Questions and Soundbites
See http://www.mapinc.org/17ques.htm It's a collection of 17 hard hitting questions on the drug war.
Also the soundbites below may be helpful
Sound Bites from "The War on Drugs"
Sound bite # 1) By continuing the "War on Drugs" we're protecting our children.
Then why, after 30 years of failure and hundreds of billions of wasted dollars, can virtually every child in America buy illegal drugs at will?
Sound bite # 2) Reforming drug laws will send a dangerous message to our children.
What message are we sending to an inner city child that sees drug deals on his way to school every day? The worst message we can send to children is lying to them thereby undermining our credibility and the drug war is based on fabrications, inaccuracies and outright falsehoods.
Sound bite # 3) Marijuana is a dangerous drug and should be defined as a schedule one (most dangerous) drug.
More people die from aspirin overdose and being struck by lightening than die from marijuana use. All drugs carry some danger, but according to DEA's own administrative law judge Francis Young after conducting a 2 year intensive study of marijuana concluded that, "Marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to man."
Sound bite # 4) Reforming drug laws will mean a huge increase in drug abusers.
For the first 130 years of the existence of the United States there were no laws whatever regarding drugs or drug use and the per capita usage was lower than it is today by orders of magnitude. Youthful drug use was virtually unheard of only 50 years ago. How has the "War on Drugs" improved anything?
Sound bite # 5) All Drug users are drug abusers
The vast majority of drug users (more than 90%) use drugs recreationally or medicinally and suffer no long term debilitating side effects. Less than 10% develop chronic problems as a result of drug use and much less than that if you factor out the worst and most debilitating drug of abuse, alcohol. Fifty times more people die from automobile accidents than from drug overdose. Should we prohibit driving?
Sound bite # 6) Only bad things result from any drug use.
Drug use should always be considered carefully by adults with a good knowledge of facts, science, and reason about both the positive and negative effects of any drug use (this does NOT mean the irrational unscientific propaganda and scare tactics often foisted upon the public by our "leaders"). A great deal of good has been accomplished by proper use of illegal drugs just as has been accomplished by the proper use of legal drugs. There are hundreds of benefits to be derived from the proper use of what are now illicit drugs from helping cancer and AIDS patients live longer and reduce nausea (marijuana) to exceptionally effective pain relief properties for terminal patients (heroin).
Sound bite # 7) The "War on Drugs" is effective. (We can win if you just give us more money).
With all factors combined, the war on drugs has cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Youthful drug use goes up with each increase in drug war costs. Despite billions of dollars wasted over many decades, all illicit drugs are easily available nationwide by both youth and adults alike. The "Drug War" cannot show ANY positive results after 70 years of wasted resources. Does throwing more money at it make logical sense?
Sound bite # 8) The Partnership For a Drug Free America (PDFA) is doing a good and valuable service for the country.
PDFA has mislead the American public. Even the name is deceptive. If PDFA wants a "drug free America" (an impossible objective) then why have they accepted money from alcohol and tobacco companies and why do they still admit, on their web page, to taking money from pharmaceutical (drug) companies?
Sound bite # 9) Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is helping to keep our kids off drugs
A recent University of Illinois study tracked hundreds of school children who took the DARE course in the fifth grade. The study found that the program generally had no effect on later drugs use, except in certain instances: Surprisingly, suburban students who took the DARE course were more likely to use drugs than their counterparts who didn't.
Sound bite # 10) We can and should continue to fight the "War on Drugs"
The "War on Drugs" has resulted in the US being the proud owner of the largest prison industrial complex on the planet. It has failed miserably by any rational standard. Virtually no objectively questioned individual, who does not have a personal interest in maintaining the "War on Drugs," will attempt to defend it. Our law enforcement and criminal justice systems have been all but destroyed by the war on drugs.
What Reformers can say
Sound bite #11) The drug war has created so many evil, if unintended, consequences that it no longer has much to do with drugs but rather with exploiting those evil consequences.
Since they are all directly related to the enormous wealth which has been created by protecting lucrative criminal monopolies over a span of decades, the keystone of any effective reform HAS to be eventual restoration of regulated legal markets for ALL agents.
