not seeing much of either. Obviously, I'm aware I appear biased. Part of the frustrating thing about politics is that each side sounds like the other. "Biden just made a mistake, Trump just made a mistake! The republicans just want to harm Biden, the dems are just on a witch hunt!" On and on. Americans will just have to decide for themselves, as they always have.

Just to be clear here, if republicans assert that the Trump family don't have really bad memories, then they must be lying, because they "can't recall" just about anytime a prosecutor or lawyer questions them.

 

MEJHarrison

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I give them credit. They did try.


I was disappointed to see that. Especially since instead of adjusting things, they seem to have thrown their hands up in the air and gone back to the old system. They might have screwed the pooch trying to legalize things, but the old system is nothing to brag about either. It's not a win for addicts or tax payers. It's only a win for those who want to the police to clear the streets of the undesirables. It's a system that attempts to move those people out of the public view so that they can be forgotten and ignored.

It's like if we met in real life and spent all our time trying to decide if I should punch you or if you should punch me. It ignores others options like saying Hi, shaking hands or nodding at each other. The right answer is rarely at the extreme edges of our options.
 

Yoused

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they seem to have thrown their hands up in the air and gone back to the old system

As I recall, the original act of decriminalization was not put in place by the state but was the result of a public initiative vote. Rolling it back was a government action, but at least misdemeanors are not felonies.
 

Nycturne

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As I recall, the original act of decriminalization was not put in place by the state but was the result of a public initiative vote. Rolling it back was a government action, but at least misdemeanors are not felonies.

Yes, it’s worth pointing out that this new law also still wants emphasis on treatment:

It also establishes ways for treatment to be offered as an alternative to criminal penalties by encouraging law enforcement agencies to create deflection programs that would divert people to addiction and mental health services instead of the criminal justice system.

And honestly, this is what advocates against the war on drugs (like myself) want. Throwing an addicted user in jail doesn’t do a whole lot to cure the addiction, nor does it seem to work to “reduce demand” in a way that impacts the dealers’ bottom-line and discourage drug dealing. And stripping away a user’s rights over possession by charging it as a felony is extremely punitive, and in the long run makes it harder for them to return to a stable life (which in turn helps keep many in a cycle of addiction).

So it’s a little disappointing to see people be people, but at the very least it’s not a full walk-back towards heavy punitive measures that just lead to mass incarceration. I’m not that upset about this, as it means we are still learning and trying to find the right balance.
 

MEJHarrison

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The only part I have issue with is the language. It might not be a big deal, or it could be. This part bug me: "...by encouraging law enforcement agencies to create deflection programs..."

What the hell does "encouraging" mean in that context? Does it mean that they should offer treatment, but it's up to the law enforcement agency to create that program? What if the agency just says "no, we'd rather just lock them up and be done"?

"Encouraging" is not even close to "Required". Asking the law enforcement agencies to create treatment programs feels like a chef at a fancy restaurant asking the customers to prepare the food. That doesn't feel like the right group to be in charge of creating diversion programs. What do cops know about psychology?

I've not dug in a ton yet, but that phrasing is not ideal. Hopefully that's not an actual part of the new law and just turns out to be some journalist summarizing things poorly.
 

Nycturne

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The only part I have issue with is the language. It might not be a big deal, or it could be. This part bug me: "...by encouraging law enforcement agencies to create deflection programs..."

What the hell does "encouraging" mean in that context? Does it mean that they should offer treatment, but it's up to the law enforcement agency to create that program? What if the agency just says "no, we'd rather just lock them up and be done"?

"Encouraging" is not even close to "Required". Asking the law enforcement agencies to create treatment programs feels like a chef at a fancy restaurant asking the customers to prepare the food. That doesn't feel like the right group to be in charge of creating diversion programs. What do cops know about psychology?

Law enforcement is the first "point of contact" with addicts in many cases. In my mind, the goal should be that law enforcement leverages their position to provide routes through the system that aren't being thrown in front of a judge and pushing for a guilty plea. This can include using the legal system as a "stick" to the treatment program's "carrot" if necessary. That's what a deflection program in the quoted snippet would refer to.

NIH has papers that argue for similar: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2681083/

These interventions include therapeutic alternatives to incarceration, treatment merged with judicial oversight in drug courts, prison- and jail-based treatments, and reentry programs intended to help offenders transition from incarceration back into the community.8,18Through monitoring, supervision, and threat of legal sanctions, the justice system can provide leverage to encourage drug abusers to enter and remain in treatment.


