Episode 7 of Inside the Law features Joe Rogan's Johann Hari Drug War, Addiction & Enforcement Interview (Trimmed).
This is a trimmed-down interview by Joe Rogan of NYT bestselling author, Johann Hari.
The full-length original episode (#1250) of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is fascinating and definitely worth listening to. It includes lots of in-depth stories and insight that's been edited-out of this shortened version.
Note: I made this shortened version of Joe Rogan's podcast without his permission. Even though it's "fair use" from a copyright standpoint and there are no added commercials (I kept all of Joe's sponsor messages at the end), it's done out of respect for how well the original interview was done and how important this information is.
I hope he will forgive me. My motivation is to expand the audience that will listen to the extremely important content in the interview.
The problem is that it's hard to convince someone to listen to the 3+ hour long original interview, even though it's terrific. Rather than do nothing and let this insightful and important content get ignored, I took hours of my free time, starting at 4:30am for several days in a row, and DID something, which I hope results in a wider audience for Joe and Johann's conversation, and changed policies towards drug addiction and enforcement. Sincerely, ~Mark Gavagan
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Keywords: addiction, drugs, legalization, joe roagan, johann hari, switzerland, portugal, prostitution, emotional pain, war on drugs
TRANSCRIPT: Welcome to a special edition of inside the law I'm Mark Gavagan and this is a stolen and heavily trimmed down version of an amazing and really important interview by Joe Rogan of author Johann Hari about drug legalization and the war on drugs it completely changed everything I thought I knew about addiction and drug enforcement the full version is fascinating and completely worthwhile but it's almost 3 and a half hours and I couldn't get enough people to commit that much time to listen to it so I edited this down to about an hour and 15 minutes whenever you hear this is or sound that means I cut out part of the conversation I didn't change the order of when anything was sad a few of the edits are a little disorienting but you'll get the idea the full interview is totally worthwhile and much better than this find it at Joe Rogan dot net that's j o e r o g a and Dot Net pod cast episode number 1250 here we go my guest today is an author he's written several books one of them called Chasing the scream we're going to talk about today about the drug war and addiction and the causes of these things please welcome Johann Hari. Joe Rogan experience robot can pluck out. Birds anywhere with evidence yeah good I've just we're just if we want to cover the I met a note to myself says talk slow talk American because although I spent about half the British people there's a reorientation where you suddenly realize I was once in a an I hope in Cactus Arizona and I was saying to the woman right like I'll have some pancakes what of it was a look at me going wow. And what about literally 3 minutes she goes do you speak English I was going to talk to you as we talked last time about my book about depression last questions and when things are just as me as we talk about the book or about addiction and the war on drugs has just come out in a new edition with lots of extra material particularly the i.p.o. crisis it was saying I cared about for this really. No reason in the one of my earliest memories is of trying to wake up one of my relatives and not not being able to I didn't I don't understand why then because little boy but as an older realize we had drug addiction in my family there are a lot of people of the world are trying to deal with this problem I want to meet with them talk with them so I end up going on this big journey it took 3 years I traveled over 30000 miles I wanted to sit with you know people who'd been through addiction actually led to a lot of other aspects the war on drugs going to as important as the what we do about addiction I would sit with places that had the harshest possible policies like we mentioned Arizona where I went out with the these women are made to go on chain gangs and humiliated and and tormented Vietnam where they make people with addiction problems going to literally forced labor camps and the places that had the most compassionate possible policies like Portugal where they decriminalized all drugs with incredible results Switzerland with a legalized heroin incredible results. And I guess I ended up just spending so much time it's such a crazy mixture of people from a you know transgendered crack dealer in Brooklyn who ended up actually being one of the smartest people I know to hitman for the deadliest Mexican drug cartel he's definitely not one of the smartest people I know. And I learned lots of things by just the heart of what I learned days. Just so much of what we've been told about this for so long it's now 100 years since we started fighting the war on drugs in this country and it was then imposed on the rest of the world so much of what we're told is wrong drugs aren't what we think they are addiction isn't what we think is the war on drugs isn't what we think it is and the alternatives to the War on Drugs are what we think they are so in some ways it kind of daunting to rid go all over the world and realize so much of what we take for granted isn't right but that opens up this whole exciting other set of possibilities the the main reason why people assume that people do drugs is to escape reality what do you think is the primary thing that they're running from so you got to separate out 2 things and this surprised me because my family's experience was pretty bad and catastrophic addiction but most druggies even the main drug war body in the world the un Office of Drug Control admits that 90 percent of all currently banned drug use is what they call non-problematic So the person isn't addicted it doesn't damage their health right so 90 percent so that's I will come back to that Ok there's a 90 percent that recreational use where people use because it makes their lives better then you've got the kind of coffee simple wine or. Whatever see or a whole range of a whole range of current kind of base a whole range of current legal drugs. In most cases there are some people who have addictions to kind of this and you could see that you don't got got to ask what's happening with this 10 percent you have got a problem right what's going on and one of the things that really blew my mind in the research for chasing the scream was realizing I had deeply misunderstood what addiction is I had misunderstood the thing I thought I had been seeing in front of me since I was a kid right so most people let's think about heroin addiction is that close to me. Most people if we stop the next 20 people to walk past your you know your studio and we said to them what causes heroin addiction I think they'd look at us like we were stupid and they'd say well the clue is in the name dipshit herring causes here in addiction we've been told this story for a 100 years it's become totally part of our our common sense right we think if we took that we took the next 20 people after that I would pass the studio and we injected them all with heroin every day for a month at the end of that month they'd all be heroin addicts for a simple reason this chemical hooks in heroin that their bodies would start to desperately physically need and we think that a lot of people think that's what diction is right it's this physical hunger for the chemical hook inside the drug right there is some reality to chemical hooks they exist every Oh but that's actually a very small part of what's going on the 1st thing that alerted me to the fact that something wrong with that story we've been told is when it was explained to me by the doctors in Britain where I'm from if you step out into the street and you get hit by a truck and you break your hip you'll be taken to hospital and you begin to loads of a drug called diamorphine diamorphine is heroin it's the medical name for heroin it's the stuff you'll be given a hospital is much better than the shit you buy on the street because it's medically pure it's not contaminated and if what we think about addiction is right that it's just caused by exposure to the drug what should be happening to all these people in British hospitals have been given loads of her but right anyone watching this podcast he's got a British grandmother who's had a hip replacement operation your grandmother's taken a shit ton of heroin right and if what we think is right that addiction is caused primarily by exposure to the chemical hooks lines of these people should believe in hospital and trying to score on the streets right this is been studied very carefully it never happens right and when I learned that. It just seems so weird to me I thought it couldn't possibly be true right how could it be you've got someone in a hospital bed who's taking loads of really potent hair and they don't become addicted and in the alleyway outside you've got someone who's using actually a weaker form of the drug who becomes addicted How can that be what's happening here and I only began to understand it when I when I went to Vancouver I met some amazing man Professor Bruce Alexander who didn't experiment that's really transformed how we think about addiction all over the world it's a new way of thinking and loads of new evidence So Professor Alexander explained to me this story that we've been told right addiction is caused by the chemical hooks primarily comes from a series of experiments that were done earlier in the 20th century they're really simple experiments your viewers can try them at home if they're feeling a little bit shitty today right you take a rat. You put in a cage and you give it to water bottles one is just water and the other is water laced with either heroin or cocaine you might remember in the 1980 s. There's a famous partnership for Drug Free America ad that shows this experiment right and the rat in this cane starts to drink it always prefers the heroin water and almost always kills itself within a week or 2 right so there you go that's. You're exposed to the drug it takes you over and then you just die right but in the seventy's Professor Alexander comes along and says he was working with people with addiction problems and he's like well