CRM324 – Week 6: Drugs
Media Analysis: you need media sources of significance (National Post, Globe and Mail, bigger
news sources) They can be American, European, etc. because the course goes international.
You will have to attach your sources and they will be read. Five page double spaced critical
commentary about these articles. Media portrayal was slanted vs your readings are more
balanced? Certain factors are missing from the media analysis and your readings, how would
you amend it? Perhaps you have articles with contradictory views and how do you amend those
discrepancies? How do you raise these topics into your commentary?
We started this course looking at very traditional threats such as state-to-state conflicts, etc. We
have now slowly started to part from this traditional definition of security threats such as money
laundering and human trafficking, and drugs will also fall under this.
Global network of production and distribution has been linked to corrupt organizations, terrorists,
Taking Canada and the USA, we take drugs as a security issue. Partially because we make that
claim between drug crime and terrorist crimes, we are looking at it domestically but also
internationally. Drug criminality is defined as threatening the very essence of our society.
Therefore, proposing more militarized law enforcement such as tougher sentences, including
mandatory minimums and greater rates of imprisonment. In the USA there is actually a push for
lower rates for non-violent offences but in Canada, we are moving sort of in the other direction =
more mandatory sentences for more drug offences.
Again, if you look at how drugs are dealt with (anti-drug approach) in North America, it is defined
as a major security issue. We are caught up on the “war on drugs” which is very much a feature
in US law enforcement. Some major features:
On domestic fronts:
- seizing the drugs,
- arresting and incarcerating drug users and dealers
On international fronts:
- Strong foreign policy component (foreign military aid to jurisdictions that produce illicit
drugs such as Mexico and Columbia). The reason for this is because a significant share
of drugs are produced there and will flow into the USA. This issue is similar to that of the
money-laundering, where dirty cash will flow into the USA system.
- Crop eradication: areal spray will literally spray the fields with drugs; manual eradication:
where these are done by hand to either spray or burn crops and; crop-substitution
programs: tried in Afghanistan and Columbia; once their fields have been burned or
sprayed, the government will propose that they grow an alternative crop such as apples or something. There are problems with this approach, but the idea is that they are trying
to push farmers to grow legitimate crops. You de-emphasize the role of the judiciary/local
police because of the corruption so the military is brought in.
- Is this successful?
o It’s more than just corruption – while Canada and the USA like to blame the
corruption in these countries, there are more factors in play. In fact, there is also
corruption in Canada and USA to deal with the smuggling of drugs across the
borders, and there have been incidences of corruption or scandals here as well.
o This is also a business, supply-and-demand chain
o Issue of decriminalizing it? (Support from other countries needed; Canada and
USA are powerful, but arrogant. There is no consideration for decriminalizing.)
This term “War on Drugs” was coined in 1971 by Richard Nixon – bag of cocaine, seized in a
park across from the White House. He tried to present this issue that everyone should be
concerned with because you can find these drugs in parks across the white house, etc. It’s been
over 40 years of the drug war and it seems unending but we do the same thing over and over
again and instead of giving up on the police in places such as Columbia, and replacing them
with military, we cannot overlook the fact the military can also be corrupt. As well:
- Military also does not have public oversight like the police do
- The point of military is to use an overwhelming force to subdue the issue
- Thee pint of police is to protect (the rule of law)
- Ultimately, the military’s primary mandate is not to protect the public
- Using this military approach prevents the proper development of police and judiciary, two
For crop eradications, there is also failure:
- Poor world community farmers are growing crops to support their families and if you shut
down the production, you are putting these families in harm’s way
o Also, trying to push these farmers into growing more “legitimate crops” is not a
solution either: they simply do not make the same amount of substantial money
from growing apples, etc.
- Crop production can also relocate – you shut it down in one place, it will pop up
Canada and USA seems to be lashing out at third-world countries instead of dealing with our
own drug problems (also think – if Columbia is production, are we not partaking in the
consumption? We are the demand to fuel their supply) These factors really limit the success of the supply side of drugs, but what about th