TO: Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force members and staff.
RE: Feedback on the goals and strategies outlined in the MCCHOCTF Work Draft Plan (as of 11-29-17), which spans 2018-2022.
Per: FILE NO: 161061
Title: Substitute resolution relating to the creation of a City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force.
Here is a summary of Task Force’s mandate:
“Further Resolved, That the City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force is charged with investigating and making recommendations regarding ways to ensure long-term health and safety of City and County residents by reducing fatal and nonfatal overdose from misuse of opioids, heroin, and synthetic analogs and cocaine (in both powder and crack form) through data-driven public health prevention approaches; and, be it…”
The goals and strategies identified by the Task Force attempt to address the effects of prohibition and the war on drugs. The goals do not address the causal factors and broader context, nor do they acknowledge the collateral damage that so often leads to more crime, violence, misery and addiction.
Does prohibition drive drug overdoses? Is the Work Plan, as it claims to be, a “coordinated multi-disciplinary community participatory multi-facetted approach…”? Or, do the goals and strategies currently outlined in the Work Plan ignore the root casual factor — prohibition and the war on drugs — and thus the incorporation of the disciplines, community participants, and “multiple facets” of the complexly interwoven bureaucracies that endlessly replicate the failure of the drug war?
Addressing the casual factors enumerated below are “…ways to ensure long-term health and safety of City and County residents..”: Yes We Can reduce the “… fatal and nonfatal overdose from misuse of opioids, heroin, and synthetic analogs and cocaine…”, but only if we begin by acknowledging the root cause.
Drug prohibition is the root cause of the “opioid crisis”. The illegitimate, arbitrary, tyrannical, and ultimately cruel and inhumane prosecution of the drug war is, and always will be, a failure — because it is an attempt to alienate people from their natural right to life, liberty and property.
How did we get here? The US Constitution says in Article VI “…all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land”. Treaties like those established by the Hague Opium Convention of 1912 and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances , the contents and implications of which were never understood by the people in general, initiated actions and “findings” by Congress to implement them. Politician’s agendas and motives are often hidden behind propaganda and they are blind to their own lack of information, intelligence, education and foresight. They sanctimoniously proliferate arbitrary, cruel and inhumane laws for their own political advantage.
This is especially true of the Harrison Narcotics Act (1914), which was the first salvo in the drug war. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, The Narcotic Control Act of 1956, and the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), followed in assault against our life, liberty and property. The assertion by Congress that it has the legitimate right to control what we put in our bodies would stun the Founding Fathers. If they could see how the references to providing for the “general welfare” and “to regulate commerce” in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8), which resulted in the Interstate Commerce Act, were to be interpreted by Congress and the Courts as legitimate authority to control what the people do with their own bodies in the privacy of their own homes, they would be appalled. Using the regulation of interstate commerce or the need to honor international treaties to justify the attack on our natural right to inoffensively possess and consume any substance we so desire, is, regardless of the equivocal language in the Constitution, on its face, contrary to any notion of freedom. The State has set itself in opposition against the very people it claims legitimize its right to rule.
What harmful causes has drug prohibition and the drug war generated?
Drug laws often require interpretation, and the administrators of the various impacted bureaucracies define their power and the scope of legislation as broadly as they think they can get away with — relying on the Courts to back them up. The resulting rulings become precedence and defacto law, thence forever used to justify the denial of our basic right to life, liberty and property. The State has manufactured a right, that no person possess i.e., the right to tell another human being what they can and cannot inoffensively possess and consume.
The definition of conspiracy in drug war law is such that innocent people are often entangled — implicated by those cooperating with law enforcement as part of a plea deal. They are collateral damage and too often, lacking the money, skill and resources to defend themselves, they too “cop a plea” and the network of affected souls widens while the State is relieved of the time and expense required to prove its case to a jury.
Drug prohibition laws create victimless crimes and undermine respect for the rule of law in countless ways including: Witnesses trading testimony for leniency; Informants infiltrating networks of families and friends; Reverse stings; Due process violations; Admission of hearsay testimony; Military participation in contravention of the Posse Comitatus Act; Fear preventing the seeking of medical attention; Inability to use medical necessity in defense; Increased crime and related violence; Disparities in sentencing; Mandatory minimums; Racially biased vertically at every enforcement level from the streets to the courts; Broken homes; Lost jobs; Disenfranchisement; Stigmatization; Corruption in government agencies, police, courts and prisons; Civil asset forfeiture; Lost opportunities for medicinal research; Lost opportunities for the industrial use of hemp; International distribution networks, in which the US Government has a long history of participation; Money laundering; Private, for profit prisons, creating demand for inmates; Cruel and unusual punishment in the form of harsh sentencing often including solitary confinement; Denial of religious use; Invasive drug testing in schools, the workplace and parole revocation; Knowingly knowing is enough to send you to jail; No audit of costs and benefits; Inability to stop the production and importation of controlled substances; Denial of responsibility for existing sources (Afghanistan); and, Perpetuation of paternalistic domination and infantilization by the government. All of these are casual factors generated by the war on drugs that lead to the manifestation of the effects you all on the Task Force are diligently attempting to address.
Please expand the scope of your analysis, goals and strategies to include the “coordinated multi-disciplinary community participatory multi-facetted approach…” required to address the casual factors enumerated above. These are the “…ways to ensure long-term health and safety of City and County residents..”.