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WKVT To Broadcast Forum On Heroin Problem In Community, May 15


WKVT radio will present “A Call to Action” on Thursday, May 15, a special community forum about the increasing problems with heroin use and related criminal activity in the Brattleboro Area.

The program will be broadcast live from Brooks Memorial Library and air during the “Live and Local” show’s regular slot, from 9am-12noon, on 100.3FM and 1490AM.

“A Call to Action” brings together policy makers, members of law enforcement, treatment providers and drug awareness and prevention specialists for a discussion about what every community member can do to assist those who are on the front line waging the battle against crime and addiction every day.

Classic Hits 92-7 morning host Fish and “Live and Local” host Chris Lenois will co-moderate the forum, which will include Vermont Department of Health Commissioner, Harry Chen, MD, State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver, Lieutenant John Merrigan of the Vermont State Police, Brattleboro Police Chief Gene Wrinn, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital President and CEO, Steven R. Gordon, Todd Kammerzelt, MD from the Brattleboro Retreat, Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kate O’Connor and members of organizations such as Turning Point of Windham County, Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition and Youth Services, Inc.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 802-254-2343.

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 #

Everything at this “community broadcast” is tainted POVs

Not surprised that we have a public forum set up that, once again as before, consistently omits the people who advocate drug legalization.

Everything said and done at this “community broadcast” is tainted by the same old same old with their familiar tedious set of facts (that are not always facts).

How much longer do you folks think you can get away with weighting your community outreach entirely in your POV?

Enough already. Times are changing.

When will the civic responders pull this issue away from the criminal justice system and change the laws to recognize a responsible adult activity first, and, only call for the laws and courts when a real crime has been committed.

Possession and use by itself is not a crime.

As it is, out of the starting gate is the criminal fingerpointing that leads to a separation from the community, not a bonding.

In today’s world, drug legalization POVs are equally valid to “law enforcement, treatment providers and drug awareness and prevention specialists.“

Why aren’t they represented at this broadcast??

Keeping across the board "drug decriminalization and legalization" off of the table only perpetuates the myth that heroin and other drug users are all addicts and criminals first.

This American says: They are not.

 
 #

Legalize it all!!! He says.

I guess if there's someone out there who can use heroin in moderation and not become addicted fine. But I think you'll have a hard time with that one.
It really is a shame though that people can't live in reality and with courage but have to self medicate to escape themselves.

 
 #

Your view is too simplistic

Criminalizing any drug user for possession and use only is arbitrary and capricious. It starts with the assumption that the act of possessing and using a drug in and of itself is criminal intention. It is not.

Not to mention the sickening hypocrisy of legalizing some drugs (alcohol and cigarettes) and criminalizing others (heroin, marijuana, cocaine, etc.).

Also, your simple claim that weak and unrealistic people “self medicate to escape themselves“ cannot apply to the wide variety of human behavior that drives each adult individual to make personal choice decisions.

 
 #

Isn't Your Free Choice Simple?

I'm leaving the criminal element out of it Vidda. It's really not a complicated issue. Some choose to try heroin as a free choice. That's fine, but when they become a problem for society the rest of us are expected to pick up the pieces.
If some 50 yr old stoner wants to have the freedom to use heroin and become a junky fine but why should the productive members of society be expected to rehabilitate them. Wasn't it their free choice to use?

Just curious. What would your Brattleboro look like if heroin were legal?

 
 #

To answer your just curious question...

Mr. Mike, the criminality of drugs is pivotal (including heroin).

The “chosen” drug, alcohol, is not criminalized, unless or until it involves a statutory DWI.

Illegal drugs have associated crime precisely because they are illegal, not because the people using them are criminals. The majority of all drug users are not really violating any laws because many of the laws are arbitrary and capricious.

It is more often the law that is at fault, not the drug user. Simple possession and use laws should not be on a control schedule or law books.

In that sense, yes, we should leave “the criminal element out of it.“

To answer your just curious question, I’d need some information from you, if you don't mind:

Are alcoholics "stoners," are they "junkies?"
If an drinker becomes an alcoholic should “productive members of society be expected to rehabilitate them?“
Was it "their free choice to use" alcohol?
What would your Brattleboro look like if alcohol were illegal?