I've not dug in a ton yet, but that phrasing is not ideal. Hopefully that's not an actual part of the new law and just turns out to be some journalist summarizing things poorly.

We will see how it plays out, mostly because law enforcement's incentives don't always line up with the intent of a law, even when it is specified. e.g. body cameras. So even if deflection programs are called for, we will see how often DAs and officers actually leverage it, versus trying to make their numbers.
 

MEJHarrison

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We will see how it plays out, mostly because law enforcement's incentives don't always line up with the intent of a law, even when it is specified. e.g. body cameras. So even if deflection programs are called for, we will see how often DAs and officers actually leverage it, versus trying to make their numbers.

Yeah, that's the end result. Make changes. See what happens.

I get the point now about how the police can steer them in one direction or another. I'd like to think that would be used for good. Sadly my opinion of police in general isn't what it once was. So we'll have to see how it works out.

The good news is at least the people of my state are trying. A swing and a miss sucks, but hopefully they'll zero in on the right solution.
 

Herdfan

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Yes, it’s worth pointing out that this new law also still wants emphasis on treatment:



And honestly, this is what advocates against the war on drugs (like myself) want. Throwing an addicted user in jail doesn’t do a whole lot to cure the addiction,

I think one thing that irritates me when it comes to this issue is that not every one who uses is an addict. Sure plenty are, but many aren't. Same with alcohol. Not everyone who drinks needs to go to AA.

It is a left over mentality from the "War on Drugs".
 

MEJHarrison

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I think one thing that irritates me when it comes to this issue is that not every one who uses is an addict. Sure plenty are, but many aren't. Same with alcohol. Not everyone who drinks needs to go to AA.

It is a left over mentality from the "War on Drugs".

I'm not at all sure I see the point you're trying to make. I agree that not everyone is an addict. Are you saying that group should be exempt from treatment? I think I'd agree with that point of view. If you're supporting hard drugs just for kicks, then it seems like perhaps a night in jail, a fine or whatever is the more appropriate action. Treatment would be a waste of time, money and resources if you're not addicted.
 

Nycturne

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I'm not at all sure I see the point you're trying to make. I agree that not everyone is an addict. Are you saying that group should be exempt from treatment? I think I'd agree with that point of view. If you're supporting hard drugs just for kicks, then it seems like perhaps a night in jail, a fine or whatever is the more appropriate action. Treatment would be a waste of time, money and resources if you're not addicted.

I'd agree that when a "you were going 5 over" traffic stop becomes a felony drug bust, that's different from someone where life events have led them into drug addiction (or vice versa) and they encounter law enforcement as a result of those events.

That said, I'm willing to defer to research on how different drugs should be approached. In terms of addiction, different drugs work differently, and historically we've sucked at understanding the impacts of each because once they are made illegal, then research is extremely difficult.
 

GermanSuplex

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April 4, Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

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Herdfan

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I'm not at all sure I see the point you're trying to make. I agree that not everyone is an addict. Are you saying that group should be exempt from treatment? I think I'd agree with that point of view. If you're supporting hard drugs just for kicks, then it seems like perhaps a night in jail, a fine or whatever is the more appropriate action. Treatment would be a waste of time, money and resources if you're not addicted.

It seems the choices are binary: jail or rehab. Why not a third choice of simply leave people alone.

If some guy and his wife want to take shrooms and get freaky on the weekend in their own house, then why bother them.

Perhaps a fine would be appropriate, or maybe just confiscation. But no one should go to jail for usage or possession.


That said, I'm willing to defer to research on how different drugs should be approached. In terms of addiction, different drugs work differently, and historically we've sucked at understanding the impacts of each because once they are made illegal, then research is extremely difficult.

Cannabis is legal in almost half of the US, but still can't be researched because it is illegal federally. This would be an easy fix but there is still the stigma surrounding it so I figure Alabama will be legal before the federal government acts.
 

MEJHarrison

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If some guy and his wife want to take shrooms and get freaky on the weekend in their own house, then why bother them.

While I agree with you on this one, I do think the "why bother them?" question has an easy answer. They're supporting the illegal drug trade and keep scumbags in business. They might be selling one couple a fun evening, but they're selling most people death. So while I'm fine with the leave me alone attitude, you have to at least accept that those folks are part of the problem.
 

