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When I used to think of the number of bars that we used to have, the number of so-called state stores and liquor store, how easy it was for me and my friends as kids to get wine under age because someone would always buy it-if I were to think in every casino, every restaurant, every place that sells liquor and alcohol, that we now can have drugs available to them, then I would suspect I would have to thank my dear friend and former colleague, Joseph Galiber, for just showing what we would have to deal with.
Can you tell me, as you try to save some lost souls and bring them back, what your job would be if, in addition to the liquor stores, you had the crack, cocaine, PCP, LSD, heroin and other drugs available?
Mrs. WHITFIELD. I am glad Mr. Galiber put forth his suggestions. Sometimes to point out the ridiculous, it helps us to see how hypocritical maybe we are about some things. That is all that his proposals do for me.
Addicts want more drugs, the best drugs and as many drugs as they can get. The thing of maintenance just does not work. A person does not start using drugs to get maintained. All of you have said they start using drugs to get high. Cocaine and heroin and a few others, the more you use, the more you need to use in order to feel as good as you felt the first time.
So when you start talking about legalizacion, somebody is going to have to have the right to increase that dosage upon demand. They don't want to be maintained, they want to get high. If you are not willing to let the person get high, then maintaining a drug addict is out the window.
You cannot use methadone as an analogy because it has a blocking agent and it does not give you that euphoria.
Coming from your area, Representative Towns, I remember back in the early 1950s we looked at Brownsville in East New York and said all we had to do was declare war on the United States and maybe we could get the same kind of aid West Germany got to get rebuilt, because Brownsville looked like it had been bombed out in the Second World War.
As long as you have people who don't have any hope, don't see any opportunities for themselves—I am not saying the opportunities may not be there, but if their circumstances have not shown them how to get from point A to point B, if it is not heroin and cocaine they will find another destructive behavior.
Now, the people who have the opportunities and the goals, are they going to stop? Are we going to have people who, when they get ready to be asked to go on the Supreme Court, have their records show they smoked a joint or they did that or this? How about the civil rights of these people we are proposing to make legal drug abusers? Will it make them more employable? or, those who are unemployed because they are unemployable because they don't have the skills, are we going to give them dope and move them out of the way?
We are talking about two groups of people to legalize drugs for: those who can afford it and those who cannot. Those who can afford it can be reclaimed and put back into the system. When you talk about reclaiming the other people, the various committees you taxes."
have in the House, Housing and Welfare or whatever—the taxpayers are not going to pay for this. That is what you will say.
You cannot tell me about the treatment programs for these legal drug users. If you put it in the private sector, they will be as expert as all other private sector businesses in avoiding their tax responsibilities. They will not pay for their pollution through “additional
I think every now and then we feel a need to cleanse ourselves. I think that has been brought about not so much about the drug abuse problem, but because of the spectacular killings that have been going on across the country. When I say "spectacular," I know they are. When we can see it on television, we feel it is coming at us next.
King's County Hospital, Mr. Towns, is where I first went into the methadone maintenance program in 1970. I happened to be lucky enough to have a program in my own mind when I went there. They told me they would maintain me on methadone for the rest of my life. That is not what I wanted. I had destroyed myself to the point I had no place to go but up, and getting high was not a part of it.
Many people went into that program because they were worried about going to jail. They were lazy and didn't want to hustle, whatever that means, sticking somebody up etc. They didn't want to do that. If the criminality could be removed, they would go and get the pill, get their bottle of cheap wine, go to their psychiatrist and get the uppers or downers and they were off again. So you have not stopped them getting high and you have not stopped the problem.
I am not criticizing methadone. All I am saying is that they did not present a program to go along with it. I don't think they had as much concern about what that person was going to do productively when they stopped using heroin as they were in getting them out of the businesspeople's hair and losing money based on their criminality.
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Whitfield, I hope you will expand on your thoughts and work with our staff, because you have hit something on the head when you talk about this emotional concern about controlling violence where constantly we see killings on the street of innocent people. Mayor Schmoke would say they are fighting over the profits.
I hope you can include in your research, which you don't have to research because you've lived it, the number of kids being born addicts and the fact that in the hospitals it is costing us $500 to $1,000 a day with these kids, many born with AIDS. Many of these kids are dying. They die from tuberculosis, they die from a variety of diseases that drugs have exposed them to.
Drugs will not allow people to take advantage of the things God gave us, you know, get out of the rain, get out of the cold. Drug addicts don't get them. They die and they are not included in the body count. They are not considered victims as they should be.
In the final analysis—and this is the cruelest part of it-many of their parents and family and friends don't even attend the funeral, they don't identify the body at the morgue, because it does not have the glamour.
This is where Mayor Schmoke, the new mayor of Baltimore concerned with violence on the streets, would say he believes by taking the profit out from the bums and killers on the street and giving the profit to the pharmaceuticals and allowing them under some drug stamp or Medicaid program-you know, we can find money for jails when we cannot find it for education or homes.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Or for treatment.
Mr. RANGEL. If it looks like you are controlling them, you find the money. We found the money for methadone, a highly addictive drug, allegedly to wean people off heroin. Forget it; it is criminal.
Suppose we expanded that so you could get, now, in your neighborhood clinic, according to the recommendations made by Mayor Schmoke, cocaine from one doctor or methadone from one doctor or heroin from another doctor. Drug addicts being what they are, do you think that would eliminate the street crime that attracted the attention of people?
Mr. WHITFIELD. Of course it would not. If people are worrying about street crime, they need to look at the body of people who historically have been responsible for that street crime.
If it is not heroin, cocaine, it will be something else, because you have that one group of people who are making their own response to their conditions. The drug is not necessarily the problem. The drug is the response to a whole panorama of other problems.
The one thing I do not want to do, I am trying not to make this a class issue, because I do recognize that whether this legalization goes forth or not will depend on the people who are largely not affected by drug abuse. Those most affected will not be out there voting. Those people who are going to vote are thinking about getting that threat off television and out of my neighborhood and they may vote for this. But I want them to think about their youngsters who are also at risk.
I have also been a housing director at one of the major universities in this area. I have seen these youngsters of privilege that can be rescued after five or six years completing a four-year degree on their parents ability to contribute a chair or something else to a university to keep their child on campus with their drug abuse, as opposed to outside the boundary of that campus.
I want everybody to recognize, wherever you come from in the social and economic stratum, the danger is there. The more privilege you have, the more you can hide it but it is still there. There is a greater danger of these people becoming our doctor, lawyer or politician. There is no stratum of life in America that is immune to it.
I am not wishing this on anybody in the Congress, but I would not be at all surprised or shocked if a year or two or tomorrow a scandal might come out that one of our Representatives or Senators was abusing illegal drugs, because this is the reality of America. It is not just a poor persons problem.
Mrs. WHITFIELD. Let me say, in terms of legalization of drugs decreasing our crime rate, if drugs were legal do you really believe that Reboks would be any less important in the minds of our kids? Do you believe that all the advertising that comes on TV, the way they glamorize everything, the designer clothes, hairstyles, cars, jeeps-do you think this is going to be any less attractive to our young people? No, no. If drugs were legal, they would not get the money by selling drugs, but they would go in another direction.
It would do nothing to deter the crime rate in our society today, nothing at all. It is where America places their values. It is what we expose our kids to on a day-to-day basis. All the time parents cannot instill those values when there is peer pressure out there that our kids are confronted with on a day-to-day basis, peer pressure that makes our kids want to do what the next child is doing, just to fit in, who want to be like Miami Vice stars.
So when you look at decriminalization of drugs, believe me, it is not going to do anything to lower the crime rate. You need to come up with something different.
Mr. RANGEL. Listen to this. Mayor Schmoke would say that he does not want to give drugs to non-users, and that he would have the requirement that persons have to be addicted for one year to become eligible to enter a methadone treatment program.
Based on our experience, unless the drug centers are open 24 hours a day, or if Senator Galiber, in his candor, said that you can get as much as you want like alcohol, which you can buy by the truckload today, wouldn't these addicts going to the federally supported drug centers want to get drugs outside of the legal limits? It is possible that the Mayor is suggesting that the patient would be able to get all he wants from the doctor?
