Former undercover police officer with the San Jose PD, Ted Sumner, discussed his work under deep cover infiltrating various drug trafficking organizations, and why he believes the War on Drugs is making things worse for the United States. Back in the early 70s, the street drugs were softer, prescription drugs were over produced and sold on the black market, and there weren't that many overdoses, he noted. But in 1974, after Nixon declared the War on Drugs, methamphetamine sold by groups such as the Hells Angels emerged, and things just snowballed from there, he said. The War on Drugs costs $100 billion a year to conduct but the "problem is just getting worse," he commented, adding that he thinks it's one of the biggest failures the US government has ever embarked on.
Law enforcement and the penal system are structured around drug enforcement (with a large percentage of cases involving marijuana related crimes), so they have a vested financial interest in keeping this system going-- even though some prominent former law enforcement officials support legalization like Joseph McNamara, who is involved in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Sumner detailed.
Sharing tales of his career as an undercover cop, he got his start ferreting out drug dealers in the mid 1970s, posing as a high school student. Over the years in his undercover capacity, Sumner got involved with a lot of a wild characters, like a major dealer named "Old Man Richard." In one instance, when he went to make a buy, Richard's cohorts held a gun to his head, and insisted that he shoot up. Some undercover agents suffer from a loss of identity and end up becoming more like the crooks than the cops, he revealed. Sumner also talked about his long standing interest in the Japanese martial art of Kenpo.
Happiness & Optimism
First hour guest, psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin spoke about the importance of happiness, and how a lot of mental illness is related to people's loss of optimism, in which they fall into a state of emotional hopelessness. Optimism is a key aspect to a person's life, but it has to be nurtured-- we have to love life, and love what we're doing, as well as access our internal resources to face life's difficulties, he said. Dr. Breggin will be presenting at the Empathic Therapy Conference in April, in Syracuse, New York.