Dr. Steve Frye’s response to Dr. Ty Cobb about Dr. Frye’s debate with then Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick.
I’m disappointed that my charge was to focus on the National Security issues of our failed drug war and no one questioned DA Gammick about this at all. Even his recommended solutions “Education, education, education” has been proven ineffective by the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program and I am completely in favor or prevention and education, but they will not end the drug epidemic. And “Drug Courts,” his other solution also is no more effective than treatment without the court and the criminal record that citizens are left with is devastating.
Since both of his ideas absolutely will not work, we are still left with our drug war funding terrorists, U.S. gang potential for insurgency and tunnels and submarines capable of bringing terrorists, WMD and nuclear material into the US. It’s truly unfortunate that no one questioned him about this.
Here are DA Gammick’s quotes and the responses that I didn’t have an opportunity to present. Please forward them to your mailing list and I’d love DA Gammick to respond.
DA: “WOW. Sounds like what we need to do is just give up… Are we winning the drug war under our standard approach to it? No we are not, I’m not going stand up here and tell you that.”
Dr. Frye: DA Gammick admits we are losing the drug war, but after 75 years of drug Prohibition, he still wants to keep fighting a lost war.
D.A. then goes on to add, “We see a 30% success rate and 70% recidivism rate.”
Dr. Frye: And he wants to keep spending our treasury on this fiasco. Actually one-third of prisoners are dead by age 45 and two-thirds are rearrested within three years so we kill as many as we rehabilitate -- some achievement!
DA believes in Drug Court. “When we go the drug court routine, it flips. We see 70% success and 30% recidivism.”
Dr. Frye: The only problem with this false argument is that we don’t need drug courts to treat. We can get the same results or better, by just offering treatment without criminalization of a public health problem. The only thing that has ever reduced drug use and drug demand is treatment and it works just as well without the expense and residual criminal record of a court. We have a huge treatment gap in the US, so most people that want treatment can’t get it. Some even report getting arrested just to get into court ordered treatment.
DA “The Federal Government came out with DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). It lasted all of about 3 years. The federal government went, same thing, threw up their hands, said it was a total failure.”
Dr. Frye: It was a total failure!!!! DARE students used even more drugs than those not exposed to DARE. That’s why the Federal Government stopped funding it!
DA “HDDTA – “High Density Drug Trafficking Area –We target drug dealers and we target the people who are furnishing these drugs and the success has been huge.” Dr. Frye: As the following chart demonstrates, the HDDTA spends $225 million yearly with 33% results and accountability!!!!
Dr. Frye: So DA thinks this is a “huge success” in the drug war. It would be much cheaper to just have the DEA buy the drugs on the street.
DA “Is all of these going to be successful? Who knows?”
Dr. Frye: We know failure after 75 years of drug prohibition and more than forty years of a monumentally failed drug war.
DA: “But legalizing drugs is not the answer.”
Dr. Frye: It is the only rational, humane, therapeutic, proven safe answer.
DA “I passed around a sheet I hope its making its way around the room take a look at what methamphetamine did do this young lady in 10 years.”
Dr. Frye: Yes Meth is terrible and we didn’t have it until the 80s and 90s when our drug war was fully funded and is a testimonial to the failure of the drug war. And we will have even more addictive and tragic drugs introduced into our society as long as cartels have billions of dollars to hire pharmacologists and develop new and more addictive drugs.
With legalization she never would have been sampled and then sold this terrible addictive drug. The problem is the dealer, not the drugs
DA: “Why legalize drugs? You need to ask yourselves that. What is the benefit of cocaine?”
Dr Frye: Potent pain killers are used in medicine, surgery and dentistry all the time, and marijuana is the safest recreational, over-the-counter or prescription drug in history. You cannot die from marijuana alone.
DA: “What is the benefit of methamphetamine?”
Dr Frye: Excellent treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Narcolepsy, etc.)
DA: “What is the benefit of LSD and all the other drugs out there?
Dr Frye: Beneficial for dying patients from many causes.
DA: “How do they help humans? The answer is, they do not.”
Dr. Frye: Yet another lie. They have many medical uses and in addition, animals from ants to elephants to humans love to have their brains intoxicated, and we cannot legislate away this hardwired urge for intoxication.
DA: “What’s interesting is statistics. They’re great aren’t they? I love ‘em…..So when he starts sighting all these statistics of course they are going to support his position. But I don’t have time, I only have eight minutes, so I don’t have time to go through all of the statistics and go through them the other way.”
Dr. Frye: Please take all the time you want and put your highly paid staff on this. I welcome your data. Tragically drug warriors never have statistics to support their lies, just passion, so they can get more federal money to support their staffs.
