Schedule One Drugs: War on Consciousness- Part 1
Schedule One Drugs
Americas history with consciousness altering substances is vast and inconsistent. Drug distinction and classification in the United States dates back only to 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act, Richard Nixon, and the infamous War on Drugs that destabilized the planet, allowed for the rise of cartels, and opened the black market for illicit drugs. The Controlled Substances Act regulates the importation, possession, use and distribution of specific narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids.
Most significant from this Act are the five schedules intended to distinguish particular drugs by placing them in a miscellaneous hierarchy with varying classifications and qualifications. These five schedules are arbitrary, ambiguous and have no basis in reality except to create chaos and confusion, and to make a political statement as a means to control the social and cultural uprisings within the United States. Schedule One substances are said to have a high abuse potential, no medical use and significant safety concerns.
Schedule One substances include, marijuana, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline (peyote), MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin. Schedule Two drugs include hydrocodone (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamines, methadones, oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl (100 more potent than morphine), Adderall and Ritalin. The most important distinction between the two classes is that the majority of Schedule One substances occur naturally in nature, while the majority in Schedule Two are synthesized in laboratories by major pharmaceutical corporations. Substances that occur naturally in nature cannot be patented, and therefore, monopolized and profited off of by Big Pharma companies.
Many drugs in classes two through five contain heroin- a Schedule One substance- but are not subject to Schedule One classification due to the chemical alteration of heroin into opioid pill form. Governments consider the socioeconomic and political factors before classifying a drug, which is why alcohol and tobacco are not classified as Schedule One drugs even though they both have high abuse potential, no medical purpose, and cause severe health and safety concerns for both the user and the whole of society.
The prohibition of alcohol in the early twentieth century did nothing to prevent society from using the drug; however, it did push the sale and use of the substance underground, creating a vacuum for the rise of the mafia and illegal distribution networks, similar to the modern day illicit drug trade.
Schedule One Legislation
In 1986, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which established mandatory minimum prison sentences for particular drugs. This policy is often seen as racially predatory and discriminatory as crack cocaine- typically used by African-Americans- carries a five-year minimum prison sentence for possession of five grams, while powder cocaine- more expensive and more often used by whites- requires possession of 500 grams for the same five-year prison sentence. This extreme disparity was reduced in 2010 with the Fair Sentencing Act, which removed the mandatory minimum prison sentence for crack cocaine.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act- signed into law by Ronald Regan- was an extension of Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs and contributor to the militarization of local police forces, who conduct full-armored search and seizure missions with heavy surveillance capabilities on a regular basis for an increasing number of circumstances related to drug use and possession, as well as in areas of political and social control not related to drug use, such as peaceful protests and demonstrations, an overreach and infringement on American’s First Amendment rights and liberty as American citizens.
State and local police departments receive billions of dollars in left over military grade equipment from the Pentagon as a result of the Department of Defense Excess Property Program- also known as the 1033 Program- created as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990. This program authorizes the Pentagon to transfer surplus riot gear, armored tanks, machine guns, vehicle mounted turrets, snipers, tear gas, sound cannons, grenade launchers, and rubber bullets to state and local police forces as a means to conduct counter-narcotics and counterterrorism operations at the local police force level.
A provision in the program requires that police departments use the equipment that they receive from the Pentagon within one year of acquiring it. This pushes law enforcement to escalate routine situations, like home search warrants and peaceful protests, and turns them into an occupying military force in a war against the public. Some prominent examples of police militarization against the public are the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the Michael Brown murder, and the protests for the right to clean water by Native Americans in Standing Rock, South Dakota against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.
Oftentimes, state and local law enforcement receive these military weapons but fail to receive military training and tactics to complement the gear and weaponry. Without proper training, many agencies conduct operations with reckless disregard for public safety, which creates a gap of distrust between the public and the police force when law enforcement assembles at protests dressed in riot gear, escalating tensions instead of making an attempt to understand the nature of the publics grievance by conducting substantive discussions to diffuse the situation.
War on Drugs
Richard Nixon started the world War on Drugs in the 1970s as a way to limit political opposition against him from the anti-Vietnam War, counter-culture movement and the African American Civil Rights Activists. Locking up hippies and blacks for no reason would have created an uncontrollable rebellion by young Americans against the government, but by inventing a fictitious drug war, Nixon could lock up his strongest opposition from the anti-war left- weed and LSD users- and African Americans- primarily heroin users- and treat the situation as a justification for the expansion of the national and global apparatus against drug use, essentially altering the public view of drug use and twisting it into a criminal activity done by minorities and an out of control generation of young misfits that needed to be kept in check and compressed into traditional American social and political norms.