We assume that the doctor is going to cut it off. Does the cocaine or heroin addict say, well, that is all the doctor gives me, I have to wait for my next appointment?
Mrs. WHITFIELD. There would still be a black market for drugs.
Mr. WHITFIELD. I want to take Mr. Galiber's point one step further.
Mr. RANGEL. This is Mayor Schmoke. Senator Galiber has only one limitation, like with alcohol, if the person comes in and appears to have had too much.
Mr. WHITFIELD. The same as you have after-hour clubs when the bars and liquor stores close and on Sundays in many neighborhoods, like I know in New York there used to be places where they could buy liquor illegally.
Mr. RANGEL. I have to interrupt you. I used to be a part of that. That was because we did not have enough money to store up on this stuff. If you get the Mayor with his legalized stuff and the Senator with his open market, we won't have to go to after-hours clubs because now you can have all the liquor you want in your house, so you would not have to worry under Senator Galiber's program. Under Mayor Schmoke's program you will have to have it after it is dispensed in the clinics and hospitals.
Mr. WHITFIELD. With alcohol abuse they are starting to try to prosecute people who allow people who drink too much and then go out and drive and kill someone.
If the purveyors of this drug were allowing someone to use too much and they OD'd, would they be prosecuted for contributing to the death?
Mr. RANGEL. Not if they bought it at a retail store. I am certain the same laws that govern alcoholism, if a doctor was to prescribe a dose of alcohol to an alcoholic, I think the same rulings would apply.
The Senator is a lawyer. Stick around.
First of all, I am sorry I missed yesterday's session. I was on the Floor all day with legislative duties.
I picked up the packet at the end of the day, including Mayor Schmoke's testimony. I have been reading all the testimony today.
I was particularly impressed with Mr. and Mrs. Whitfield's testimony. I read all the way through Mayor Schmoke's testimony about the hopelessness that we have lost the war. But I agree with our Chairman that the war has never been fully engaged.
I know on one stream, which is not Senator Galiber's position or Mayor Schmoke's position or even NORML's position, sometimes I feel it is the Libertarians who say we are against all this destruction, but it is your call, back off, you are going to end up in a mess.
Mr. DORNAN. Where I find people drawn to Libertarianism on economic matters, taxes, which is the main draw to their party, but they don't seem to make the connection when people end up in sanitariums, if not dead which is being paid for by American taxpayers. There is no such thing as a free lunch or a free joint.
Now we have seen in tragic instances, solutions on the far right of the spectrum, on what to do about drugs in which you execute people who are smuggling small amounts, as happened in Malaysia with two young Australians. The President, Margaret Thatcher, and the Pope weighed in and asked Malaysia, to please not execute these two young men. They were executed. And guess what? That type of extreme punishment, similar to chopping off poor people's hands for shoplifting in Saudi Arabia, has worked in Malaysia. They haven't had much problem with drug smuggling through there lately. It may not hold, but when you execute two young men in the prime of their life, say in their 20s, for smuggling small amounts, it seems to get the message across. But nobody is going to sanction that in our country or any of the countries of what we generally refer to as the free world, Asian or Arab countries excepted.
But somewhere in this spectrum of solutions to curbing the demand side is a formula that works, that is reasonable, that we have not yet tried. The chairman, a Democrat from New York, be lieves this, this representative from California, born in Manhattan, believes that. And I believe that is what the drug bill showed last week. Our chairman pounds on the Republican Administration very hard, but always takes time to graciously compliment Nancy Reagan. I defend the administration, with some criticism. But our chairman doesn't accept my theory, that liberal permissiveness for 20 years, which I was battling on television 20 years ago as a public affairs host, said “turn on, tune in, and dropout,” or “if it feels good, do it.” The Libertarians have only recently adopted legalization as their philosophy, together with articulate ACLU lawyers weighing-in in favor of protecting pornography, another disease of the streets, and liberal permissive attitudes about narcotics. But I don't care who is at fault. That is something about which we can disagree.
My chairman wants to get tough, I want to get tough, and we have to at least try to dampen the demand side. We need to work