Drug Czar Busted — Again!

Like the Energizer bunny, Drug Czar John Walters’ lies just keep on coming. It was only one-month ago when the Czar made a fool of himself on cable television — denying the fact the law enforcement arrest 800,000+ individuals on pot charges each year. (The FBI’s 2008 Uniform Crime Report, released just days after Walters’ absurd denial, showed that police made a record 872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007.)
Walters further embarrassed himself by claiming that the likelihood of finding a marijuana smoker in prison or jail for pot possession is like finding a “unicorn” — a claim that is readily rebutted by the US Department of Justice’s own data, as well as by the startling number of former ‘unicorns’ who wrote to NORML here.
You’d think that these two gaffes would fulfill the Czar’s ‘lie quota’ for one day, but Walters was just getting started.  At the same press conference, Walters further alleged (read: lied) that marijuana use has fallen dramatically under his watch when, in fact, according to the government’s own data — recently crunched by George Mason University senior fellow Jon Gettman and posted to The Hill.com by MPP’s Bruce Mirken — Americans’ overall pot use rates have remained stable since 2002.
And then there’s this story, just released by ABC News.

Study: Anti-Drug Ads Haven’t Worked
Report Finds $1 Billion Campaign to Curb Teen Drug Use May Have Encouraged It

via ABC News
Despite investing $1 billion in a massive anti-drug campaign, a controversial new study suggests that the push has failed to help the United States win the war on drugs.
A congressionally mandated study released today concluded that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign launched in the late 1990s to encourage young people to stay away from drugs “is unlikely to have had favorable effects on youths.”
In fact, the study’s authors assert that anti-drug ads may have unwittingly delivered the message that other kids were doing drugs, inadvertently slowing measured progress that was being made to curb marijuana use among teenagers.
“Youths who saw the campaign ads took from them the message that their peers were using marijuana,” the report suggests as a possible reason for its findings. “In turn, those who came to believe that their peers were using marijuana were more likely to initiate use themselves.”
… “Despite extensive funding, governmental agency support, the employment of professional advertising and public relations firms, and consultation with subject-matter experts, the evidence from the evaluation suggests that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign had no favorable effects on youths’ behavior and that it may even have had an unintended and undesirable effect on drug cognitions and use,” the report said.
In other words, teens who specifically said they had a lot of exposure to the campaign messages were no less likely to stay away from marijuana than those who did not.
… The evaluation was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, after Congress called for the study. The study was based on four rounds of interviews conducted between 1999 and 2004, each involving about 5,000 to 8,000 youths between the ages of 9 and 18 years.

Predictably, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Tom Riley responded to the data by sticking his head in the sand. “This campaign has been a striking success,” he said — his nose growing significantly longer as he spoke.
Riley also questioned why Annenberg’s findings only assessed the White House’s public service announcements through 2004. ABC News didn’t provide an answer, so I will.
The reason Annenberg abruptly ceased evaluating the (in)effectiveness of the ONDCP’s failed media campaign in 2004 was because the National Institute on Drug Abuse — which by law was instructed to fund an independent, ongoing review of the ads — ceased paying the school’s evaluators to do so. NIDA pulled the plug on the evaluations after preliminary findings by Annenberg’s investigators found the Czar’s ad campaign to be among the least effective in the history of large-scale public communication campaigns. Somebody ought to tell John Walters, who apparently failed to get the memo.
Of course, were the mainstream media to actually do its job, Walters’ bottomless pit of documented lies and delusional fabrications would be headline news, and the reigning Czar would be looking for a new line of work (dogcatcher perhaps). Unfortunately, lying about the war on (some) drugs has become so common and pervasive among police and politicians that the fact that America’s top drug cop is completely full of, ahem, crap isn’t only acceptable, it’s actually compulsory.

0 thoughts

  1. wow thats funny
    i always thought watchin those cartoons they showed us about drugs were funny
    and i liked the thought of smokin weed since i was like 9
    i diditn smoke till i was 11 though
    D.A.R.E didnt have any effect on me or lots of my peers from high school we all smoked