I want a minute we put these rats alone in an empty cage they've got nothing that makes life meaningful for rats right what would happen if we did this differently so he built a cage that he called Rat Park which is basically like heaven for rats right they got lots of friends they got as a cheese they got as a colored balls that could have led to sex anything a rat finds meaningful in life is there in rat park and they got both the water bottles the normal water and the drug war and of course they try but they don't know what's in them is the fascinating thing in rap park they don't like the water very much none of them ever use it compulsively the heroin what heroin water none of them ever use it compulsively none of them ever overdose so you go from almost 100 percent compulsive use and death by overdose when their lives a shitty to none when they have the things that make like I mean if one has loads of human examples I'm sure we'll will talk about but the good main thing I took from this is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety the opposite of addiction is connection we have to ask ourselves what are the contexts in which people become addicted because there are some contexts where people find these drugs extremely addictive and there are some context they don't become addicted at all this something the drug plays a role chemical x. Ray I can talk about how we know that they play some role but they're actually a surprisingly small role of what's going small amount of what's going on we know this from I mean so many examples but could you give another one in the same. Time is right Park there was an experiment going on everyone listen to this report of the Vietnam War right in Vietnam shit loads of American troops were using heroin right was very easy to get out there that actually insanely they had cracked down on cannabis and so people moved to heroin to sniff it dogs can't detect parent as easily as cannabis so it was everywhere harem is everywhere loads American troops were using it and if you look at what people said at the time the authorities the Nixon White House they were shitting themselves because they're like they believe this chemical hooks their addiction so they like fuck when this Warrens we're going to have you know half a 1000000 heroin addicts on the streets of the United States there's a really good study that followed these these Mannheim and it found that the vast majority of them just stopped right they didn't go into rehab most of them didn't go into her thick withdrawal some of them had an uncomfortable flu like symptoms but most of them just stopped now if you believe this whole theory that chemical hooks take you over that makes no sense if you understand what Professor Alexander is saying and that all the new evidence about addiction I go through in chasing the scream it makes it makes perfect sense right you me everyone in this area if I took any of us and put us in a horrific pestilential jungle where we don't want to be and I made you kill a lot of people and potentially die any moment you would find heroin much more appealing than you do now right if we want to understand what people tend to painkillers we've got to understand why they're in pain right. And the core of addiction is maybe I learned from these amazing experts all about the core of addiction. It's about not wanting to be present in your life because your life is too painful a place to be and once you understand that you can see why what we've been doing is such a disaster right because the theory we have with the War on Drugs think about Arizona we can talk about that more but you know like I say I went to this nightmare prison Strella prison in Phoenix Arizona where people are humiliated and the theory behind that part of the theory behind the war on drugs is if you've got people who are addicted you've got to inflict pain on them to give them an incentive to stop right but once you understand that pain is in fact the fuel of addiction is in fact the primary cause of addiction you can see why sometimes people say that doesn't work truth is much worse right that makes addiction worse I remember in that prison we come back from being on the chain gang where they have to sometimes they have to dig graves they were doing that the day I was there they had to collect garbage the day I was one of the days I was there but we come back and normally with prisons as a journalist they don't want to show you anything right you like you have to kind of really finagle to get into show you anything in this prison. It's like a pantomime of cruelty they want to show it to you the whole point is to humiliate these people right so the women I've been talking to and the men were really terrified of what they called the whole riot is the solitary block and so I said to the guards will you show me the hollow sure they said no they like national conversation so you go around to the hall and these women who put up the most trivial infractions like having a cigarette is literally right it's like a concrete block you're on your own there's nothing in it is a tiny window where you can see sunlight no t.v. nothing. I don't but speaking to a woman who was in this and suddenly thinking this is the closest you could get to an exact human recreate of the cages that guaranteed addiction in rats right and this is what we're doing thinking it will stop these women being addicted it's. The system we've got to gobble Martel and amazing guy said to me you know if negative consequences stopped addiction there would be a single addict in the world what have people with addiction problems not suffered what humiliation Have they not enjoyed So we've got this going to really shift up a spectacle addiction isn't there a place I've done this that lets incredible results the love that rat experiment one because that always been parroted as this is the proof positive that the drugs are so terrible for you but once they figured out that if you take those rats and put them in a wonderful place and they don't have addiction it really does make you step back and go Ok what is exactly going on here obviously there's chemical hooks they are real people that are on sustained prolonged use of opiates especially people with back injuries have an incredibly difficult time kicking up even really positive people who don't necessarily have awful lot of the Do we have like primary reasons or primary attributes that we attach to to these people that are drug addicted is that this was what my more recent book which is called Last connections uncovering the root causes depression and then expect to solutions is is about think the core of addiction is about trying to deal with paying rent but the causes of human pain obviously huge but what I learned is the scientific evidence for 9 causes a kind of deep despair right now if you talk about depression in a very similar factors play out with addiction they're actually densely interconnected. Phenomena but. There are real biological factors right your genes can make you more vulnerable to that just like some people find it easier to put on weight than others. And there are real brain changes that happen when you become depressed or addicted that can make it harder to get out right but. Most of the factors that are causing this despair are not factors in our biology they're factors in the way we live and it is a kind of this doesn't cover all of the causes that I learned about the last connections but because a lot of them everyone watching your show knows they have natural physical needs obviously right you need food you need water you need shelter clean air exactly if I took those things away from you be fucked really quickly right but this is equally strong evidence that all human beings have natural psychological needs right you need to feel you belong you need to feel your life has meaning and purpose you need to feel that people see you and value you need to be you've got a future that makes sense and this culture we've bill is good at lots of things and I'm really glad to be alive today for all sorts of reasons had to go to the dentist the other day I'm glad to be alive now not 100 years ago but there's a lot of evidence that we've been getting less and less good at meeting these deep underlying psychological needs less think about your crisis for example because I think even a lot of really good people are profoundly misunderstanding what's happening with the the i.p.o. crisis where is the opiate crisis happening right into a lot of the epicenters of it places like men that knock in in New Hampshire Why is why things so disastrous there why is there much higher. Addiction in West Virginia than on the faculty of Harvard right people in fact leave Harvard have much better access to opioids everyone there has good health insurance they have much better access what's going on that some amazing economists Angus Dayton and case did a massive study of this and they said that we need to understand the pure deaths mainly as what they call deaths of despair right it's not a coincidence that the places where opiate addiction is highest are also the places where suicide not with opioids is highest where antidepressant prescriptions are highest there's a whole lot these things are clustering together for a reason right and you don't have to spend much time in those places to see people through no fault of their own have a like the rats in that 1st cage right they have been deprived of the things that make like meaningful doesn't mean. Don't play summer oh they do player Oh I've been to the places solve this and it wasn't my thinking primarily about that is a very strong agreement among scientists that the most powerful chemical book we know is nicotine right you smoke cigarettes my mother smoke 70 cigarettes a day you smoke cigarettes the thing you feel a physical craving for when you stop which my mother would never tell you is is nicotine right that's the chemical hook. And so in the late eighty's when the nicotine patches were invented there's this huge wave of optimism among scientists get there like a right cigarette smoking is an addiction to the chemical hurt nicotine now we can give people all the chemical hooked they're addicted to without any of this shitty cancer causing smoke people are going to stop smoking right so nicotine patches are introduced in the u.s. surgeon general's report couple of years later finds highly motivated people using nicotine patches 17 percent of them will stop smoking right now it's important to say that is not nothing right that means if you meet the chemical hook the people who are addicted to cigarettes 70 percent of them or stop entirely that's a big deal right that saved a huge number of people's lives but obviously 17 percent is not 100 percent that leaves 83 percent the got to be explained by the other things and that's really the factors that I talk about in in lost connection so I mean there's a whole range of them but you know if you are acutely lonely we are lonely a society that's ever been right you are much more likely to be vulnerable to despair depression addiction if you are controlled and humiliated at work which most people now are to some degree you're much more vulnerable to these things there's a whole range of go through none of these these factors in the book but to me the most important thing in thinking about the pure crisis and I'm really frustrating this is never discussed in the American debate is I've been to the place that solved in a pure crisis that had a disastrous crisis and ended it right and they did something that's very different to Americans are being urged to do. So I'm a sewer citizen because my dad's from there so I switched them well and by the time you get to the year 2000 Switzerland is having like an opioid nightmare right people who look at videos from the time but you know people like Swiss people are obsessed with order coincidence they invented clocks and all that shit right like in their public parks people like injecting in the neck like nightmare scenes right. That be bad anywhere but to Swiss people this is like their worst nightmare right and they try all sorts of things they tried the American Way arresting people punishing people shaming people and it just keeps getting worse and worse and then one day they get this incredible woman called Ruth Dreifuss I got to know later who becomes the Minister of Health and then the president the 1st ever female president Switzerland. And she explains to people I think the solution is to legalize heroin and she said and it's not really shocking because when you hear the word legalization what you picture is an icky and chaos she said what we have now is anarchy and chaos right we have unknown criminals something unknown chemicals to unknown drug users all in the dark all filled with violence disease and chaos legalisation she explained is the way we restore order to this madness so the way it works is an spend our time in these places obviously know or maybe there are some really hard core libertarians but almost no one believes we should legalize her in the way alcohol or cannabis a legal right no one thinks they should be a heroin Arlin c.b.s. that's not the plan right well John it's not as if you had a heroin problem you were signed to a clinic I went out last time in the one in Geneva. The former president has lives opposite this clinical thing that tells you something like across the street across the street what what it what it is the way it works is you should move well but if you see the clinic you are right so the way it works is you have to go to the clinic at 7 o'clock in the morning because Swiss people believe in doing things really fucking early it's constant disagree with me I'm a dad you turn up you go in they give you your hair in there they give you medically pure heroin you can't take it out with you know you got to use it there partly because they don't want to sell it on but mainly because they want to monitor you to make sure you need to overdose. You use it there and then you leave to go to your job because you're given a load to support to get housing work and therapy to figure out why you can't bear to be present in your life right so it's really important to give 2 things that's put Barry moneys to think is the opposite of what we're doing the moment here give them the safest possible version of the drug and give the massive amounts of help to deal with the reasons why they need that drug and really giving the drug or the injecting it in the yeah they know the individual Jackson self or herself so if you if you are patient. I give you the heroin and I give you a clean syringe and one of the things that really surprised me at 1st I found really we did is they will give you any dose of heroin that you want to part from one that will kill you and there is never any pressure to cut back and yet I went there when it was 13 years after the 1st started and there was almost nobody on the program from the start about 3 people who'd been there the whole time almost everyone does cut back and stop by the time and I remember saying to Rita Maggie who's the chief psychiatrist that will how can that be because we're told the chemical hooks take you over you need more or more if you had a limited supply you would just carry on for ever what how could how could how do you explain this. And she looked to me like I was dumb and she said well we help them and their lives get better and as your life gets better you don't want to be an ace the toys so much which ones that's explained to you is so obvious right but and it was just explaining the results of the Swiss program in the fifty's 15 years now in the 15 years since this began according to the best scientific evidence but Professor Haagen have shown to have been 0 deaths about ice deaths on legal heroin not one person there's been a massive fall in overdose deaths outside the legal program because people transport and because why would you carry on using expensive shitty street drugs when you could be getting you know how and given the drug for free and what is fascinating about this is people are really conservative right my Swiss relatives make Donald Trump look like Oprah and yet Swiss people after this had been in practice for 5 years had a referendum on whether to get rid of it and 70 percent of Swiss people voted to keep her illegal not because they're so compassionate to be honest that's not they're not really not it was because crime fell so much right it's much cheaper to get out of the ground far I've got the statistics in the book as vs as I read it but there was I think something like a 50 percent fall in street street crime street prostitution literally ended right there was no street prostitution after that turns out women don't want to be on the street being fucked by random strangers about a if they've got like an alternative who knew but the so was an enormous fall in crime across the board and police confirmed that everyone agrees with that and Switzerland and all the kind of anarchy in the streets just stopped right but what the reason I think is really relevant to the i.p.r. crisis is what we're doing is the exact opposite right so they give them the safety of the drug give them help to figure out why practical support to change their environment to get out of the isolated cage and more into a life that's more like a park what do we do if your doctor in this country finds out that you are using say Percocet or oxy not. Because you've got back pain but because you've got an addiction your doctor by law has to cut you off if they don't they can be busted as a dealer it's happened to lots of doctors and they have to cut you off so you start giving you the drug we stop you getting the drug most people than most a very large number then transfer to much more dangerous street drugs like heroin Secondly far from giving you how to turn your life around we give you a criminal record we shame we stigmatize you we put barriers between you and reconnecting the opposite of addiction is connection but what do we do we put barriers between people and reconnecting This is why one part of it writes this The drug policy part of it where we're doing exactly the opposite of the country that succeeded in ending its output epidemic but there's something I think even deeper than that which you really see in places like West Virginia Manhattan arc the kind of hearts of the i.p.o. a crisis which is we're also creating a society it's becoming harder and harder for people to be present in especially in those in those places that there's an analogy I keep thinking of in the in the 18th century in Britain. Loads of people were driven out of the countryside into these disgusting urban slums in like London and Manchester and and something happened that has been well documented there is thing called the gin craze right where basically shit loads of people just became alcoholics drank gin until they died right there's a famous painting from the time called Gin lane of the mother down in like a bottle of vodka while a baby like falls out the window right and things like that really were happening if you look at what people said at the time very soon that's what they're saying now they said look at this evil drug gin look what it's fucking done to us if only we could get rid of this evil drug in this problem will go away right we know now when we look back at the gin craze it can have been gin that caused it because anyone in Britain who is over the age of 18 can go and buy gin right and while we still have some alcohol x. to be sure we don't have mass epidemics of our college me to have babies falling out of windows What changed wasn't the amount of availability it wasn't availability of the drug the drug is more available now than it was that what changed was the amount of pain and distress in the society right we don't have to side with Bill as profoundly disorientated I mean it's going up because we're creating more disorientation So if you create a society where people's basic psychological needs are not met right where they have a shrinking number of friends and social connections where they're taught that life is about money and buying shit and displaying it on Instagram sees me where they spend most of their time at jobs they find unfulfilling controlling and humiliating you can create growing pools of people who can and you buy them if you're constantly in secure financially and secure half of all Americans have through no fault of their own have been able to set aside $500.00 for an emergency comes along she creates pervasive insecurity in the society you're going to create very large numbers of people. You are going to want to feel a need to and it's the Thais themselves now that's not a good solution obviously I don't think these are not good solutions to these problems but but it's not a crazy solution either there's a line I think of all the time that I don't quite very often because