FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Danger of Methamphetime Registries

by ANTHONY PAPA

Need to know where your neighborhood meth dealer lives? I think not. But the current trend in law enforcement thinks so. Six states including New York are considering joining Tennessee, Illinois, Montana and Minnesota in enacting a methamphetamine offender registry. These registries will publicly display information about methamphetamine users, makers and dealers that have been convicted of their crimes. In validating their clarion call for registries, law enforcement officials across the country have complained that the toxic materials found from clandestine meth labs have poisoned communities and destroyed property.

The registry trend follows the governmental implementation of making methamphetamine trafficking and abuse a high priority problem. When high priority is established, desperate measures are enacted that sometimes invade the civil liberties of citizens that seem to have nothing to do with the drug war.

The idea of using a data base that details the crimes of offenders is not new. Sex offenders have been under the keen eye of the public through on line registries in all 50 states for some time now. Not too many people would argue against their use in this manner. After all, we must protect our children from predators. But, the question I ask is do we need the same type of protection in the prohibition of methamphetamine?

In about 2004, methamphetamine jumped into the national consciousness as the latest U.S. “drug epidemic.” With covers stories that depicted methamphetamine as “America’s Most Dangerous Drug”, alarmist media coverage and draconian political responses to the dangers of methamphetamine have been reminiscent of the public reaction to crack cocaine in the 1980s.

At the same time the implementation of the federal governments Meth/Drug Hot Spots program was born. It offered local and state agencies almost 400 million dollars to find and eradicate meth labs to end the threat of the meth drug epidemic. Through financial incentives, policing policies were increased to take advantage of the cash cow the federal government had created, all in the name of stopping the epidemic.

However recent studies by several policy organizations like the Sentencing Project questioned the existence this epidemic and have shown that reality contradicts many of the myths perpetuated by the media. Their findings concluded that methamphetamine is actually one of the rarest of illegal drugs used, with its use declining among youth, stabilizing among adults and demonstrating no increase in first-time users. Furthermore, even governmental data disputes the existence of an epidemic.

The war on drugs has created convenient vehicles of looking tough on crime while hiding being the shield of public safety. But that shield gets worn out when our basic rights are curtailed through its use. For example, since the recent enactment of federal laws in several states, cold sufferers now have to jump through ridiculous hoops to purchase what were originally over-the-counter medications. You now must show photo ID and sign a log in order to purchase cold and allergy medicines containing pseuudoephedrine, a drug that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. There are an estimated 34 different chemicals that can be derived from materials like lighter fluid, road flares and matches. Do we create similar laws to purchase them?

We need to put resources in educating the public about the use of methamphetamine, not creating a public registry. It would be used only as another law enforcement tool that will lead to the further restriction and erosion of our civil liberties. It might not be apparent now, but neither was our right to not be hassled to buy cold medicine before the law changed.

ANTHONY PAPA is the author of 15 Years to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom and Communications Specialist for Drug Policy Alliance. He can be reached at: anthonypapa123@yahoo.com

 

 

More articles by:

Anthony Papa is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of This Side of Freedom: Life After Lockdown.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Sam Pizzigati
Companies Can Either Make Things or Make CEOs Rich
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail