Let’s Defund The DEA

  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency no longer has any valid reason for existence as the War on Drugs is phased out
  • The DEA cannot point to a single success/achievement in its near 50-year history
  • Its $3 billion per year annual budget could be much better spent elsewhere

As social unrest and racial tensions have increased over the past year in the United States, a dubious political ‘movement’ briefly materialized: a push to “defund” the police departments of several major U.S. cities.

That initiative turned out to be as short-lived as it was ill-advised. With Americans going on another gun-buying binge, major crime and violent crime is spiraling higher in many American cities.

Defunding the police is a bad idea.

However, with the U.S. federal government drowning in debt, perhaps the concept of “defunding” can be applied elsewhere?

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is an obvious candidate.

The DEA: a failed experiment in a changing world

For roughly half a century, a U.S.-led “War on Drugs” has raged across much of the world. Not a bad idea. A terrible idea.

The United States previously experimented with criminalizing drug use. It was called “alcohol Prohibition”. And until the always-doomed War on Drugs, it was arguably History’s most catastrophic criminal justice failure.

Alcohol is a harmful substance.

But what the U.S. government learned (the hard way) is that there was/is something worse than legalizing the use of this harmful and addictive substance. Criminalizing it and handing (in today’s dollars) a trillion-dollar industry to organized crime.

The lesson learned was that alcohol (ab)use was a social problem, not a crime. Inventing new crime by criminalizing its use could never have possibly been a successful policy.

The War on Drugs was an even worse idea. And it has been an even bigger failure. Handing not just one, but several trillion-dollar drug markets to organized crime. Bravo!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
-  Attributed to Albert Einstein

The War on Drugs was the epitome of insanity. And the anti-drug zealots of the DEA who championed this futile crusade are the Poster Boys for this insanity.

Yet, still, the U.S. federal government (and the new Biden administration) feigns ignorance about the catastrophic failure of its War on Drugs.
White House Invites Comment On How Drug Policies Create ‘Systemic Barriers’ For ‘Underserved Communities’

The White House’s drug policy arm is looking for input on whether its existing policies are creating “systemic barriers to opportunities for underserved communities” and whether future programs could be developed to better promote equity.

That’s like a rapist “looking for input” on whether his crimes have had a negative impact on the victims.

In some respects, it’s understandable why 78 year-old Joe Biden would want to feign ignorance about the ongoing travesty of U.S. drug policy. Biden, himself, has been a willing and enthusiastic tool for the War on Drugs throughout his political career.

This narco-Prohibition has had devastating consequences not just in U.S. cities, but in major cities around the world. Problems are even worse in the criminalized regimes where most of these illegal drug supplies are produced.

Afghanistan is merely the most-obvious failed state that has had its economy and society torn apart by illegal drug production, namely the infamous poppy crops that supply most of the world’s heroin.

Belatedly, governments around the world (and the United Nations) have begun to acknowledge their catastrophic error in pursuing this War on Drugs. The UN is now calling for full drug decriminalization, as are most responsible public health authorities – and even a growing percentage of law enforcement.

Fight a losing battle for 50 years and sane people realize when it’s time to throw in the towel. But not the U.S. federal government.

The United States continues to wallow in the Dark Ages of drug policy. Federal politicians and bureaucrats alike continue to proudly flaunt their abysmal ignorance and despicable prejudices concerning “illegal narcotics”.

The epicenter of this prejudice and ignorance is the DEA itself. One would think that a large U.S. government agency with a bloated budget and no longer any reason for its existence would choose to keep a low profile.

But not the DEA.

DEA seeks to continue inflicting misery upon Americans

This bureau of dinosaurs and anti-drug bigots can’t restrain itself from continuing to inflict misery upon Americans – at every opportunity.

Recently, the DEA has found itself in the public spotlight, on the wrong side of a lawsuit attempting to open up legal access to (medicinal) psilocybin for terminally-ill cancer patients.

Psilocybin has demonstrated the clear potential in formal clinical studies to reduce end-of-life distress for terminal patients by helping them successfully deal with the enormous anxiety and depression that accompanies a terminal diagnosis.

It’s being used already (on a limited basis) in Canada. Terminally-ill Americans are seeking the same access. And the DEA is proudly standing in the way.

In public testimony, the DEA argued in a federal appeals court against forcing the U.S. government to provide compassionate access to psilocybin for terminal cancer patients. It’s reasoning?
The DEA’s position here is utterly without merit.
a)  Psilocybin is a non-toxic drug with numerous known medicinal uses and there was never a valid reason to criminalize it in the first place.
b)  Suggesting that terminal cancer patients would prostitute themselves as mules for an illegal drug trade is as insulting as it is absurd.

Formal clinical drug trials of psilocybin (approved by the DEA) are now proceeding rapidly through the clinical trials process. Indeed, the FDA has already granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to Compass Pathways’ psilocybin-based therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression.

The FDA has fast-tracked this research for three important reasons.
  1. Psilocybin has extremely potent medicinal properties.
  2. There is a desperate (and growing) need for this medicine.
  3. Psilocybin is very safe.

The DEA is arguing that terminally-ill cancer patients should be denied the end-of-life relief from psilocybin not to “protect Americans”, because there is nothing to protect them from. It is cruelly seeking to impose its will on these dying (and suffering) human beings merely to indulge its own anti-drug prejudices.

Equally objectionable is the FDA’s ‘fear’ that dying cancer patients would become a major supply source for an illegal-drug-that-should-not-be-illegal. Obviously, terminal cancer patients have better things to do with their brief, remaining time.

In short, the DEA’s position in seeking to block this court petition is as moronic as it is inhumane.

The DEA’s position here is not a legitimate argument – at all – to deny terminal cancer patients access to psilocybin to ease their end-of-life distress. However, it’s an excellent argument to justify defunding the DEA.

Defunding an expensive Agency with no valid reason for existence

The DEA receives an annual budget of ~$3 billion: to prosecute a failed “war” and to continue to inflict misery upon millions of Americans and billions of other people around the world.

There are many better uses for that $3 billion annually. One obvious suggestion would be to dedicate these funds to reversing some of the social/economic harms caused to Americans and U.S. cities from the DEA’s five decades of failed “war”.

Spend $3 billion per year to improve a problem rather than spending that $3 billion per year making a problem worse – by continuing to fund the DEA.

In its entire, near 50-year existence, the DEA cannot point to a single lasting achievement or success. It’s time for this agency to be abolished.

Illegal trafficking in drugs still needs to be policed. The U.S. already has police. Lots and lots of them.

A national entity is desirable to coordinate law enforcement. Maybe the U.S. could create a “Federal Bureau of Investigation”? Oh wait, it already exists.

The DEA is more than superfluous. It is (literally) an ugly reminder of the worst criminal justice failure in the history of the United States.

The U.S. cannot possibly move forward on 21st century drug reform while this Agency of drug dinosaurs exists with only purpose – attempting to turn back the clock on drug reform in order to attempt to justify its own existence.

Today, over 90% of Americans want medicinal cannabis to be legalized. It is literally the only issue in the United States today where there is near-unanimous agreement among both Democrats and Republicans.

Meanwhile, the DEA has spent years fighting a losing battle to prevent the government from even studying the cannabis that is being commercially produced today. It is a 100% obstructionist government bureaucracy that makes zero contribution to society – as it squanders $3 billion in taxpayer dollars each year.

The U.S. government (and other nations) invented “crimes” that should never have been crimes. Anyone and everyone capable of independent thought now realizes this.

Obviously, the Agency created to enforce these crimes-that-should-never-have-been-crimes has no place in the 21st century. And you don’t have to be an “Einstein” to understand this.

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