people can really react against this insight I think it's actually important you know Marianne Faithfull the great like sixty's British singer she went out with Mick Jagger annoyingly that's why people remember she's much better than the jacket. In her memoir she shot heroin addiction in the sixty's she was homeless for a while she has this very challenging line I think about a lot going to phrase it slightly wrong but she said heroin saved my life because if it wasn't for heroin I would've killed myself at that point right now Marianne Faithfull is not saying harem is a good solution to this but we've got to understand this drug use is happening because it performs a function write one of most important things I learned for both my books but scream and lost connection is that these forms of despair depression anxiety addiction they are men in full signals right they are telling us something the fact that they have been rising year after year after year that we're now at the point where average white male life expectancy has fallen in this country for the 1st time in the entire peacetime history of the United States that is a signal that is telling us something and that's because of drug addiction and and overwhelming because of drug addiction and suicide its reasons that point there are other factors going on like obesity but that the main drivers are. Overdose and suicide and that is telling us something and what we've been doing up to now is we've been insulting that signal we've either been saying depressed people addicted people are just weak or we've been saying it's just a problem in their brain that there are real things going on in the brains of course or we've been saying you know it's just craziness but in fact it is largely a response to the way we're living of course there are other things going on as well and we can talk about them. And once you understand that you realize there's got to be a deeper response and I went to places that I've done that not just whistle and. Switzerland What is the overall population 5 and a half 1000000 so it's a small compared to the small country yeah how much money do they have to spend to keep this program going and what are the what is the time constraint in terms of like how long as a person who's got an addiction problem allowed to stay there and and receive treatment there's no time constraint you can stay on your entire life if you want to in practice that doesn't happen very nice day in the facility they live in apartments they just visit they just go every day or whatever they want to I mean I think you can go twice a day and it's free it's free it doesn't cost anything I mean some people once they have jobs then pay health insurance and health insurance pays for and if you don't have money then they pay for it and and one thing that was fascinating is they found it was and set did get good research on such good research in this. Research to Open Society Foundation it's actually cheaper than. The police constantly harassing people putting them in prison putting them on trial those are really expensive things do heroin is unbelievably cheap if you buy it legally I would think to the amount of money they would save just in street crime being radically reduced exactly it makes it makes the life of the person with addiction better and makes the lifes of ordinary of other citizens who are not addicted better and it saves money right which is why some people are very pragmatic they're not you know the most compassionate people but they are very pragmatic people that's why it was so popular let's think about another place that doctors really different drug policies right because there is some we can learn from there as well so Portugal around the time Switzerland's having its horrific current crisis Portugal is having a fucking nightmare right by the year 2001 percent of the population was addicted to heroin which is incredible right and every year they were like Swiss then they were trying the American Way shame punishment stigma and things just kept getting worse and worse and worse and then one day the prime minister and the leader of the opposition got together in the light we can't go on like this what are we going to what are we going to day and they decided to do something really radical something no one had done since the drug war began in this country 70 years before they said should we like awesome scientists what the best thing to do would be so they set up a panel of scientists and doctors led by the maize a man I got to know in Portugal Dr while now totally stony person. And he had run the 1st of a drug treatment center an importer Gore founded after that it takes ship and they said to them You guys just go away look at all the evidence and figure out what the hell we can day so they go away for 2 years they they learn about rat park they learn loads of things and they come back and they say Ok a solution is we want to decriminalize all drugs from cannabis to crack bought and this is the crucial next step take all the money we currently spend on fucking people up arresting them shaming them imprisoning them and spend all that money instead on turning their lives around. And interestingly it's not really what we think of as drug treatment here in the United States right so they do some residential rehab that has some value main thing they did was a big program of job creation for people with addiction problems saying used to be a mechanic they go to a garage and they say if you employ this guy for a year we'll pay half his wages again much cheaper than sending him to prison right they set up a big program of small loans so people with addiction problems could set up or run businesses the things they thought were important at the time people are crazy that you can spend it all on drugs lunacy and by the time I went to school it was again 13 years since this began and the results were in addiction is down by 50 percent and is by the figures in the British Journal of Criminology the best scientific study of this overdose deaths were massively down HIV was massively down every single indicator our own problems related to drug use had fallen like a cliff right wasn't perfect they still got problems of course but it was a massive improvement and one of the reasons you know it worked so well is that virtually no one in Portugal wants to go but I went and interviewed. Great guy called qual figure who at the time of the decriminalization was the top drug cop in the whole country and he said what I'm sure your listeners are thinking right at the time which was like if we decriminalize or drugs we can have an explosion in drug use regardless kids using a nightmare we can't do this when I went to see him. And scream website he said son like. Everything I said would happen didn't happen and everything the other side said would happen did and it talks about how it really ashamed it's been so many years prior to the decriminalisation screen people's lives up when it could've been helping them turn their lives around and this is something that I saw all over the world right the places that have drug policies based on shame and stigma and the fantasy that you can get rid of drug use which you can never do. They have massive really terrible and rising problems the places that have policies based on a callous restore order to the market and let's give lots of liberty to drug users and love and compassion and practical help for people with addiction problems have declining drug problems right again not perfect but it was such a significant improvement support in Portugal I mean they've got 5 main political parties none of them want to go back right that tells you something what do they do in Switzerland to sort of mitigate one of the issues whatever the issues were they were causing people to be drug addicts in the 1st place so it's a combination they gave people lots of therapy so I remember one of the people I spent some time with in that clinic had been. Terribly sexually abused there's a lot of evidence that giving survivors of sexual abuse safe places in which they can release the shame about that leads to a big fall into pression addiction and other problems it's not evidence that that kind of abuses is a big driver of a lot of addiction for a lot of people they're clearly not everyone and some of it was just there were people who had never been given a chance in life or had never had stable lives it was quite a mixture of things and one of things that's really good about this with this to me is it wasn't saying in this kind of cookie cutter way the op and I have often happens in drug treatment in the United States where there's plenty of good examples as well you know you don't arrive and they say this is your problem we're here to tell you your problem and how to solve your problem it's very much guided by actually the person themselves right people who are in deep pain the core of if you have to listen to them or if we think about this addiction depression in the way that I'm arguing we should see in the signals a telling is something. Most important thing is to listen to the signal right if we hear the signal we can begin to find solutions and all the places I went the places of solved depression crises that I went to connexions places that soft addiction crises that I went to for chasing the screen are places that have said actually this means something right your pain makes sense you feel these ways for reasons and we need to get down into these these deeper reasons which is really not what we've done in the United States since the drug war began you know a century ago it seems like if there is some underlying condition that's causing this depression that's leading people to drug addiction just giving them free heroin is not going to fix the root cause So how did they find out what the root cause was and why was such an epidemic you're totally right that so. The heroin is just hitting so partly as you become addicted you spiral into the people who don't have huge private resources some people do right as you become addicted what happens to a lot of people is you spiral into chaotic street right so for a lot of women that means sex work for a lot of men that means property crime some and sex work as well but mostly not. And so what happens is actually become you know you develop an addiction to because you're dealing with this pain but then you actually move into a much more chaotic way of living right which which causes deeper pain and deeper paid obviously if you're being fucked by strangers every day and treating you badly you can want to be even more nice the ties after that right or if you're frightened of the police all the time so what happens is partly what happened is what's known was giving people the legal heroin ended the chaos of street use which in itself was making addiction less that's clear not the cause because you don't start out as a street. So it's partly that I think it was partly. Attending to people's deeper distress and it's not like there's one cookie cutter thing that was that was the answer it was listening to different people at different stages and and looking at that had some problems with unemployment you don't want to overstate that that have some problems with child abuse you don't want to overstate that it was more like a kind of menu of things a more sophisticated menu of things that but but the thing that they definitely showed in the Swiss model and in Portugal and lots of places I went to is. Compassionate treatment reduces addiction right and treatment understood in the broadest sense because it reduces the pain the individual is in anything that reduces the Shane stigma and humiliation will over time reduce addiction for most people not everyone some people are in such internal agony they will always need anaesthetics and this I think is a really important point and one that can be quite challenging to some people or people like me who have people they love with addiction problems so Harry Anslinger is a man it was a government bureaucrat I think most influential person no one's ever heard of has affected the lives of loads of people listening to your show sorry ass thing is a government bureaucrat who takes over the department of prohibition just as alcohol prohibition is ending see have had this big war on alcohol it's been a shit show it's been a disaster and he takes over and he wants to keep his government department going and he invents the modern war on drugs is the 1st person to ever use the phrase war on drugs and he really builds this war on drugs around 2 intense hatreds he has one was a really intense hatred of African-Americans I mean he was regarded as a crazy racist in the 1920 s. which gives you a sense of how racist he was he used the n. word so often in official memos his own senator said if you have to resign that's how hardcore it was right and he also had an intense hatred of people with addiction problems was the cruelest thing you can do to a person is to take away the thing they love right so we did to people with addiction problems all over the United States right we give them criminal records that make it much harder to do things that are meaningful to them by work for example what this war on drugs is about right firstly it's about. In its effect is about shaming addicts and its effect as it makes out it's worse Secondly it's been insanely races from the start right at the same time that Harry Anslinger found out Billie Holiday had a heroin addiction he found out Judy Garland Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had a heroin addiction to make changes I watched as the roads were you know that and he went to the studio and he advised. He said to Judy Garland into the studio she should take longer vacations right spot the difference with a white woman Judy Garland longer vacations with Billie Holiday fucking destroy her right this isn't an easy thing to say but I think one of the reasons why the debate about the drug war is so charged is because it runs through the hearts of all of us or anyone who's got someone they love has got an addiction problem is id there's Harry Anslinger in your head right there's a big if you that looks at them and thinks so much you just fucking stop here why you doing this someone should stop you doing this and then for most people there's another part that's like Ok that anger isn't useful in most cases. Actually what you're doing this for a reason we need to understand those reasons we need to help you to change your life right but that conflict is very deep in ours at that time when he 1st takes over becomes the Federal Bureau of Narcotics he had previously said cannabis isn't harmful not bothered about it suddenly when he comes on that this is the way to big build up his department he announces that cannabis is was the most evil drug in the world any issues toss trying to get support for a ban on cannabis and he latches on to one case in particular a simple thing we're hearing these are get these things again now so a kid in Tampa Florida could Victor like Carter he was not so much a kid $21.00 killed his entire family with an axe but at the mall. And with the help of the Fox News it's time Hearst Newspapers. Anslinger announces this is what will happen if you use cannabis literally you will kill your family with an axe right and this becomes a very famous story across the United States and cannabis is banned in its wake years later someone goes and checks the psychiatric files the victim I caught it wasn't even evidence of abuse kind of something that answering a said I think could be like the motto for the entire drug counseling introduces this ban in the us he promises drugs will disappear right you will notice drugs did not disappear he starts a war that's just as evil foreign countries like Mexico are flooding our country with drugs and those that come back as well. So we need to do is force all these other countries to ban them as well and then they'll disappear so the us in the wake of the 2nd World War really has the power to do what is in ruins. And this one part when he goes to the new United Nations and he's insisting this happens and they're basically threatening people they're saying we'll cut off your foreign aid or you won't be allowed to sell goods to the Us market if you don't do this the ambassador from Thailand is like well you know it doesn't seem to work very well in your country we've actually got a long pattern of established drug use in in Thailand we don't really have many problems we don't want to do this and answering I said to her I said to him I've made up my mind don't try to confuse me with the facts and I always feel like that's the drug war right and I made up my mind to try to confuse me with the facts well and conjunction with William Randolph Hearst and he worked with him to try to propagate these ridiculous propaganda stories about Mexicans and blacks smoking this evil drug called marijuana but then didn't Nixon do a similar thing with the sweeping psychedelic Act of 1970 he did it so that they could infiltrate the civil rights movement because there were so many people the civil rights movement that were using various psychedelic drugs they could use it as an excuse to crack down on them and lock them up and put them in jail and pit them against each other and you know have them inform on. Each other yeah this is really important you cannot enforce the drug laws against everyone who's broken them is impossible half of all Americans by conservative estimate broken the drug laws right so what do you do everywhere in the world the drug laws are used to persecute groups the state wants to persecute other reasons right yeah so one of the people I write about in chasing scream is when he really had a kind of epiphany about this right so Lee Maddox was a cop in Baltimore she said to do the I 95 she would and she would very proudly bust people even had a single joint right she was a real Harry answering as dream go and for years she's this you know hard line cop right takes real pleasure in busting people but at least started to notice a few things 1st thing was when you're a cop and you arrest a rapist there are fewer rapes in your town the next week right when you are cop and you bust a pedophile fewer children get sexually abused but she knows when you drug bust a dealer there's no if you're the someone on the corner the next day for sure right it didn't seem to be having any effect in fact when she discovered where she was she began to learn about this was that there was something even worse which was. For financial reason that she realized that she was actually creating these empowering these gangs So explain this is if you imagine. Obviously when you when you ban drugs they don't disappear right that transport in the people used to control them license legal businesses to armed criminal gangs and these are criminal gangs operate in a different way to legal businesses if you imagine if you or me decided we want to go and steal now a bottle of vodka right we're going to local liquor store and that store catches us they'll call the cops the cops will come and take us away that liquor store doesn't need to be violent it doesn't need to be intimidating they've got the power of the law to uphold their property rights can now imagine we want to steal a bag of coke right if we go to the guy near him sure there is someone who sells coke. And he catches us he called Call the cops obviously cops would arrest him he has to fight us now if you're a dealer you don't want to be having a fight every day right you want to establish a reputation to be so frightening that no one will dare to fuck with you right so you've stablish your place in that neighborhood through aggression through violence and you maintain it through aggression and violence right legal businesses compete on cost and quality of product in illegal markets people compete on how much of a frightening fucker you're prepared to be right and has a right to call child out and put it. The war on drugs creates a war for drugs right it transfers it to these criminal gangs who have to operate through violence to protect their property rights so link goes into the drug war thinking I'm the one stopping these gangs she realizes shit I'm the one enabling them right they control one of the biggest industries in the world because of this police action and because of this decision to prohibit these drugs and if you want to know how much of this violence is caused by by. By the fact that we prohibited it just ask yourself where are the violent alcohol dealers right. Everyone knows who Al Capone was just a had a smidgen off go in she had a Budweiser in the facts right does your local bar go and send out bunch of kids to go and shoot everyone in the next bar down of course not exactly that happened at the alcohol prohibition when did it end and on the day alcohol prohibition ended because legal markets don't compete in that so least partly having this insight right she's realizing shit I think I'm taking down these gangs I'm actually empowering them what will really disempowered them is reclaiming the market and making it legal but she also has another really painful realization but she knows something that most honest cops notice which is the vast majority of people they were sent to African-American areas to enforce the drug laws right one of her colleagues Matthew fog once went to his superior officer and said You know I submit we had right we only ever seem to go to African-American neighborhoods to do our drug busts I'm fairly sure white people sometimes use drugs should we go to like a white neighborhood as well and the supervisor said of course you're right white people use drugs but white people know journalists and lawyers and judges that's really just a whole load of shit for us just go for the low hanging fruit so Lee who is not a racist. Could see the effect of what she was doing was in fact racist right and she was very uncomfortable with that and this really came to I had to leave when least police partner was got at totally loved platonically loved he was a great champion of women police officers he's a great guy and one day she gets a call at a been sent on a drug bust it was undercover and the guy it thought was ripping him off and shot him in the head and legalize to see ads body and she's like What did he die for but there are no fewer drug dealers every time we arrest a drug dealer the supply of drugs is not disrupted for one hour. We are enforcing a racist war we are empowering these gangs why are we doing this so Lee quit as a police officer she retrained as a lawyer she now gets the criminal records expunged read she can have the kind of people that she busted when she was a cop and she's a big She was brilliant great go to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who were cops Iraq ether for ending the drug war Lee was trying to be Harry Anslinger it's hard to be Harry Anslinger if you're an honest person with a conscience right and there are police officers all over the country who are making these these these realisations Now obviously it's very close to my heart what we do to people with addiction problems I don't care if it can catastrophic there that is I don't actually think that's the biggest moral issue around the world drugs the biggest moral issue is the violence created by prohibition right and I think about places I spent time like Colombia seat of horrors in northern Mexico that's the biggest issue right more people have died in Latin America. Central South America in the drug war violence than have died in Syria I don't know what we can do about Syria we can end this violence this professor at Harvard who Geoffrey Miller in. Point has a a graph of the murder rate in the 20th century in the United States massively shoots up the day alcohol is banned and falls like a stone in the day alcohol is legalized right and massively rises again there's an intensification of the drug war data and we can end a huge amount of this violence what we can do what Switzerland that we can do what was happening so what's stopping us. So I think the main thing is this is a logical conclusion based on facts and based on cases like Portugal and Switzerland when there's obviously data so people are aware of this so people must be confronted with this data to this day people know that the prohibition on alcohol was a massive disaster and no one would ever accept it again we're slowly starting to realize that marijuana at least for some people is safe and reasonable and should be used recreationally and has some massive benefits medically So we're starting to see legalization both for recreational use and clearly for medical uses what is the stop what is the wall between this and legalization of all these other drugs and counseling and implementing some sort of a Switzerland like program I think going to the really important question so there's a range of things there's a lot of perception a big one I think going to the most important right some people say is the vested financial interest in the existing system that's true if you look at who funds the no campaigns whenever they want to legalize marijuana you can see the interests right prison guard unions. Alcohol companies because that one commercial competitor religious fundamentalist groups like Mormons not all Mormons fundamentalists but the groups that fund this are and. So it's partly that but I think you're right I think that's the main thing that's going on it's significant and real but it's the main thing is going on the main thing the main block is. Huge majority of Americans more than 80 percent said the war on drugs has failed and been a disaster and yet most people are afraid of the alternatives right and that's part setting is 2 things going on this ignorance about what the alternatives actually mean so really one of the reasons why church and scream is written as I went to all these places from the killing fields in northern Mexico to Switzerland. Is because when they too often in this debate we talk like we're a philosophy 7 up and go or what would legalisation mean how would it work and they go into this weird abstract conversation like fuck that here's a plane ticket to Geneva Here's a plane ticket to Lisbon is a plane ticket to Colorado right it's not rocket science right I've been to the places that I've tried these things we can see the results right then not legalization is not an app or decrement equalisation I can spend difference if you want are not abstract then what are the what's the key differences between legalization and decriminalization decriminalization is where you stop punishing users but they still have to go to arm criminal gangs to get their drug legalization is where you open up some legal route for people to get their drugs and that's varies according to the drug right so I guess the kind of headline would be decriminalization shuts down Orange Is The New Black and legalization shuts down Breaking Bad and not right and of course we need to do but it's wrong to decriminalize us and legalized in Mexico decriminalize a lot of drugs like fairly recently yes there's a big Supreme Court decision I think about this time I spent in Mexico really often. Because it was I'm not coming into a lot about places I've covered the war in the Congo I've been to Iraq I've been to Gaza I've never seen anything like what happened in horrors when I was there like I was saying when you ban drugs that disappear right the transfer to on criminal gangs if you live in a housing project in the United States where 5 percent of the economy of that housing project is in the hands on criminal gangs is going to be a shitty frightening place to be right place I see it out horrors on the border with Mexican side of the United States border with it's the other side with our past. By the time I went there it was 70 percent 70 percent of the economy was in the hands of his own criminal gangs right so a member. Going to see this guy Ross Solly a rotter people about him and where else but then I went to the same prison in the United States entire county recently Oh. But you know beheaded about 70 people between the ages of 13 and 17. And going into the prison actually to see it took in about his life and his his story so personally I grew up in Laredo Texas side of the border it's basically the same place in a way the Loreto on the on the Mexican side it's very easy to cross the border at that time secret he's growing up in the late ninety's noughties and recently I was 13 so loads of the Zetas were kind of famous drug gang at that time they still are the drug cartel how the Zetas were created it's an insane story every taxpayer should know the u.s. government decided to train and elite anti drug force for the for the Mexican government right like kind of Navy SEALs for the anti drug force and they tend to Fort Bragg they spent thing like $250000000.00 training them up they go back to Mexico 6 months later they all defected on mass almost all of them and created a drug cartel there's a great use your tax money and so with this kind of glamorous in inverted commas drug gangs operating on that part the border drug routes move around according to whether policing always gets through but it moves rather call it the balloon effect imagine a balloon half of a push down one place the air comes up somewhere else but at that time it was going through. Juarez and El Paso and Laredo or new arrival or dead. And. This one night it all begins he's taken on the Mexican side of the border to a warehouse where they are torturing people burning them alive he's given a gun by a guy called Miguel Trevino who later became head of the Zetas and he's told to shoot someone in the head and that's the moment you're in when you're in with the Zetas you never get out no one leads. No one leaves a life and so they begin to train him he sent to us in 2005 he sent to a summer camp that's literally a count of the teachers you had to behead people and do all sorts of things and he's then sent him an a in his friends and then sent to. Murder people with friends Jesse they murdered hugeness who they were called within the state has called these child soldiers the Expendables because they're going to shift a live or die right. As one person said to me they prefer children because they don't understand death so well of this sort of a bit older he understood death better or his friends get murdered eventually tries to get back to the USA corporates he now lives in solitary confinement where he will live but the rest of his life because of the amount of solitary shot before I met him he was immediately stabbed in the neck. And again you think about this insane violence that we created when I went to Juarez was just covered with images of missing women. Just everywhere because this is another really important part of what this violence doesn't and it's really important we understand this is the violence caused by the system that we up hold and we imposed on Mexico because do not want this right now if you remember the Zetas at that time in Juarez is different acts and other drug gangs displace them you own the state right and you have if they can trust 70 percent of the economy you have more money than the government right so the police work them I want to going to be recently he said when I'm going to murder people the police would would come with me they would dispose of the body right