DA “Britain tried this. British experience was let’s see what happens here. Britain tried to legalize drugs. They registered heroin addicts. They said ok let’s see what happens. They gave them their drugs. They took care of them. More crime, more of them stayed with the drugs than got off. They finally abandoned it because they found it to be a total failure.”
Dr. Frye: Another gross lie!!! Dr John Marks proved unequivocally that treating addicts resulted in less drug use and dramatically less crime in his clinic’s neighborhood.. His mistake was to go on “60 Minutes” on American TV. The US government then pressured Britain to stop his program and addiction went up and crime went up in his county and the neighboring counties.
DA: “The Netherlands, let me ask you a question about that. This seems to be a country that is really touted by Dr. Frye in his books and in his talks. Meanwhile the countries that surround the Netherlands have not adopted the same policy.”
Dr. Frye: Another Lie!!! Portugal legalized drugs six years ago and has had major success. Reference: the 2010 article by Glenn Greenwald titled, “Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies” by the conservative CATO Institute.
Furthermore, Switzerland now gives free heroin and sterile needles to its hard core methadone resistant addicts with an 80 % heroin discontinuation rate and in November 2008 the Swiss people voted by a 2:1 margin to make this a permanent program!
DA: “The Netherlands has the highest tax rate because they have to pay for the medical fall out to pay from the use of these drugs.”
Dr. Frye: One would think that DA Gammick would not make such a ridiculous claim after a year of debating our national health policy. The US has the highest per capita health care expenses in the world but rates number 37 in our health care system by the WHO. They may actually spend more on drug treatment as they actually treat drug problems and we don’t. We have a huge treatment gap as only one third of our citizens that want treatment can get it.
DA: “Let’s talk about the park in Amsterdam that is used to house drugs. That population has grown tremendously.”
Dr. Frye: I’ve been to Amsterdam twice and this is yet another gross lie, but a standard drug warrior claim. They actually have free clean injection rooms so there are no ‘drug parks’ in Amsterdam. They are in fact in our US ghettos, and ghettos also don’t exist in Holland, and in our crack houses, which also don’t exist in the Netherlands.
DA: “The needles and how they are furnished. They are furnished by George Soros, who also believes in the total legalization of drugs. He is a multi-billionaire, and this is his program.’
Dr. Frye: Another gross lie. Billionaire George Soros does support the Drug Policy Alliance in the US because he recognizes how horrendous our drug policy is for the U.S. and the world, but to my knowledge he provides no clean needles in the Netherlands as they don’t need his money as needles there are cheap and readily available.
DA: “School Drop Outs – Entirely drugs. What about the socieo-economic factors?
Youth Gangs – Entirely Drugs. That’s a bunch of bull pucky. There’s a lot of other reasons that youth gangs are prevalent in this country. It has to do a lot with young people getting together with people with like backgrounds that speak the same language. Parents are busy working 3 and 4 jobs to try to eek out a living and they aren’t watching their children as closely as they should be. So kids are left to their own little games.’
“What do we do about the high school drop out rate in this country? In the state? In the Washoe county particularly? I wish I had the answers. I bet that Heath Morrison wishes he had the answer. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s just drugs that does all this stuff. Are we having issues with them, you’re darn right? We have problems with them--Absolutely.” (Emphasis added.)
“When we start sighting statistics that that 70-80 percent of all crime involve drugs. There is a presumption that alcohol is a drug. I totally agree with that and alcohol plays a big part in what we see in our felony cases in the court. That’s a not just illicit drug, its also legal drug.”
Dr. Frye: It’s a well established by most criminologists that drugs are the primary factor in the growth of gangs and the National Youth Gang Center reports that teen gangs sell about seventy percent of the illicit drugs sold by kids.
Because alcohol is legal and relatively inexpensive, the problems from alcohol stem from its intoxicating properties and its tendency to lead to violence more than any other drug and infinitely more than marijuana, which is a very mellowing drug. The major crime from drugs is the crime committed to get drug money and the crime between dealers and cartel leaders. They don’t go to court to solve their differences, they shoot each other.
DA “To think gangs and cartels will say, you legalized drugs, were done--If you believe that then take a trip down to Disneyland with me to see Mickey.”
Dr. Frye; The gangs and cartels will not be done and I didn’t say they would be. There will always be crime and criminals, but crime went way down after the end of Prohibition and will go way down again when we end drug Prohibition.
Thanks much for the invite to go to Disneyland with you to see Mickey, but I think I’ll pass.
DA: “This is not the answer. And for those that think it is, I consider to be quitters. Just to give up is not the answer.”
Dr. Frye: I guess DA Gammick thinks we should still be in Viet Nam and we should have kept Prohibition and allowed the Capone era crime to continue.
DA: “Sixty percent of the world’s drugs – that’s a personal offense. I have 25 years in the US army, and I’m retired from the army as many of you are, and I have a gentleman stand up and say that the US Army is the leading dealer of heroin in Afghanistan, that’s offensive and I would like to see something substantial to back this up.” (He then apologizes, saying that he wears hearing aids).
Dr. Frye: Nice try DA Gammick, but even you couldn’t pull off this “bull pucky.” I said that the US has 60 % of the worlds drug use but only 5% of the world’s population and the Afghanistan poppy crop doubled while the US Army was on the ground. So much for our ability to control it anywhere, and if we can’t even control it, we’ll never eliminate it. You tried to twist it so that I said the Army dealt the poppies. But the audience would not let even you get away with this much “bull pucky.”
DAS: “Here’s another one the Marijuana Policy Project came out with this bunch of bunk at one time. They said that 89% of people in prison are in for simple possession of marijuana. We went to the prison and the prison had a population of 3,660+ and there were only 3 people in that prison for simple possession, that was it, and they all came from the cow counties where judges had given them multiple opportunities to get away from it. The rest were in for trafficking, sales, or had committed other crimes like armed robberies burglaries and other property crimes against citizens in our community.”
Dr. Frye: Another gross distortion! According to the 2007 Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, the largest total number of annual arrests for cannabis ever recorded by the FBI. Cannabis arrests now comprise nearly 47.5 percent of all drug arrests in the United States, and “of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 89 percent, 775,138 Americans were charged with possession only.”
DA: “What is the solution? More pinpointed accurate type enforcement. Education, education, education, education, and working with young people. I’m going to lay a lot of this on parents, especially parents who don’t do drugs. It would blow your mind how many parents we deal with that have drugs in the house that and give it to their kids. Methadone was the big answer to opium. We now have babies dying of methadone overdose because they get hold of it their fruit juice or parent giving it to the babies to go to sleep and they do go to sleep permanently. I’m talking two years old and younger.”
Dr. Frye: Education will help, but as long s there is a dealer out there giving our kids and young adults samples, it will never solve the problem. Two thousand college students die from alcohol overdoses annually and yet we won’t let them party with marijuana, the safest drug in the sword.
DA: “We have an issue and we have to deal with it but legalization is not the way to deal with that.”
Dr. Frye: Criminalization is clearly not the way to deal with it and we have decades of monumental failure to prove it. “You can get over an addiction but you can never get over a conviction” is the slogan of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.LEAP.cc), an organization of more than 30,000 members, mostly current and former DEA agents, police, sheriffs, narcotics officers, etc.
DA: “Round two, I’m not here to alter Dr. Frye’s opinion. I couldn’t do that if I was up here all day.”
Dr. Frye: That’s absolutely correct! Because your prohibition has led to this public health epidemic and incarceration will never solve it. In fact, it helped create our drug epidemic because when a simple pot smoker gets out of prison as an ex-felon, the only job he can get is crime and the easiest criminal job to get after having made all his connections in prison is dealing drugs. And that’s exactly how our drug war has created our drug epidemic.
DA: “Everybody is lying to you so we learned a long time ago when I went to law school that we learned how to do this stuff. If you can’t attack the facts you attack the other side. So everyone is lying to you so everything I said to you that comes out of the office of drug enforcement, out of the United States out of the Drug Czar is a lie. All of its lies-go and research it yourself. You will find there is one real broad spread of opinion, quite obviously, so go look at it yourself.”
Dr. Frye: Thank you for pointing out that it’s almost all lies. Please read “Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy” by Professors Matthew B. Robinson, PhD and Renee G. Scherlen, PhD. and you will see that the ONDCP is all lies and gross exaggeration of the drug wars success.
DA: “One thing he said I also take exception to is that he says marijuana doesn’t cause death. Explain that to the six kids in Vegas who the lady ran off the highway when she was smoking marijuana, or the family of 5 who were killed on Interstate 80 when the smoking marijuana ran over the pothole. Or the police officer that was killed on Mill St. when a young lady smoking marijuana pulled out and ran over him on his motorcycle while he was on duty.
Dr. Frye: There is a big difference between causality and association. Because marijuana stays in the blood for more than two months and because so many people use marijuana it’s bound to happen that some will have it in their blood at the time of an accident. If we measured the blood aspirin level of everyone admitted to the Washoe County jail, we’d find lots of aspirin. That doesn’t mean the aspirin caused the crime. It’s just an association and not a causation.