Yoused

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While I agree with you on this one, I do think the "why bother them?" question has an easy answer. They're supporting the illegal drug trade and keep scumbags in business. They might be selling one couple a fun evening, but they're selling most people death. So while I'm fine with the leave me alone attitude, you have to at least accept that those folks are part of the problem.

Except, mushrooms, ayuhasca, peyote, LSD, those things do not kill people (the stories you hear about bad trips are way outlying). They really cause minimal health problems and are not physically addictive.

Meth, coke and opiates/opiods are more problematic. Which is to say, "drugs" is a ridiculous catchall that puts nominally harmless substances in the same category as the stuff that causes real physical and social issues, and the health effects can place a burden on our healthcare system.

Yes, the dealers are the problem, and the Oregon experiment does not, AIUI, exempt dealers from prosecution for felonies. How the dangerous criminal element can be eliminated from this remains a difficult question. But police busting random heads does not seem like the most effective solution.
 

Roller

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Except, mushrooms, ayuhasca, peyote, LSD, those things do not kill people (the stories you hear about bad trips are way outlying). They really cause minimal health problems and are not physically addictive.
As well, their criminalization has prevented, or at least made quite difficult, research on how these drugs can be used to treat depression and other conditions.
 

Herdfan

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While I agree with you on this one, I do think the "why bother them?" question has an easy answer. They're supporting the illegal drug trade and keep scumbags in business. They might be selling one couple a fun evening, but they're selling most people death. So while I'm fine with the leave me alone attitude, you have to at least accept that those folks are part of the problem.

Prosecute the dealers to the full extent of the law. But not all drugs come from dealers. It is easy enough to grow your own cannabis and mushrooms at home.

I wonder how many of you are reading my posts and thinking WTH? But I guess it is more my Libertarian slant coming out, but my position is also based on an experience from one of my best friends in college.

I was in HS in the early 80's and college in the mid 80's right in the middle of the "War on Drugs". Nancy Reagan & Just Say No and "This is your brain" commercials. So my friend got popped with a baggie of weed on his way to a fraternity retreat. Just about lost everything. Arrested, kicked out of college, threatened with real jail time for "distribution" and the shame he felt from disappointing his parents.

Things could have gone way south for him except he did have understanding parents who helped him. He managed to get into a diversion program (ie rehab), he worked for a year saving money (he also lost his scholarship) and managed to get back into college. But he ended up 2 years behind the rest of us. So he lost 2 years of early earnings and had trouble getting a real job because of his arrest. There was no reason for him to have been arrested. None. He wasn't hurting anyone nor was he going to by smoking weed with some brothers out in the woods. He is doing fine now, but he also could just as easily not.



Except, mushrooms, ayuhasca, peyote, LSD, those things do not kill people (the stories you hear about bad trips are way outlying). They really cause minimal health problems and are not physically addictive.

Meth, coke and opiates/opiods are more problematic. Which is to say, "drugs" is a ridiculous catchall that puts nominally harmless substances in the same category as the stuff that causes real physical and social issues, and the health effects can place a burden on our healthcare system.

Yes, the dealers are the problem, and the Oregon experiment does not, AIUI, exempt dealers from prosecution for felonies. How the dangerous criminal element can be eliminated from this remains a difficult question. But police busting random heads does not seem like the most effective solution.

And you can pin a lot of the opiates/opioids problems on big pharma. When I was in WV a pill mill got busted for opioids, specifically Oxy. So while the pill mill was the one who got busted, the pharma companies should have stopped it. There is no reason to sell 30M, yes 30M pills, into a few towns who's population is under 3,500 people. Was no one watching this? No one paying attention?


As well, their criminalization has prevented, or at least made quite difficult, research on how these drugs can be used to treat depression and other conditions.

Exactly. @Yoused's list looks like a Schedule I list of substances. Not harmless, but not going to kill you. But down on Schedule II is Meth. Which can be used to treat ADD. We have no idea what medical uses any of the Schedule I drugs could do because research can't be done.

And for the stupidest law, I can buy a 24 pill box of Zyrtek-D (Sudafed) every 30 days. What do I do for the other 6 days? I take a half a pill every day so my wife can have a full one.
 

Nycturne

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Which is to say, "drugs" is a ridiculous catchall that puts nominally harmless substances in the same category as the stuff that causes real physical and social issues, and the health effects can place a burden on our healthcare system.