number 2 and that year we're talking about this is like 6 years ago now if the cartels were killed when they just pay the police to do it right this is realize Iraq someone comes to you there is nowhere for you to go but she lives in a country where there is no justice loads women are missing because it turns out if a bunch of criminals control the state they will just murder later women to get away with it right there are some men who just want to murder women and if they get the license to do it they'll do it that's why so many women were missing after 2 years she finds Sergio she tracked him down she goes to the police she tells them where he is they tip him off and he disappears just before Christmas and Christmas Eve I'm going to have this big Christmas dinner here people can join me she gives this great speech and a man walks up turn shoots are in the head in front of all the police everyone what I think about the drug war and what it does. We have created an enormous amount of violence that has nothing to do with the drug right often people here despise drug related violence and what they picture when they hear that someone using drugs losing their shit and attacking someone right is a really good study like a professor Paul Goldstein that looked at everything was classified as drug related violence in New York City in 1906 what he found was 3 percent of what's called drug related violence is someone using drugs and is in the shit that's real happens sometimes 3 percent another 7 percent was people with an addiction problem like committing property crimes and getting caught or whatever and the vast majority was rival drug gangs and exactly the kind of violence we're talking about the war for drugs created by prohibition now we can reduce the problems associated with drug use by having these letters that have been switched into ports go and we can end the violence caused by the war for drugs there are no violent alcohol gangs Al Capone killed loads of people. Drug no alcohol seller anywhere in the United States today will kill a single other alcohol seller right that violence ended if we banned Rice there would be violent Rice sellers right that we have to understand what we are doing to us and there's this bullshit fucking thing that said where they'll take these deaths on the supply route right prohibitionists and they'll say look at you evil drug uses You're responsible for the deaths of these people right and to me that is so punishes right you could have every single drug piece of druggies that happen in the United States today and none of those killings on the supply route it is the system those people have erected and imposed and lied their way to maintain the course is this violence right and we can end this violence will have we done to these people as taxpayers we are responsible for it I mean we don't you know you and I do not support it by. As a society we done that and those of us who oppose it haven't done a good enough job of persuading about us and it goes back to a question why does it persist right the key reason I think is 2 things partly people are afraid of the alternatives for understandable reasons there are real risks in pursuing the alternatives I think we can understand what is recent do with them but that's not all done because it seems like those risks of a mitigated in Portugal and Switzerland I mean we have real evidence at all of the risks and the there are unfounded exactly you can understand you know crazy to have that fear but then we can address that fear by talking about why actually happened we're seeing a big change in public opinion that is change on many issues so think about when Bill Clinton stopped being president which is you know remember is not long ago 16 percent of Americans supported legalising cannabis today 70 percent of Americans support legalizing cannabis extraordinary transformation a very short period of time. One of the major factors that make it possible for the drug war to continue is the dehumanization of people at every turn right the humanization of drug uses. And it's and we should talk about use as opposed to addiction but. Dehumanization of drug use is dehumanization of people with addiction problems dehumanization of drug dealers dehumanization of people in the supply route countries or here in the way people talk about Mexicans now a powerful people in the society and one of the reasons why chasing scream is written as stories of people. Is because the solution to dehumanization history humanization when I was meeting these people all over the world I kept thinking if any ordinary American could mean they would not say that the deaths of these people mean nothing right they would not say yeah let's pursue a policy that kills them because we get some imaginary benefit further down the line most people I would I would say it's safe to venture are really fully aware of what the causes what the underlying causes of people becoming addicted to drugs in the 1st place are and what what leads people this great sense of despair and it's really about reengineering our entire culture I mean reengineering not just the way we treat addiction but the way we treat human beings where we treat poor neighborhoods I mean there's there's so much that needs to be done that's never addressed totally right when the surprises me in this debate I have found is actually easier in the us. To make the case for compassion for people with addiction problems than to make the case for liberty for drug users who are not addicted right so like we were saying even the main drug war body in the world the u.n. or d.c. universe or drug control admits 90 percent of all currently banned drug use is what's called non-problematic right after and Professor Cole Hart the head of psychology at Columbia University in an extraordinary human being has done really important work explaining this to people even with what we think of as the devil drugs like Heroin crack the vast majority of people who use heroin and crack do not become addicted right which I found really shocked when call 1st explain that to me I was like what's this guy talking about the scientific evidence that there is very clear evidence right that actually the ratio of people who use any drug who become addicted is pretty consistently 10 to 20 percent right slightly higher for things like heroin but it's pretty consistently in that zone right which is not to say that there aren't other heroin depresses your breathing it can cause death that way there are other harms but which we might addiction right it is absolutely innate to other species but especially to humans the desire to get intoxicated there has never been a human society anywhere in the world where people didn't seek out intoxicants and enjoy using them this intoxication impulses is deep in human beings is the sexual impulse you even see it in small children you know when a little kid everyone will remember this memory of when you're little kid and you realize you can spin round and round and round even though you know it will make you sick you do it because you get altered headspace that is one of the 1st expressions of the kind of intoxication impulse by William Bennett the former drug czar saying drugs are an attack on the foundations of Western civilization here like no at the actual foundations of Western civilization the people you're holding up as the icons like Plato and Aristotle while literally getting fucked up in exactly the way you say is an attack on them right you know it's this deep misunderstanding so this is a natural human impulse we are never going to get rid of it want to get rid of it gives people a lot of joy and pleasure and yet. Oscar Wilde said once I'm going to quote slightly wrong said it better than this he said puritanism is the deep annoying fear that someone somewhere is enjoying themselves and there's this puritanical hatred of of drug use right now some of that is understandable fears much genuine harms and that's a different thing a lot of it is just very deep Puritanism and you really see in one phrase we need to get out of the English language is the ridiculous phrase drugs and alcohol it's like saying fruit and apples alcohol is a drug right alcohol is easily the deadliest drug in our culture after tobacco. It's a not it's not saying you know as my friend Steve Rose has become painting this is like saying metal and iron right it's a meaningless phrase but it's you this distinction between alcohol and other drugs is is a way of maintaining the struggle right because the reality is the same proportion of people become addicted to alcohol it's become addicted to cocaine right so in proportion as I'm not an absolute numbers can we use our codes like. Risks from alcohol of very similar to risk from other drugs are actually some of the. Significant more dangerous than some drugs that are currently banned. But we with alcohol and it was not what you say about why we don't change these policies with alcohol enough people everyone knows people drink alcohol right and one of the reasons things changed on cannabis is because more people came out and talked about it and so you have this situation where you've got Harry Anslinger saying if you use cannabis you're you know kill your family with an axe by the time we get to the ninety's enough people know enough people of use cannabis to write well Jimmy over there and hijack it Japanese famine to death with Max right this is this is bullshit and I think one of things we have to do is encourage people to one of the weird things is that prohibition. Creates a distorted picture of overall drug use right because loads of your listeners might say on Facebook you know I went out on Saturday night and I had you know. 5 vocal shots and I got hammered and had a great time you'd be pretty foolish if people on Facebook of a sudden I went out have 5 lines of code good at a great night right you being a follower a lot of people are far better. At the birth of the drug war it was intensely resisted so you had a society really recently that had a much more mature exactly what you're asking about a much more mature attitude to drug use than we have now right it's not that people thought all drug use is good we should celebrate every instance of drug use no one thinks that right there were problems and they would There is some joy associated with drug use that's actually the norm there is some pain and terrible things associated with drug use which are mostly driven by underlying