American Drug War: The Last White Hope
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50 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

The ridiculous war on drugs

9/10
Author: lastliberal from United States
27 March 2008

While Tulia with Halle Berry and Billy Bob is still in pre-production, this documentary serves as an excellent report on the drug war in the United States and has devoted a significant amount of its time to the incident that occurred in that town, with a great interview with Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn, who led the fight to free the Tulia 46.

It is so much more than that, as it gives a history of the CIA involvement in the crack epidemic in the US, and also presents facts that will leave no doubt that the government used drugs to finance the illegal war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, but they continue to use them to suppress people of color in this country.

It is also clear that the ban on medical uses of marijuana is a conspiracy to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.

One things that was presented that is of considerable interest is that the drug war is unwinable due to the fact that once you ban certain drugs, people will develop new ones to satisfy their need. Just as bathtub gin was created during prohibition, crystal meth and newer drugs have been developed in this country in response to the decreased drugs coming from Mexico.

Those opposed to decriminalization of drugs would do well to realize that 700,000 people die every year from alcohol (not counting traffic deaths), tobacco, and legal pharmaceuticals, while only 10,000 die from drug use, and no death has every been reported from marijuana.

Do you know where 85% of the heroin distributed throughout the world comes from. The answer may surprise you, but not shock you after seeing this film.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

One of the most informative documentaries I've ever seen!

10/10
Author: gingerfreibrun from United States
14 May 2008

I just happened to tune in to "American Drug War" on Showtime one morning and I was immediately sucked in. My eyes and ears were on sensory overload. I never knew our government was dealing with our "war on drugs" in such a way. What impressed upon me most was that that 50% of all current US prison inmates are non-violent drug offenders! Our government has made it a business to lock up drug offenders instead of treating their bad habits as a social problem and perhaps getting them treatment.

I have watched this documentary at least 5 times now and still bought it so I could share it's content with family and friends. The producer of this piece put a lot of heart into it and did his homework. We should all spread the word about it's content.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Amazing Documentary

10/10
Author: clay001 from United States
12 October 2008

I loved this documentary! Wonderfully done! Lots of amazing and aggravating information in this movie. Watch it and watch it again! I was surprised to find out that 85% of Americans who say that they use illegal drugs say that they only use marijuana. I was also surprised to find out that according to a Gallup poll several years ago 80% of Americans do not think that marijuana is dangerous. It's pretty amazing in the context of those statistics that it's still illegal. I thought that the way this documentary is done is particularly well though. Lots of different perspectives, lots of former drug fighters talking from experience. The director puts a lot of things into proper perspective. Highly recommended!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding documentary EVERYONE needs to see

10/10
Author: iscream22 from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
11 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an excellent documentary about a controversial current topic that is not discussed nearly enough. There are billions of dollars being spent on the war on drugs each year and what is the outcome of all that funding? The American Prison system. There are hundreds of thousands of mostly non-violent pot smokers being locked up for harming no one. This documentary shows how companies like the partnership for a drug free America show commercials on television that are used as scare tactics to make us think that if someone buys a dimebag of grass to unwind that they are now a "terrorist" because they are supporting drugs. How are they supporting the war on drugs when the majority of marijuana in the country is grown in the United States. It also shows how the CIA sold tons of cocaine to Freeway Ricky Ross to distribute within the United States. Why is our country cracking down on marijuana smokers when we have a horrible crystal meth epidemic in the Midwest, which does lots of harm to communities and families. And is prison the right answer? Many times when a addict gets out of jail they will get right back on drugs. Drug addiction is a disease and needs to be treated like one, if the person is not treated for the disease, how can they be cured?

And why has our government not decriminalized and out and out legalized marijuana. Whether it is legal or not people are going to continue to smoke marijuana. marijuana is a cash crop that brings in billions of dollars every year in the US alone, why not keep prices the same and use all of that profit for taxes? Marijuana can also be used for ethanol to make gasoline (and it makes it much more efficiently than corn). Hemp also can yield 4 times as much paper as normal lumber and hemp doesn't harm the environment.

The war on drugs is ridiculous and this DVD shows how the United States' position on drug use is ridiculous.

Please watch this film and show it to others. The message needs to get out and the tyranny needs to end.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

meh

7/10
Author: Blink18teetoo from texas
9 March 2009

As much as I despise the Drug War and think there is a great need for films truthfully portraying the subject, I must say I had a few problems with this doc. They didn't cite enough sources, or present enough hard Facts, and weren't objective enough for me, overall. Lack of objectivity is part of what helped create this mess. They had a lot of interviews where people said whatever and you feel that it was supposed to be taken as fact. And a lot of the interviewers didn't come off as very knowledgeable or truthful-like the gangster types talking about the government as if they are some kind of authority on the subject. And the Tommy Chong interview, I'm almost 100% sure, was guided. He pretty much regurgitated what the film had been saying- word for word. I was also unhappy with some of the editing-for instance-when they asked a guy if jail was helping him with his meth addiction he looked over as if to think for a moment and they quickly cut away, as if to make it look like he was saying 'no' with his body language. I imagine he said yes, and they decided to just edit to make it suit their purposes. It seemed like the guy who was on PCP was making more sense than the film at some points. "Church will pimp a whore backwards"...thought provoking. There were some good interviews though, and some good points, but not much that people who have followed the drug war didn't already know. I wish someone would give me some money to make an anti-drug war movie, because I'm sure I could do much better than this. Still-I gave it a 7/10 because I'm just happy to see films covering this subject.

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4 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Not Impressed...

5/10
Author: Sven Andersson from Sweden
6 June 2012

This is a documentary, but it is obviously not even close to journalism. The maker of the film shows far too much bias to be taken seriously by me, and I am surprised to see the high rating this film has on IMDb. I watched this in the hopes of getting a fairly nuanced exposé on the US "War on Drugs" and in extension the plague of drug addiction that has swept the world for decades now. I got nothing of the sort. The film-maker comes across as an ex-stoner (?) with no real ambition to get clean (he is on Suboxone?). The problem with some addicts is that they fear discomfort almost more than anything else, and thus tend to exaggerate the ill effects of opiate withdrawal - not seldomly this is drug seeking behavior. Opiate withdrawal can be acute in some cases, and it is uncomfortable for a while. But I feel that suboxone, subutex and so on are crutches for people who won't (rather than can't) stop in the long run. The whole film sometimes comes across like one man's personal excuse to keep on doing opiates. I believe that it is much, much harder to quit smoking than to stop doing opiates. Besides, I dare any "virgin" to do a small hit of suboxone and then tell me its not intoxicating! (You may want to consider the fact that this is illegal first...)

The film seems ambitious enough at first, but after a while it deteriorates into a pro-marijuana rant. It also suffers from poor editing, and its far too long. I wondered if the film-maker was high/stoned at some points. Especially when he asked the sheriff about "countries like Amsterdam". News flash: Amsterdam is not a country. It is a city in the Netherlands.

I take this as a clear symptom that the film hasn't been fact-checked enough to be taken seriously. In some parts it really looks like the film-maker is just hearing what he wants to hear without questioning the validity of the statements made by some people. It is a pity, since he paints a believable picture of the US War on Drugs in the first half of the film. But sadly, I am not certain what I should believe because of the shoddy workmanship.

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9 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Safe, Easy Answers for a Sleeping America

Author: Zen Bones from USA
9 February 2009

I wanted to like this film but unfortunately, it's a bit of a mess since it constantly jumps from one argument to another in the way it trashes both illegal AND legal drugs, contradicting itself at every turn. They never go into addictions in general, which is the main problem of our society (personally, I think that television is the worst drug in our society).

For those who will insist on disagreeing with me... Do you really think that if drugs DID become legal they wouldn't be sold by the same corporations that now sell tobacco or alcohol? If there's a dollar to be made, then it will either be by "criminals" on the street or by corporate executives, who are both snakes as far as I'm concerned. It's almost hilarious that Ricky Ross, one of the top drug dealers in US history, is depicted a poor hapless fellow who - aww-gee – just wanted to pursue the American Dream, yet our government is 'evil'. In my book they're ALL after the same thing: power and M-O-N-E-Y! As Ricky Ross said, "if it hadn't been for the money, I wouldn't have gotten into the drug trade". Duh! Ollie North couldn't have said it better – although at least his motive was also about his vision of a 'better America', as depraved and twisted as it was! Anyway, the same pharmaceutical companies that lobby against medical marijuana today will be the first to produce the magic weed if/when it does become legal. At which time the average Joe on the street who grows and sells his own will STILL find himself in prison for selling a product that's not licensed (the licensing will have to do with the 'purity' of the product, since home-grown could have other substances in it).

And that's where this documentary bungles its stance the most. It does a good job of depicting the true profit motive of the US government in terms of the drug war but it does not seem to want to investigate what the true profit motive of the anti-war on drugs campaign is. Is there a profit motive? For many casual drug users and those of us who want to see the US government's involvement in the anti-drug war disappear, there is no profit motive. But there is a strong wing of the Libertarian Party led by Ron Paul that is hooking liberals in on this issue. Once again, it's all about money and power and in this case, the end of federal taxation in America. What's wrong with that you may ask? Well, if programs for the people aren't funded by federal taxes, then they will either be funded by corporations, or they'll just go unfunded altogether (state taxes can't even come close to covering any state's needs). I don't believe that this film is totally out to endorse this particular agenda; it ironically makes an argument that we should get rid of taxes, while praising the socialist Dutch, who have the highest tax rates in the world. But the libertarian talking heads in this film scare me as much as our government does because they want to decriminalize drugs AND they want to get rid of all the funding for programs that will pay for the education and rehabilitation to solve the problems of drugs, crime, poverty and racism. They offer no viable solutions, just as this film never makes any attempt at all to discuss possible solutions to wean our nation of its addictions.

And while I'm at it... If tobacco and alcohol are as evil as this film insists, then why compound the problem with making ALL drugs legal? I can just see the filmmaker's family portrait dwindling in ten years as more and more friends are lost to cigarettes, alcohol, and... what are now illegal drugs.

A film that claims to be about the drug war but doesn't spend a significant amount of time on addiction in general, as well as how to combat our addictions through education and rehabilitation, is this country's problem in a nutshell. We just want safe, easy answers. The "just say no to drug wars" campaign is as stupid and reckless as the whole "just say no to drugs" campaign! Those who want to really stop drug addiction, poverty, crime and racism knows that it will only be through education, rehabilitation and social programs.

To clarify... I DO want to see an end to the drug wars and I'd like to see Marijuana legalized, but I'm ALSO for viable solutions. Our government is corrupt because it answers to industry and corporations that have their own agenda (money, of course). MAKING DRUGS LEGAL WILL JUST KEEP DRUGS IN THE CORPORATE LOOP! The occasional user or small-time seller will still be harassed and/or incarcerated. The best thing we can do is not get government itself off our backs, but get rid of our current BAD government that cares more about profits than people. We indeed should use the Dutch as a model... for EVERYTHING!

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