  2. It is important that we (cannabis truth tellers) in our debates and media comments start shaking our heads and saying things to Prohibitionists like “Do you really believe people are so ignorant to buy your load of crap” and “You are directly responsible for all the Drug War woes and our children having easy access to cannabis (and hard drugs) from drug dealers that don’t ask for ID”.
    WE NEED TO CALL THEM OUT AS “IN THE FAVOR OF THE DEVIL WHICH IS FOR DEATH AND DEVISION”. This is the TRUTH! Do they think the Devil is happier with all the carnage connected with the continuation of the “War on (some) Drugs” or the controlled (by government) distribution of such that would cause about the same carnage that taxed and regulated alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs see. Which stance is less evil? Did we not learn anything from alcohol prohibition?
    Prohibitionists are the cause of mass killings in present Mexico initiated by the cartels and the deaths of police and innocent bystanders that get caught in the cross fire in the fight for drug sales territory. The deaths caused by Prohibitionists are not just in South America or other countries; they are running rampant in the USA as well.
    I don’t see how Prohibitionists can sleep at night… Actually I do know… it’s the money and feeling good about their self-righteous false belief that they are in control to some degree through violence and oppression … obviously a delusion of grandeur.
    Prohibitionist do not have control of drugs but they have giving up the control of drugs to the cartels that do not ask our children for ID and their success of selling hard drugs as a successful back door sale.

  3. Maybe now, while our once free nation is in the financial toilet somebody in Congress will have the cajones to speak up to the absurd waste of taxpayer’s money. Legalize marijuana and let us pay a fair tax! It is the right thing to do, it is the patriotic thing to do! (after all, it is patriotic to pay taxes)
    Not only that, legalization is the only way to control who gets to buy it and where. Eliminate the black market by legalizing it and take the element of crime out of pot!

  4. I find it disturbing that they think people actually believe their lie tactics are actually working. If you mentioned the war on drugs to the average person walking down the street, most likely they would have negative things to say about it. People know it does more harm than good.
    When you talk to people about Cannabis laws, they roll their eyes even if they were not a smoker. People are not as stupid as the government thinks. We know that it is not a harmful drug, and they know we know that. For some reason they insist on continuing this reefer madness campaign started decades ago, even tho educated people have given evidence against their ridiculous lies.
    Every single commercial or ad they put out demonizing Cannabis is a giant joke. Everyone i know laughs at them, but the root of the messages are not funny at all. The only effect i have noticed about Cannabis laws, are that they effectively make people mistrustful of their own government. You should not be fearful when you see a police car, you should feel safe that a servant of the people is out there protecting us from actual criminals. I am a Cannabis smoker, and i am NOT a criminal. I am sick and tired of being slandered by my own government as a supporter of terrorism on national television. I am sick and tired of seeing people in power lie to America as a end to their own means. NO ONE IS BUYING IT.

  5. If the czar is mandated to lie on national television, then we are mandated to tell the truth on national television.
    The only way the nightmare of prohibition will ever end is if we win over the hearts and minds of the American people.
    The majority of those who support prohibition do so only out of ignorance. The czar and his ilk enjoy total dominance of the mainstream airwaves; for as long as this continues, vast sections of the public will continue to believe their lies (and laws won’t change).
    Prohibition supporters are generally neither bad nor irrational, just totally naive on this subject and deliberately misinformed.
    Once properly educated and convinced of the facts, the majority will change their minds. Win the people and the politicians will follow suit.
    What is needed is an ad campaign of equal or greater scope and quality to that of the czar’s. We must beat them at their own game, or else forfeit entirely.
    With CNN now saying that 80% favor decriminalization, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that we already have the widespread support necessary to push public sentiment over the edge.
    These propaganda campaigns are the biggest obstacle to achieving a ‘critical mass’ of public opinion.
    The czar’s latest ads may not be working on kids, but are definitely working on their parents and grandparents, who vote and whose prohibitionist viewpoints are perpetually validated and reenforced.
    Many people (especially older people) still believe what they hear on TV; the TV is thus still the best way to get a point across.
    The czar’s office spent $1 billion on their latest campaign. If NORML had $1 billion to make an ad campaign of its own, I truly believe we could win this fight very quickly.
    Sounds like a lot of money, until you realize that at least five percent of the 300 million people in the US use cannabis regularly; that’s 15 million people.
    If all those people sent $67 to help fund the campaign, the outcome may very well change the world and at long last allow us to be free.
    How about it NORML? Can a fund be established to build a ‘war chest’ for this purpose?
    How about it anti-prohibition community? Are we willing to put a little money into reaching out to the wider world and making something actually happen?

  6. From whitehouse.gov
    “Under Director Walters’ leadership, youth drug use has dropped to its lowest levels since the early 1990s. The latest Monitoring the Future Study, released in December, 2006, indicated that 840,000 fewer young people are using drugs today than in 2001—a 23 percent reduction. Teen marijuana use has dropped 25 percent, and teen methamphetamine, ecstasy, and LSD use have declined 50 percent or more over the past five years.”
    So I don’t get it… says here the drug use is going down…

  7. I think all of you misunderstand what the drug czar, as a part of this administration is trying to accomplish. His remit is to maximize federal outlays to GOP campaign supporters. By this measure, it is in no way the least effective, but quite effective indeed, thus his continuation at the post.

  8. I know I’ve said this before but it deserves to be repeated until everyone in America knows this.
    “Most people know that the “drug czar” — the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — is an advocate for the government position regarding the drug war. But not everyone knows that he and his office are mandated to tell lies as part of their Congressional authorization.
    According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:
    Responsibilities. –The Director– […]
    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–
    1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;”
    Read the rest:
    http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2007/10/09/theDrugCzarIsRequiredByLaw.html
    Verify its legitimacy:
    http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/about/98reauthorization.html
    (do a search on “(12)” and it will bring you to the exact portion of the text)

  9. Hyphee,
    Youth and Adult marijuana use has remained the same since Walters has had the position.
    Youth drug use has gone done. And Walters wants to take the credit for that but honestly I don’t think there is a causation correlations.
    If anything I would say the youth drug use has gone down because 12 states have legalized medical marijuana and those states are the states in which youth drug use has gone down.
    But that would have to be verified. You really have to be careful reading Walters words because they are so twisted.

  10. So,do we allow the ONDCP charter to elapse on Sept.30,2010.Or do we insist that the new government throw the office out in Jan. 2009? Then ,what about trials for drug war crimes? Should we bunch them up with the Iraq war crimes trials, or have seperate trials?

  11. As soon as someone tells you not to do something it becomes desirable for most to want to at try. It’s human nature to be curious, and “illegal/bad” items will tend to be even more curious.

  12. Sadly, there are those out there who still take anything guys like this say as “the word of God.” I just want to grab these people and shake the hell out of them. “AARGH people, get a computer, type, point, click and fact check!”
    TY for the article Paul.

  13. If Czar Walter’s approach to the drug issue is anything like George W. Bush’s head-in-the-sand approach to the economy, sometime before January 20, 2009, he’ll declare a national marijuana “emergency.” It’s time for a change in leadership. It’s time for Obama.

  14. John Walters in a disgrace to America. How can the DEA continue to waste our money on Bullshit programs like the ones he supports. I’m so glad norml is working as hard as they are to make this information public. God bless you norml!

  15. Did we learn nothing from the Nazis?
    People are different we are all unique and individually priceless.
    Today we have 2,872,000 different people in jail, hoping to eradicate them.
    They are the causalities of the War on US (drugs) they suffer as non-violent free thinkers.
    They do not respect a law born of racism and perpetuated by lies and greed.
    They suffer mental and physical demons just like you and I, we all suffer.
    Mostly they are poor and seek relief the way they know, they have no insurance card.
    For this our leaders started a war to further their power and to enslave and control.
    You can look back and see it is all there and I speak only the truth.
    Our leaders lie the drug czar lies the press lies cops lie some believe the lies.
    We now spend $100,000,000,000.00 a year to feed the machine that our leaders built
    They say you cannot stop the machine it must be fed they are addicted to the lies.
    Our flower power people are victimized and killed and raped and felonized.
    They do not understand why they are treated this way they hurt no one.
    The sad fact is they are in jail for one reason, greed.
    The greed of our corporations they fear loosing money or not making money.
    Liquor would lose 40% market share if our people were free.
    Major pharmaceuticals would lose an estimated 80% to a superior product.
    A product that you can grow like a weed they cannot control or overcharge for it.
    GEO corp. would close down they provide the jail cells at 45K per person.
    If given a choice I feel the illegal drugs are of the earth and do less damage that the legal.
    I have walked this earth sixty years I consider myself a free man a free thinker.
    Our leaders pass laws to take away my rights they tell me what I can and cannot choose.
    They take money from corporations and do not represent me or free thinkers.
    Please help to replace these leaders and restore our freedom of choice. Stop the War on US (drugs) stop enslaving good Americans turn the machine off release the enslaved!
    Cherokee Fred Hussein THEY LIE WE FIGHT!

  16. This is a poem written about her son in jail a casualty of the War on US (drugs)
    The “War on Drugs” is a guise to control and confuse
    It’s a war against the rights that they want us to lose
    As the losses mount up and the prisons continue to fill
    I sickeningly wonder how much more blood they’ll spill
    By far, the most debilitating loss I’d personally face
    Are the years stolen from my child, that I can’t replace
    And the memory of the tears on his tortured face . . .