Two independent studies by the US Highway Traffic Safety Commission and the New Zealand Highway Safety Commission both documented that it’s safe to drive on marijuana.
DA: “I just talked to 3 individuals from Las Vegas Metro that say marijuana is involved in more and more of the violent crimes. At one time they came up with a statistic, and of course I’m lying to you, that 35% of domestic violence involves the misuse of marijuana” (emphasis added).
Dr. Frye: This could be the biggest lie of all!! As anyone knows who has ever done some weed, it’s remarkably mellowing. The only minor infraction that occurs on pot is if you get between a pot smoker and his Ding Dong or pizza. He may then accidentally shove you to get his munchies.
DA: “Drugs are dangerous and that’s the thing we have to remember.”
Dr. Frye: Drugs are dangerous, but our drug war is infinitely more dangerous and kills far more of our children, teens and adults that drugs ever could.
DA: “I didn’t know we were going to spend so much time debating marijuana but that’s fine. I want to tell you some other things. We talked about a gateway drug and that it’s just a big massive lie. I’ve been dealing with the Marijuana Policy Project for 12 years now, and what they say that marijuana is not a gateway drug, so we went to our drug court and surveyed 400 people and out of the 400, 85% started with marijuana and moved on to other drugs.”
Dr. Frye: I guess milk is the real gateway drug because everyone did that first. Just because someone did it first does not mean it’s a gateway. Three independent studies by the prestigious U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the unbiased World Health Organization and a third study by the British government all concluded unequivocally that marijuana is not a gateway drug. In fact, it’s a step down drug has been a successful treatment for alcoholics and other drug abusers for decades. So marijuana is neither addictive nor a gateway drug. But those are some of the favorite lies of the drug warriors.
DA: “If people want to legalize marijuana why not just go out and get a prescription from your doctor for Marinol, which is legal and the AMA and FDA have approved. I throw this argument out every time it comes up from the marijuana policy project. Last time I went round and round with the Marihuana Policy Project they said it takes too long.”
Dr. Frye: “Marinol, which is legal and the AMA and FDA have approved it.” This proves that marijuana is a safe, proven effective medication by the medical branch of our government, the FDA. The political branch, Congress, still says it has no therapeutic value and is an addictive drug. That’s because it keeps getting them elected because our citizens want to elect people that are tough on drugs.
Furthermore, Marinol only has one of the 200 active ingredients of marijuana, THC, and is therefore much less effective than marijuana, much more expensive and people with severe nausea and vomiting, such as from chemotherapy, cannot keep the pills down but can inhale the smoke and get all the miraculous benefits.
DA: “We have not discussed this. My main thrust, what I have been doing for 16 year is protecting children. By legalizing these drugs, we as adults are telling our children that it quite all right you go ahead because we think it’s a good thing to do.
Dr. Frye: Just another lie. We don’t say it’s okay for our kids to use alcohol, and it’s much easier for our teens to get marijuana than alcohol or cigarettes, because dealers don’t check ID’s.
More important is the fact that our drug war kills far more kids than drugs! They die prenatally because their drug-using moms can’t get prenatal care for fear of incarceration or losing their baby. Then the kids who go foster care when their parents are incarcerated have four times the death rate of kids not in foster care. And if they survive to “age out” of foster care they become street people and addicts and alcoholics. So the very thing we tried to prevent, we have actually perpetuated. And we now have a million teenagers selling drugs in this country. Some success!
DA: “When we talk about the fed regulation of drugs. Over my strong objection, we passed a law in this state for medical marijuana-- whatever that is. We still do not have a system today for administering, for giving, for growing, and anything else in this state to use- and it’s been a law in this state for 6 or 8 years I don’t recall which.”
Dr. Frye: That’s absolutely true. Our obstructionistic state legislature has never passed the necessary laws to implement the vote of the people and create dispensaries. So seriously ill patients musts still break the law to get their life-saving medical marijuana.
DA: “Steve, I said we lost the war on drugs. I agreed with that. I agreed with you totally on that when we started talking.” (Emphasis added.)What we need to do is a more universal approach and we are doing it. We are starting to look at other areas and starting to bring other areas in. We still need enforcement as part of the package not the entire package.
Dr. Frye: Incarceration adds nothing to the solution and we have decades to prove it. Please DA Gammick, explain to the National Security Forum how we can ever keep drugs off our streets when we can’t even keep almost a million illegal immigrants out of our country annually and can’t even keep drugs out of our prisons? And please tell us how the US will stop funding terrorists, how we will eliminate the US gang potential for insurgency and eliminate the tunnels and submarines capable of bringing terrorists, WMD and nuclear material into the US.
Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this critically important discussion and debate.
Steve Frye., M.D.