{I haven't mentioned cigarettes here...yet}

 
 #

Legalizing heroin as a fix for Brattleboro's drug problem

Vidda, 

I appreciate your comments, but I don’t understand why you are so condemning of a conversation that hasn’t even happened.  The reason we have been more proactive in pursuing voices from “law enforcement, treatment providers and drug awareness and prevention specialists” is because these individuals might be able to provide more immediately actionable ideas for addressing an issue that is at a crisis level. Your suggestion of legalizing heroin would require a change in federal law, not to mention a sea change in perception about the social ills this drug brings to a community. 

You correctly assert that “possession and use by itself is not a crime.” That philosophy is at the root of the plan Governor Shumlin presented in his “State of the State” address back in January, and is why there are more than just cops and lawyers participating in the forum. At the same time, I hope you’ll sympathize with those who are concerned about the crimes being committed for the sake of supporting a drug habit, or those who have already lost friends and family through overdose or violence.They are people who aren’t willing to wait for such a Quixotic solution as universal legalization to play out. 

If you would like to make a comment about how legalization of heroin is the answer, please introduce yourself to me during one of the breaks and I’ll try to find time in the schedule to allow for your comment. But I also ask that you please be realistic about the application of that solution to the issues at hand. Alternatively, we could set up a time discuss the topic of drug legalization in its own segment on another day.

Chris Lenois
Live and Local host 
WKVT 100.3 FM/1490AM
clenois@wkvt.com

 
 #

Crimes are driven by illegality of the drug, not by the person

Thank you Chris, for your thoughtful response.

Since I’m hearing-impaired I wouldn’t be able to listen to the program or call in. I was thinking of asking for a copy of the broadcast so I could l listen to it on my computer with headsets.

I appreciate that you’re willing to schedule airtime to discuss drug legalization. When I did a few shows with Daryl on Steve West we used headsets that allowed me to participate. If you’re willing so am I.

I am aware of Peter Shumlin’s philosophy behind his opiate address. Nevertheless, I used the word tainted because philosophy is one thing, but the context of it is as important as the point-of-view. An illegal criminalized context couched in ideology still places the thoughts and actions on the bottom rung.

Remove the criminal stigma “entirely” and you’ll see a new and rational way of discussing any drug use.

That means a hands-off policy for drug use until a real crime has been committed, or the party seeks help. Law enforcement and the harm of the criminal justice system should be a last resort scenario.

Most drug users have functionality because they really do not commit “crimes being committed for the sake of supporting a drug habit.“ That is another myth about drug use when it is "illegal" drug use.

Crimes are driven by the illegality of the drug, not by the person using the drug.

I hope we can stay in touch about this, Chris. Thanks again.
~Vidda

 
 #

"An idea whose time may have finally come"

What If U.S. Cities Just Stopped Participating in the War on Drugs

"Cities are in a unique position to make changes to the way the country carries out the war on drugs."

http://www.citylab.com/crime/2014/05/what-if-us-cities-just-stopped-part...

 
 #

Vermont should put the question to popular vote

Not ambivalent about legalization and or strident decriminalization myself, I see cities can hold promise of limited change of effectiveness.

Also, not every state allows lawmaking by referendums, but many towns and cities do as a way to suggest or make change.

Vermont state assembly does not allow lawmaking by referendums

Both Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana through popular initiatives, which the states were bound to honor.

If Vermont is so intent of “learning” from Colorado and Washington, the VT state assembly should put the question to popular vote.

But, "popular vote" scares the hell out of many state legislatures.

 
 #

DEA Nixonian Parasites the main driver behind surveillance

Most people take the DEA for granted. Very few understand the threat the DEA, sometimes referred to as Nixonian Parasites, in their hold against and over our individual privacy and the sovereignty of other nations.

Nixon's original intent when he formed the DEA was to secretly employ a domestic surveillance army under his control because he didn't trust the FBI and was prohibited from using the CIA for domestic surveillance.

His impeachment forestalled his plans and the DEA languished without significant congressional funding until Nancy Reagan invented the Just Say No nonsense. Even so, it took a while before the DEA became the super surveillance police force it is now.

The Drug War is one of the main drivers of the glut of surveillance we see today.

Aside from rewriting or deconstructing the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the disestablishment of the DEA should be one of the steps to end this godawful drug war. The DEA can or should be moved under the Food and Drug Administration, but only as a much reduced domestic enforcement arm of the FDA and entirely controlled by the FDA.

The feds have used the DEA for their private surreptitious army of police to quietly move into the sovereignty of other countries to enforce the State Department coercion of other countries to get in-line with U.S. drug war policies and efforts.

 

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