Exactly. Cigarettes are somehow treated as "good and fine" despite the additives being thrown in to give a greater "kick" and make them more addictive. Opioids are addictive enough to lead to an epidemic of addicts. How we draw the line is arbitrary, and I absolutely want to see that change.

It seems the choices are binary: jail or rehab. Why not a third choice of simply leave people alone.

If some guy and his wife want to take shrooms and get freaky on the weekend in their own house, then why bother them.

I think it boils down to: When does a situation deserve intervention. Not all drugs are as harmless as your examples, but enough are that we are definitely over-criminalizing drug use. For me, I still favor decriminalization (and regulation), but I'm also open to the idea that if an addict is coming into contact with law enforcement where that addiction is playing a part in either them being down and out, or keeping them down and out, that pushing towards rehab is an acceptable outcome. If the "stick" of a misdemeanor is needed to get people the help they need, so be it. I don't honestly know exactly how to strike that balance.

I don't care of some guy and his wife takes shrooms in their own house, but I'd also expect that they aren't coming into regular contact with law enforcement as a result, either. When we talk about overdoses on the rise, these are situations where intervention is a lot easier to warrant, because clearly something went off the tracks and nearly killed a person.

Cannabis is legal in almost half of the US, but still can't be researched because it is illegal federally. This would be an easy fix but there is still the stigma surrounding it so I figure Alabama will be legal before the federal government acts.

Well aware, and it's part of the problem. We've walled it off not based on actual harms, but scaremongering that turned into policy. I want us to be able to research and understand the benefits and harms so we can make more useful policy decisions.

I was in HS in the early 80's and college in the mid 80's right in the middle of the "War on Drugs". Nancy Reagan & Just Say No and "This is your brain" commercials. So my friend got popped with a baggie of weed on his way to a fraternity retreat. Just about lost everything. Arrested, kicked out of college, threatened with real jail time for "distribution" and the shame he felt from disappointing his parents.

Yeah, that's absolutely BS, in my book.

And you can pin a lot of the opiates/opioids problems on big pharma. When I was in WV a pill mill got busted for opioids, specifically Oxy. So while the pill mill was the one who got busted, the pharma companies should have stopped it. There is no reason to sell 30M, yes 30M pills, into a few towns who's population is under 3,500 people. Was no one watching this? No one paying attention?

My tongue-in-cheek reply to this is to ask: Isn't this the sort of environment that companies are looking to cultivate when they oppose regulation of their industry, though?

My more serious reply: I agree on the origins of the problem, however, the question then becomes, how do we get the folks who are now addicted help? Especially if the addiction pushes them to make irrational choices? Some will actively get help, and that's good, but others can very well wind up in situations where they won't, and it can get worse, leading them to encounter law enforcement for related reasons. I would hope those folks can get into a treatment program rather than having the book thrown at them. And it's possible we need some stick to do it, if the carrot alone isn't enough to overcome the effects of the addiction.
 

Herdfan

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Exactly. Cigarettes are somehow treated as "good and fine" despite the additives being thrown in to give a greater "kick" and make them more addictive. Opioids are addictive enough to lead to an epidemic of addicts. How we draw the line is arbitrary, and I absolutely want to see that change.

Don't forget one of the most harmful drugs out there that is given a complete pass - Alcohol. Advertised and promoted everywhere and it's OK.

I think it boils down to: When does a situation deserve intervention. Not all drugs are as harmless as your examples, but enough are that we are definitely over-criminalizing drug use.

Which goes back to my original point, not every drug user is an addict. So sending someone to rehab because the smoke a J once a month is just as stupid as putting them in jail.
 

Nycturne

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Don't forget one of the most harmful drugs out there that is given a complete pass - Alcohol. Advertised and promoted everywhere and it's OK.

It's also a drug where it's so embedded in the social fabric that I don't see it going anywhere. I mean, we've been drinking alcohol since the agricultural revolution, and at times alcohol was safer than water.

Which goes back to my original point, not every drug user is an addict. So sending someone to rehab because the smoke a J once a month is just as stupid as putting them in jail.

Which, if you quoted the rest of the point I was making there (context matters), you'd see I don't actually disagree with this. But I'm mostly saying that we need some process for the cases where there is more going on. That's where this shift seems to be coming from.

Like, I'm not excited about the new Oregon law, I just have a little optimism because it doesn't appear to be a full 180. My long term hope is that as things get better understood, this law also gets walked back to a better point of balance.
 
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