harm but there are real harms the come from some drugs as well. And most societies until very recently I had a mature appreciation of this the United States in prisons 2000000 people that has never been a society that imprisons this many of its citizens this high proportion of its citizens anywhere ever overwhelmingly driven by the drug war right I mean the u.s. in prison so many people and the conditions in those prisons are so terrible that the United States is almost certainly the 1st society ever when more men have been raped than women that's how extreme this this war is right and what we do to people and it's a total historical outlier we are in a freak experiment right and the one thing you can say intensive the drug war and I would give one bit of credit for this. If we gave it a fair shot right the United States has done it for 100 years this country spent a trillion dollars on it we've imprisoned millions of our own citizens we've considered we killed hundreds of thousands of people a conservative estimate we've destroyed whole countries like Colombia in the problem now that there's a gigantic business behind it all from private prisons to prison guard unions to the pharmaceutical industry that would benefit from keeping most of these drugs illegal so their profits continue to rise to law enforcement I mean down the line it's You'd be disrupting like an evil industry but an industry I think that's a real factor but I don't want to overstate it lots of policies have but what is it with actors what's the main factor the main factor is most people are asked do you think the drug war has failed so yes most people asked Do you want to legalize any drug other than cannabis say no very strong has completely shocked he came here to United States to me Milton Friedman the Nobel Prize winning economist he's grown up on the alcohol prohibition and that's a freeman explains drug prohibition Filipov it but probably comes back to Vancouver and holds a press conference and the chief of police the coroner and a representative of the addicts and he says things like I'm not going to speak again without having the addicts here with me about addiction because they understand it better than me. We're going to open the 1st safe injection site in North America we're going to have the most compassionate drug policies in North America things are going to change around here. The open safe injection site Philip Owens right wing party is so horrified they disallow it to Mrs is their candidate and his whole political career ends but a more liberal guy wins the election in the room stays open in the 10 years that followed overdose deaths on the Downtown Eastside fell by 80 percent a 0 percent average life expectancy in that neighborhood rose by 10 years you just don't get figures like that very often you know when you get disheartened about this it's easy to get this one right this is a 100 year long drug war. We're up against very powerful forces when you have nothing else you have a voice you have a human voice that you can use to persuade other people with love and compassion you can tell them stories you can build people's love and compassion in the middle of this catastrophe that we're seeing in this country with the addiction crisis right I mean more people died last year in the a pure crisis than all the soldiers who died in the Vietnam War combined. In the middle of this catastrophe we can carry on doing what we've been doing Ok we can carry on doing that then we will continue to get the horrific results we are now getting we can continue to copy the places that have failed right at the end of 100 year long drug war that's cost a trillion dollars We can't even keep drugs out of our prisons where we have a war perimeter and we pay people to walk around it the whole time so good luck keeping them out of a 3000 mile border right that will never happen that is a ludicrous fantasy him as well take all the money that would be spent on trying to keep drugs out that way and burn it in a pile is absurd there's never been such a society or we can start to copy the places that succeeded right Portugal Switzerland erg why Canada. There are up plenty of places that have tried the alternatives and people who were quite skeptical so I think it was most striking to me in all those places is that people who were initially skeptical and initially thought it was crazy very often change their minds this is the consistent pattern. Before it happens people think it's the work of a bunch of fucking wackos they think what people want to you know get everyone to use drugs to get children to use drugs and it's madness and then they see that that's not all what motivates people who want reform and that's not that's not what happens in practice when you when you adopt these policies and it's not a magic bullet and they still have problems but there's been such significant improvement in all those places there's some reality to the dangers of cannabis use and some people that are susceptible to schizophrenia. And I think there's also some at least anecdotal evidence that points to the fact that some people experience these psychotic breaks in these schizo frantic episodes probably directly as a result of large dose use of t.h.c. whether it's through edibles or whether it's through smoking as some people freak out I've known people I've known of people that have had real issues with it it's really important case for legalizing cannabis is not that there is no harm associated with cannabis right in the same way the case for legalizing alcohol is not there's no harm or set kind of this is bad for young teenagers right developing brains and Fred was a cop is retired now but was a cop was really car right when reminded me of the Clint Eastwood character in Dirty Harry is not a liberal and he had this he would use a fancy word like this behind the piff in a about drug legalization one day he was in a car park in Wayne New Jersey in $1071.00 he was staking out a deal that is in plain clothes obviously and a kid comes up to me like an 11 year old or something because hey Mister. I'm not allowed to buy alcohol will you go into that liquor store and buy some forming. In fact there's no get out of here so the kid walks over to the drug dealer and buy some drugs from him instead and Fred has this kind of realisation which is he wouldn't put it this way but legalization puts a regulator a barrier between kids and drugs that doesn't currently exist right this is why since they legalized cannabis in Colorado there's been a don't know of a state it's not huge but it's been a significant fall in teenage cannabis use right drug dealers don't check id license legal businesses do they really care if they're there because they've got something to lose right and so I think if sometimes it's used as the kind of protect our kids argument is used as a case for prohibition in fact if you want to protect your kids you should be put in a big premium on getting these substances out of the hands of armed criminal gangs and into the hands of licensed legal businesses we know that kind of use uses massively increased in Britain for example I think some like 20 fold increase since 960 in Britain and yet levels of schizophrenia have remained the same if cannabis was causing schizophrenia you would expect it to vary with cannabis use at least to some degree there be some relationship and that doesn't seem to be the case is a study that asked Americans how many close friends do you have who you could turn to in a crisis and when they started doing it years ago the most common answer was 5 today the most common answer is none right it's not the average but most common answer half of all Americans asked how many people know you well say nobody right so huge amount of evidence loneliness is toxic to human beings it's just devastating if your physical or mental health so if you look at the debate about non-drug based addictions right you think about 20 years ago people stopped me about sex addiction a guy called Stanton Peele who interviewed a lot of 1st writes about love addiction or sizzling exactly gambling addiction. Gambler if you go to meeting Gamblers Anonymous as I have with a friend I don't have a gambling problem but just to support someone they are as addicted as anyone in the next room down at Narcotics Anonymous on a lot of not a lot of gambling Alex and you feel that they were there straight up junkies and they might as well be chasing crack it's and that tells us something really important because you don't snore relate real right you don't inject online poker right if you can have a professor not said this to me if you can have all of the addiction but none of the chemical hooks that tells us about how we've overestimated the role of Cal there isn't it partly why I'm arguing you lost in last question on changing screens we need to deeply reconceptualize how we think about these forms of pain like depression and addiction This isn't some wacky This is the view of the World Health Organization these leading medical bodies what comes to pressure. Well I'm not against people obviously against people using drugs and those who holds their lives and I have before I came here I drank enough caffeine to kill a whole fucking field of cows Professor Kasa put it to me from the moment we're born we're immersed in a machine that is designed to get us to neglect what is important about life you could have a conference about obesity that just looked scans of people's stomachs it would be untrue it would be bad science we had missed the whole fucking reason why the far right I don't have to read this yet word after I've been trying to strike and I just said quickly that anyone who wants any more information publish is fucking with me if I don't say this anyone who wants any more information about either of my books is chasing the scream is chasing the scream dot com You can listen to people talk about it take a quiz to see what you know about addiction and loss connections is the last Connections dot com in their audiobooks but that's because while you can get on those sites beautiful thank you very much I really just judge is thank you very much thanks thank you everyone for tuning to the podcast and thank you to quip get quip dot com slash Rogan go there and quit starts just 25 dollars and you'll get a feel your 1st refill pack for free with a quick electric toothbrush that's get your 1st refill pack for free at g. 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