Let’s declare war on heroin in NM


  1. ppall505 says:

    Good commentary Jim. However, as you acknowledge in your commentary, there is so much money to be made between the point of production and the point of sale in the drug trade I think the enforcement route is hopeless.

    Michael Smith of Bloomberg has done several articles in the past few years that give a pretty clear picture of the extent that this is corrupting immigration and law enforcement and — in particular — the banks many of us do business with daily.

    I’d personally like to see us legalize drugs, provide treatment for addicts, and end the gravy train for all the “legitimate” businesses who are profiting from the sale of illegal drugs.

    Here’s one eye opener about who drug dealers go to when they need to buy transport planes.


  2. D Foley says:

    Jim I for one believe the “War on Drugs” has failed in this country! I will say I agree with your article and that is to go after the very people making the money off of this. To those of you who think this article is about the users then you clearly didn’t read the article, doesn’t surprise me with some of you.

    Jim, this is a good idea lets make it more difficult for the drugs to get in here and maybe jsut maybe the Feds will join us in taking the fight to the actual money making drug dealers and in the end we can start talking about real reform in helping those who suffer from addiction and need our help so they can get back to a normal life. Thanks for the article and welcome back. Semper Fi!

  3. Author says:

    It has been well known for years that the fight to contain illegal drugs is funded by the tremendous amount of money that flows into the hands of the cartels from marijuana. To start winning the war on drugs of any sort, the border needs to be closed to all traffic except legals. It is the illegals that bring the marijuana into this country and fund the cartels with money to buy guns, to produce the hard drugs that flow into the hands of our citizens that are too weak to say no, not to mention our children.
    There is no desire to win the war on drugs, or the first step would be to take the lucrative trade out of the cartel’s hands by legalizing marijuana, which is no stronger or dangerous than alcohol. Legalize it and tax it if p;purchased across the counter. Allow every individual to grow it in their back yard. It is a natural plant and the public does not need Big Brother to protect him. Take a look back at what prohibition did to this country and how many criminals became millionaires in the process. That was the beginning of the Mafia and the later La Cosa Nostra.
    To win the war on drugs we have only to study past history. There is too much money involved, bot legally and illegally in this country for the government to want to win the war on drugs. This is a sad but true fact.
    I lost one son to drugs, not because he graduated from marijuana to hard drugs, which is a fallacy, but because he abused the privilege through peer pressure in school. When congress passes a law the marijuana is legal and the President signs it, the beginning of winning the war on drugs will have begun. Until then the billions wasted in what has become known as the drug war will continue at the expens of the American people.

  4. Antonio Salazar says:

    Jim: You may remember me as we met at the airfield in Balad in early 2004. I am happy that you are back home.

    While I do agree that the heroin epidemic is indeed horrible, I do feel compelled to add my thoughts to your column.

    First, I live and work in the Espanola area. From my experiences as a prosecutor and now as a private attorney, this is the first that I have heard of herion produced in Afghanistan actually coming into the area. In my experiences, the lesser-refined “black tar” heroin which is produced in Mexico and other Latin American countries is mostly what makes it up here and it is very popular for three reasons: 1) It is cheap, 2) it is widely available and 3) it is incredibly potent.

    Second, I must come to defense of the City of Espanola, which I have never heard referred to as a “major heroin capital.” Rio Arriba County (where Espanola is located), however has consistently led the nation in heroin-related overdose deaths for the past decade and has gained national attention in news reports on NPR and in the New York Times. Once again, the reason is the potency of the black tar and the fact that it is widely available for cheap. Pardon my sensitivity to your reference, but I have worked hard my entire life to defend our city and will continue to do so.

    In terms of “declaring war” on heroin, although the idea sounds great and the phrase sounds tough, is a “declaration of war” really what is needed? On one hand, I agree that as in any war, it must be fought on several different levels: On the ground, from above, from within. According to some, in order to prevail in a war, you must win “hearts and minds.” On the other hand, in my opinion, the “War on Drugs” of the Reagan administration and subsequent administrations really did not work. Did drug dealers and drug users go away? Not really. Drug users continued to die of course, but the drug dealers still remained as there are always those who will take the place of incarcerated or otherwise “retired” suppliers.

    In order to effectively eradicate the problem, our state needs the Governor and other political leaders to not only take notice of our communities, which are so affected by heroin and its devastating consequences, and actually help to provide them with viable treatment options and opportunities for those afflicted with this addiction to heroin.

    We also need honest law enforcement officials to effectively work together with other agencies in their investigations, take down the suppliers and hopefully submit good, solid cases to prosecutorial agencies who will actually do something with the cases such as actually successfully prosecute them!

    If anyone is to declare war on anything, they must do so with an intelligent command of all of the facts and factors involved with this issue. The war must not be fought half-heartedly and the effort must be strong.

    In this case, I would rather have our leaders declare and achieve peace through showing us that they actually care about the problem.

    Jim, I would be happy and honored to organize a meeting with the Governor and the First Gentlemen, along with her law enforcement and health directors here in the Espanola Valley in order to work together on this issue. Perhaps we can achieve our goals by starting the dialog.

  5. qofdisks says:

    War? Really?
    Hold on, let us consider exactly WHO is using and becoming addicted to heroin. Wait a minute…hey, they are OUR CHILDREN.

    We are not going to stop heroin from being produced in Afghanistan and then being circulated around the world. The issue is as ancient as the poppy. Declaring this WAR of aggression only serves the greed of the increasingly privatized prison industrial complex and the WAR profiteers escalating the conflict across the border. The drugs are a good excuse to grow the weapons production and dealing, private defense contractors (mercenaries) and the ever expanding prison system. These merchants of misery and evil are paying off our governor and other politicians with the goal of making WAR against the people using our own humanity of compulsion and addiction against US to create an authoritarian/police state.

    Well, there is the proven alternative, it is HARM REDUCTION. Our heroin addicts can lead long and productive lives with most outcomes leading to defeat of compulsion and addiction. Take the criminal element out of the equation and treat addiction as a health issue like any other chronic illness. Give our children a chance to stop destroying themselves, indeed multiple chances. Let our addicted go to the pharmacy to receive their dosages as they go to work and raise their families. Let the addicted wrestle their own demons as they come to terms with and eventually defeat their addiction over the course of the years required to do so. The grace of social compassion is what is called for to minimize the harm.

    You may say that we should “go after the dealers” with impunity. Well, most of the dealers are the addicted perpetuating their own supply. These are OUR CHILDREN also. The real dealers are those at the top (again) who are using drugs and weapons as liquid currency. These commodity traders in death and misery are even short changing the producers. Decriminalization would pull the rug out from under their sky high profits and weapons dealing.

    I find this article to be propaganda seeking to convince us to attack ourselves in the name of profits from our own human misery. Addiction and compulsion is inherent of our humanity and the profiteers seek to make ENDLESS WAR against our own humanity.

  6. malcolmkyle says:

    If you are a Prohibitionist then you owe us answers to the following questions:

    #1. Why do you rejoice at the fact that we have all been stripped of our 4th amendment rights and are now totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?

    #2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing drugs which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself use and approve of such as alcohol and tobacco?

    #3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this ruinously expensive garbage policy?

    #4. Why are your waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?

    #5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once ‘free & proud’ nation now has the largest percentage of it’s citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?

    #6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?

    #7. Why do you rejoice at wasting precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?

    #8. Why are you such a supporter of the ‘prison industrial complex’ to the extent of endangering our own children?

    #9. Will you graciously applaud, when due to your own incipient and authoritarian approach, even your own child is caged and raped?

    * It is estimated that there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape a year.
* 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison.
* 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail.
* 40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups.
* 5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison.


    #10. And will you also applaud when your own child, due to an unnecessary and counter productive felony conviction, can no longer find employment?

    Private prisons are publicly traded and their stock value is tied to the number of inmates. Here’s what the UK Economist Magazine thinks of the situation: “Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little” http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

    According to Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Reagan, “Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the American public.”

    “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’, fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”  – William F. Buckley, Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

    There is no conflict between liberty and safety. We will have both or neither.
William Ramsey Clark (1927–)