Nixon’s invention of the War on Drugs led to the creation of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1973, with an initial annual budget of 75 million dollars. Today, this federal agency receives an annual budget of two billion dollars with little to show for it as illicit drug use is more prevalent than ever before. The DEA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determine the five drug schedules and conduct their operations based off of these arbitrary classifications, effectively ignoring the tens of thousands of Americans killed each year from prescriptions opioids that fall under schedule two through five on the list, choosing instead to focus their attention on nonaddictive Schedule One substances like weed, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms.
In 1980, the United States incarcerated fifty thousand people for drug related offenses; today, there are over 500,000 people- twenty-five percent of the total U.S. prison population of 2.3 million people- locked up for nonviolent drug offenses. The United States represents only five percent of the world population, but houses 25 percent of the world’s prisoners- many for inexcusable crimes- but many, still, from an out of control government drug policy with roots dating back to a racist and oppressive government administrations.
This war on people disguised as a war on drugs created a vacuum for drug cartels to rise up, destabilized entire countries that now rely on the 400 billion dollar illicit drug trade, militarized America’s traditional police forces to look like occupying armies, and continues to absorb greater sums of American tax dollars to fight a perpetual war on human freedom, liberty, and consciousness.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the U.S. spends fifty-one billion dollars every year to fight the War on Drugs; in total, the American government- through the exploitation of taxpayers- has wasted $1 trillion to fight this war on people.
Yet the United States remains the number one nation in illegal drug use, as well as in legal drug use, with substances like alcohol and tobacco. The more money spent on the War on Drugs, incarceration, and building new prisons, the less money that our country possesses to pay for education, healthcare, infrastructure, safety, and security services.
Studies show that legalization and decriminalization of illicit drugs today could generate forty-seven billion dollars in tax revenue and greatly reduce our prison population. Instead of forcing the illicit drug trade underground and shoving profits into the hands of criminal cartels, Schedule One substances can be regulated and taxed like the much deadlier drugs of alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately, major pharmaceutical corporations and the prison industrial complex have a vested interest in keeping naturally occurring drugs illegal, their benefits distorted and hidden from the public. These organizations make their profits off of locking people up and by selling them patented, lab created drugs at excessive markup costs.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol and tobacco remain two of America’s favorite drugs, legal or illegal. These substances prop up hundred billion dollar industries and generate tens of billions of dollars in tax revenue for the American government. Tobacco and alcohol are also major factors in the health and consciousness level in society, as they carry a massive burden of disease and sickness to the user with prolonged use; and create social instability with excessive healthcare costs, as our culture attempts to repair the damage done by these drugs.
Tobacco alone absorbs over $300 million a year in direct medical costs and productivity loss due to premature death and secondhand smoke inhalation, as cigarettes and tobacco related products are responsible for over 480,000 deaths every year. Alcohol falls behind only tobacco and poor diet as the leading cause of death in the United States with eighty-eight thousand deaths annually.
The damage to society that these drugs cause cannot be fully understood in the number of deaths, as the problems and suffering that they cause are often ignored by the American government who remain complicit in the deterioration of the social fabric by directing federal, state, and local agencies to spend time, resources, and finances on less harmful drugs, without proving results or providing adequate reason other than the subliminal undercutting of our cultures freedom and liberty of consciousness.
The billion dollars in tax revenue and tens of millions of dollars of lobbying money funneled into the government by both the tobacco and alcohol industries ensure safe passage across all avenues of American life, ultimately creating environments for these drugs to flourish, while politicians and mainstream media use fear and propaganda to guide our attention towards false statistics about schedule one substances like marijuana, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.
An objective observer may wonder why our government allows such harmful drugs like alcohol and tobacco to deteriorate so much of our cultures health and well-being. Attempts to reign in these industries with increased taxes and regulations fail; and our ability to educate and influence users about the dangers of prolonged alcohol and tobacco use fall short, as both drugs are deeply embedded into our social fabric, making them an essential aspect of American life. People do not want to be told what to do by the government. The social experiment of alcohol prohibition in 1919 is a great example.
The Eighteenth Amendment banned the manufacturer, transportation, and sale of intoxicating liquors. Like the prohibition of Schedule One substances today, this did nothing to prevent Americans from drinking alcohol; and, like drug cartels and the black market drug trade today, this pushed alcohol use underground and allowed for organized crime and the mafia to rise to power as a way to subvert the bureaucratic authority seeking to return the United States back to its puritan days of chastity, chivalry, ethics, and morals.
Alcohol prohibition lasted only 14 years before the government realized that the public would take the drug, regardless of its legality. Human beings are pleasure seeking biological organisms. Internally, the mind does not distinguish between societies arbitrary and inconsistent laws about the legality of specific drugs. The term drug carries no inherent meaning except the one that society and culture ascribe to them. All drugs are chemical compounds that interact with particular neurotransmitters in the brain, which elicit an emotional response and contribute to feelings of happiness, relaxation and well-being. Part 2