Period. Tom O'Connell
Sound Bite # 12 Talk about "sensible regulation"
Sound Bite # 12) "We should regulate drugs according to their actual pharmacological risks, rather than their political risks."
Reporters are likely to take this to mean that cannabis gets rash treatment compared to alc and that heroin should be regulated more stringently than cannabis. It conveys a general sense of a rational policy without being pigeonholed. It implicitly links harsh laws to exaggerated rhetoric. And it's all pretty reasonable and digestible to a general audience. Paul Bischke
Sound bite # 13) We must replace intensive criminalization with sensible civil regulation."
It's gone over well whenever I've used it. It relabels both prohibitionist and antiprohibitionist policies, aptly casting us as moderate and rational and the warriors as extreme and harsh. It gives a little rest to the "war" cliches and, on our side, is neither as vague as "reform" nor as offputting as "legalization." Paul Bischke
Sound Bite #14: "Stop arresting users."
Here's a soundbite that's short, punchy, easy to understand, and best encapsulates what I think most of us really want. Chuck Thomas MPP
On George W. Bush:
Sound Bite #15: As guilty as he may be for having violated the drug
prohibition laws, he is guiltier yet of hypocrisy....
Sound Bite #16: There are over 13,000 people in Texas prisons for cocaine
Sound Bite #17: It is one thing to admit a brutal truth. But it is another altogether to come to terms with it. That is called courage, and I'm confident that George Bush has it.
Sound Bite #18&19: There are two principled ways out for Mr. Bush:
Governor Bush doesn't need to say anything. He could let his actions speak louder than words, by picking up the phone and commuting the sentences of prisoners whose crimes were no more serious than his.
On the drug war generally:
Sound Bite #20: How can you say we are fighting a war on drugs when we do
nothing about alcohol and tobacco, the drugs doing the most damage?
Sound Bite #21: Talking about drugs and ignoring alcohol and tobacco is like talking about oceans and ignoring the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Sound Bite #22: What is our strict objective in this drug war? Isn't it odd, that no president has ever enunciated just what it means to win the war, though every president of both parties has supported it enthusiastically?
Sound Bite #23: I don't have all the answers when it comes to drugs, and I don't think there's anybody who does. So maybe it's time we started to ask some questions, instead of claiming to know all the answers...
... and the first questions we should ask are basic ones: How do we strictly define victory in this war? To achieve that victory, how many more people must we arrest? How many more police must be deployed? How many more prisons must be built, homes confiscated, careers destroyed and families shattered? People deserve to have answers to these questions. That's not asking much, is it?
Sound Bite #24: I'm not calling for "legalization" because I don't know what legalization means. But I am calling for a good debate.
What we Should debate:
Sound Bite #25: Whether you're for the drug war, or you're against the drug war, all of us want the same thing: we want to protect public health and safety, curb abuse, and eradicate the crime and violence associated with illicit drug trafficking. Where people disagree and where the debate should logically begin is over whether war is the best way to accomplish those things.
Sound Bite #26: Ronald Reagan had it just right when he said, "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves." We ought to apply that principle to an honest look at the drug war. (source: New York Times, April 13, 1980)
Sound Bite #27: We need to take a hard look at this war especially in terms of international security. What if that plane that went down in Colombia had been shot down by "narcoguerillas"? Would we declare war and send troops to another jungle?
Sound Bite #28: What's gonna happen if another country decides to legalize? Will we invade?
Sound Bite #29: What is the point of this drug war? Are we trying to "punish ourselves into perfection"? Isn't that the definition of totalitarianism? [Newt Gingrich at the President's Day Republican fundraiser: "Totalitarianism is when people believe they can punish their way to perfection."]
Sound Bite #30: The best way to raise the next generation of drug abusers is to put a generation of drug abusing fathers in jail.
Sound Bite # 31: Unfortunately in many cases people tend to absorb impressions rather than substance. This has been doubly true as it relates to the propaganda on the drug war. A good example is the oft used phrase "we must do it to protect the children." While this creates a good impression it has no substance. Children are in fact more exposed to drugs and more harmed by the fallout from the drug war as a result of prohibition. That is the substantive and unassailable fact.