  17. I am lucky I do not need drugs legal or so-called illegal. I have health and wealth so I consider myself very lucky. But what about the millions of Americans that take drugs everyday the rich take the legal the poor get the illegal drugs. They seek the same relief for there suffering be it physical or mental. But why treat the one (rich) and jail the other (poor)? Who has the right to say your choice is illegal and I will put you in jail? Who made these laws and for what reason? I have read every comment on this site and others it gives me hope! More Americans are becoming aware of the truth. You have looked at history and understand the truth today. Our leaders are enslaving the poor for pure greed. They feel (house/senate) that they have the right to overrule a vote by the people in states were medical marijuana has been make legal by OUR VOTE they do not!
    They continue to sacrifice the poor, black. Hispanic, and powerless Americans while the rich bible thumping hypocrites look the other way. Our leaders (house/senate) using fear propaganda pass laws that take away our freedom guaranteed by the constitutions and bill of rights and we do nothing. They own the media and you only hear what they feel you need to hear; freedom of speech is in jeopardy. They say if you take the blue pill you go to jail if you take the red pill it gives billions to the so called legal drugs dealers and that is ok, because they fund our re-election. Stop enslaving our fellow Americans and respect a majority vote by the people or there will be War On US (drugs).
    I am ready to fight for the right of all Americans use the old “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION” logic it applies today for sure!

  18. Young people today are confused while our society pushes drugs like liquor which kills 500,000 ever year is addictive it is legal and sold everywhere. Through use they see marijuana is not addictive kills no one and does less damage to your body yet it is illegal. Its all about money if we make greed and power hungry people illegal what a better world we would have!!
    People that make the wise choice of using MJ instead of liquor I salute your wisdom to see through the lies. Liquor killed my father and grandfather MJ has only helped never in history has it killed anyone!!
    Now we need your help become active in ending the
    War On US (drugs) end the greed behind this war do all you can to take control of our country away from the corporations. They control our very lives ruining them at will with no compassion. The only thing these people understand is money and power. Please help 870,000 good non-violent MJ loving people were jailed last year. I hear their cries we can wait no longer we demand justice now! Think if it were you or someone you loved in jail being tormented and raped would you feel the pressure to help them?Stop enslaving flower power people let the MJ people live in peace that is all they demand!! That is all they want you assholes!
    Cherokee Fred Hussien aka Stupid old man

  19. i actually got the idea from one of those commercials. i had always been interested, but had never pursued it. After watching one of those commercials i said hmm, i should try this. the next day i went up to one of my friends and said “hey, we should smoke weed.” and to my surprise he said “yeah, ive kinda been doing that for awhile” any normal person would have said “dude, why didnt you tell me?” but me being the person i am, i said “oh, cool, thatll be easy then.” and my little adventure started. since then ive had plenty of fun and havent done anything that hurts the general public besides funding drug cartels and such.

  20. It’s not pointless from Walter’s standpoint. He makes a lot of money, will likely have a cushy job as a “consultant” when this gig is over, and he gets to lie with impugnity, without risking jail.

  21. This is just a suggestion, but please think about it. Since the majority of politicians and powerful people enjoy alchohol occasionally give them a choice. Either America is Pro-Sobriety or it is not. Should we make it a felony to manufacture alchohol? Should it be a felony to get drunk with children in the same house or at sporting events? I think it is disgusting myself. Tell them to decide NOW!!! Either Legalize marijuana, or make alchohol on the same “level ground” I think all those alchoholics in Washington would not give up their drinky winkys.

  22. John Walters is a disgrace to the US, a disgrace to politics, and a disgrace to the United States. Knowingly spewing disinformation, and withholding information of a potential cure to hundreds of ailments, makes him and people like him the scariest people I know.
    I’m sure there is treason in there somewhere… I’m a live and let live kind of person, but he needs to be put to death for his crimes.

  23. Barack Obama is our best hope to end the insane war on drugs we lost before it was ever started.
    A percentage of the money saved could be applied to researching medical and agricultural uses of the plant.
    Bring back hemp!
    Vote Early and Vote Obama!

  24. As most of you already know, the drug czar is required by law to lie. However he is not required by law to be good at lying. All the official drug info is so stupidly ignorant it just seems so obvious what they’re doing and I’m surprised at the amount of parent and middle class taxpayers who fall for it.
    Personally, I couldn’t give a shit either way. Fuck the lot of them as far as I’m concerned. It’s not going to stop me smoking.

  25. I’m with Steve. If NORML will set up a $1 Billion dollar ad campaign to end the war on cannabis users and install legalization I’ll send in my $67.00 Just let us know when and where and it’ll be there. Good going Steve. You’ve got the right idea.

  26. I’ve read many comments from people who say that Obama is going to legalize or decrimalize cannabis. WRONG! He picked one of our nation’s most heinous drug prohibitionists as his running mate for VP. Senator Joseph Biden helped create the Asset forfeiture laws that allows law enforcement to seize a person’s hard earned private property for even minor drug possession. Biden helped create our federal paraphrenalia laws which often make owning paraphrenalia more of a crime than possession the drug. Just ask Tommy Chong about that one. He helped create so many drug laws which punish people that I can’t even remember them all. Biden helped create the ONDCP for President Clinton and coined the term ‘Drug Czar’. Clinton went on to arrest and imprison more cannabis users than any other admisnistration before his time. All of which Biden’s still very proud of. All of which you probably won’t hear about from the media. By the way. Drug prohibition was started in 1914 with the Harrison Act. It was pushed by a Democrat lead congress in order to punish minorities and signed into law by a Democrat President. Then we have the 1937 Marihuana Tax Stamp Act which was pushed by a Democrat lead congress to pinish hispanics and jazz players and signed by our most beloved Democrat President FDR. Excuse me, But it was Democrats who first and repeatedly there after went for votes by scaring people about drugs. They had no problem with invading the privacy of Americans and what they do in their own homes to their own bodies. Biden is just one more Democrat who stomps on the little guy that Democrats want us to believe they’re so much for. Democrats are all for telling us how to run our lives using our money to do it. Democrats are for ever bigger government. How does decriminalizing cannabis and shrinking jobs and the power of the DEA/NIDA/ONDCP/SAMSHA Prohibitionist Complex enlarge Government? It doesn’t. Judge a tree by the fruit it bears. Come on people. Wake up before you cast your vote. Osama/Biten is not for anything that gives people’s rights back to them. Vote by all means. But, don’t trust a word you hear out of those two guys.

  27. Mark,
    Democrats of the 1914’s and 1937’s are in no way the same Democrats of the 2008’s. No more than the Republicans of the 2000’s are the same as the Republicans of the 60’s-70’s. Had the party not let the evangelical zealots take over the party with the elevation of GWB, they would not be imploding now.
    As for Biden, I agree he has screwed up royally over the years, but times have changed. The laws he supported were “demanded” by the people at the time and supported by the “law and order” Republicans” going way back to Nixon. We all know how well that worked out. What do you think Sara Palin or Bob Barr would do? I agree, Bill Clinton did us no favors thanks to his political ambitions and personal screw ups. Politics corrupts absolutely. Support term-limits!
    As for Obama, it’s stupid for anyone to say or think he’s going to just decriminalize or legalize. It would be total political suicide and he’d never sell it. He’d be eaten alive! Local communities have to take the issue to heart and just stop enforcing the stupid laws like some have done. Obama can gut the agencies that do the stupid busts and use smart, economic logic to convince the public that we need to get smokers out of prison. Obama is not the type to let the big special interests discussed above sway his solid ability to think clearly and without bias. He can direct his administration to focus on what is important and stop caring the water for all of Bush/Chaney’s special interest groups. Eventually the laws can be changed but only if the obstructionist Republicans have no way to filibuster.
    As for who might be opposed to legalization, it runs the gamut. Cops/prison staff, drug companies, booze companies, cigarette companies, uneducated citizens and last but not least, pot growers. Why would someone charging $400/oz. want the system to change, legal or not? Risky, yes. Super-profitable and tax-free, you betcha! This is a complex issue.
    Neither Democrats or Republicans have all the answers. Libertarians just want to go further back in time that Republicans do. It doesn’t move that way. we evolve by progressing FORWARD not backward. I voted libertarian in 1980 when I was young, dumb and uneducated. Then I woke up and realized that throwing your vote away is foolish. My friend who voted for Nader in 2000 now agrees.
    VOTE SMART VOTE OBAMA

  28. Call me a unicorn. Im a 23 year old,(non-violent) first time offender facing 1-3 years in New York state prison for possesion of 1 lb. of marijuana. i dont think the drug czars comment will keep me warm on those cold nights in elmria ny

  29. Cannabis has been smoked on this planet for thousands if not millions of years.Who is man to come along and say that a naturally provided plant should’nt be used for its therapeutic properites? Cure the sick ,clothe the naked, feed the hungry. this plant can do it all, if we let it. 420 & peace all day.

  30. All we can hope for now is that President-elect Barack Obama will fire this son of a bitch and appoint a MUCH more lenient person. Obama said himself that he opposes federal intervention in state marijuana laws so its a start!

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