Naked City

Weed Watch

During a press conference on Nov. 20 in San Diego, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration head Asa Hutchinson announced his drug warriors will be stepping up efforts to bust Ecstasy users and dealers. As reported by the Drug Reform Coordination Network, Hutchinson told the crowd that Ecstasy is "the Y generation's cocaine," and its use is reaching near-epidemic proportions. The DEA intends next year to double the number of club drug arrests. According to DRCNet, the DEA intends to step up enforcement in South Florida, where the bulk of European-manufactured Ecstasy makes its way into the country, along with beefing up enforcement measures at airports across the country.

Meanwhile, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, headed by national drug czar John Walters, unveiled a new "drugged driving" campaign that has drug-policy reformers crying foul. The ONDCP initiative, in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, targets drivers who may be under influence of drugs. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the national advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, called the plan nothing more than a "thinly disguised zero-tolerance policy that will do little to detect impaired driving and much to punish responsible citizens for crimes they did not commit."

At issue is how law enforcement officers would go about testing for drugged motorists. Critics say that ONDCP's policy does not take into account the fact that certain drugs, including THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remain in the body longer than alcohol without causing impairment. Nonetheless, ONDCP announced it is going forward with its plans and will be offering resources nationally to both state and local law enforcement officers who'd like to follow the czar's charge, as well as providing state legislators with a "framework" for drugged driving legislation.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle