Episode #7- Narco Mindset Podcast - War on Drugs - Part 2
War on Drugs - Part 2
March 11, 2020
Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber
Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci
In this episode, Dr. Valdes tackles a subject that is very important to him. A large part of his mission is to shed light on the fallacies of .... The WAR ON DRUGS. In Dr. Valdes's unique perspective to the War on Drugs, he suggests that the government does not want to win this war. He feels that since prisons are very lucrative, many special interest groups often provide millions in donations to politicians. Therefore, politicians have no interest in decreasing the prison population.
Second, Dr. Valdes suggests that even though it's impossible to eliminate the drug cartels, there is much we can do to make an impact on the war and create a safer and more prosperous America. As part of the podcast Dr. Valdes presents what he labels as the five pillars to make an impact on the war on drugs and finally, he shares his unique opinion on whether drugs should be legalized.
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TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE #7
Intro: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Today on Narco Mindset, because the consequences of their actions will have an enormous impact in our nation. We called the three strikes and people said, “Oh yeah, lock them up. They’ve committed crimes three times.” You don’t have to buy five Rolls Royces. Life is short. Don’t bank on your millions. We can make a difference on the war on drugs. If it’s going to be, it’s going to be up to you. No reason for living is my reason for dying. You don’t send that person just to jail. Everybody goes to prison.
Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. I am your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes, with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci. Anthony, you know, we covered a lot of ground and probably the overwhelming amount of information for our listeners, and we’ll continue to close out this chapter today on the war on drugs. I think the most important thing that I really would like our listeners to keep in mind is some critical points as they look back over that last episode and look forward to this episode is that number one, what we have been told that being tough on crime and creating laws that are tough on crime keeps communities safer, is a lie.
Being tough on crime just creates laws where they go ahead and massively incarcerate a lot of our citizens. Number two, very, very important for our listeners to understand is that we are paying. Your tax-payer dollars are paying for this $185-200 billion prison enterprise system where a lot of our citizens, a lot of your relatives, some of your friends, are victims of this massive incarceration, these tough laws on crime. This is money that can be best used to provide healthcare. Just one simple thing so that young people that have to ration their insulin won’t have to do so, and will have an opportunity to live.
Number three is, we need to realize as a nation that we need to hold our politicians accountable. Oftentimes, being complacent is a great evil. There’s a lot of great politicians, and I believe that if we hold those that we elect accountable, they will serve our nation better. If we do not do this, remember, it takes hundreds of millions of dollars to run these political campaigns. I guarantee you that money is not coming from $5 donations as some candidates tell us. It comes from special interest groups that expect a return on investment. It comes from lobbyists who expect a return on investment. And when a politician wants to do what is right, unfortunately, he’s held to the belief that he has to do what is expected of him because he wants to stay in power. So, that’s very, very complex.
Please, I need to be very, very clear. I know a lot of great politicians. I know a lot of great men who take that office seriously, who put their hands on the Bible to protect our constitution and to defend our nation and to do what is best for its citizens. I believe that with all my heart, but I also believe that as many good ones as they are, there’s that many corrupt ones. We have to be attentive. We have to vote and we have to be attentive that when we give our vote, we’re going to hold that person accountable because the consequences of their actions will have an enormous impact on our nation.
This subject is not going to go away. I look forward to listeners to send us their e-mails and their questions, but massive incarceration, warehousing men and women and not rehabilitating is one of the greatest crimes of our century. Then we’re going to address mental health. That’s why this movie, The Joker was so powerful because recently ... every year, I go to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and recently talking to one of the wardens, was telling me, “Listen, Dr. Valdes, half of our prisoners have mental issues but yet, we are in charge of warehousing them. We are not a mental hospital. We can’t help these people. They need help.”
Instead of looking at that, you know what we do now? So, now we’re trying to pass a law that ... let’s say I’m a young man, and I get high with my girlfriend, and she dies, I get charged with murder, or if I die, she gets charged with murder. Darn it, man! These freaking kids are not criminals. They are addicts. They need help. We need to learn more about mental health. People have suffered. People have seen horrible things that have impacted their lives. We need to basically learn about mental health and create those centers that deal with mental health. We don’t incarcerate everybody. What are they saying? In the next twenty years, two out of three African-American kids born will go to jail. My God! That is horrific. Why don’t we care? America, we need to wake up. We need to say no, enough. We’re not just going to settle for what we’ve been told. We have a brain. We’re not a robot that a politician tells us, “Hey, the sun is red,” and we say, “Yes, the sun is red.” Darn it! Open your eyes and see that the sun is gold. Not red.
Anthony: We’ve also seen in our society that celebrities have a lot of influence. I think it was Kim Kardashian who stuck up for a woman who got this really stringent sentence for, I think it was for selling marijuana, I don’t remember all the details. It just struck me that there are people who have influence in society who can speak up. What do you think is the role of celebrities or famous athletes or other cultural influencers and shapers to perhaps deal with this whole issue of drugs and the war on drugs and all around that and even around criminal justice reform? How can they help since they have a voice in society? We’ve seen little glimpses of it with Kim Kardashian and others. Can you talk more broadly about it?
Jorge: You know, Anthony, that’s a great question because it’s a two-part question. Number one, this is something that I applaud President Trump for. Whether you like him or you don’t like him or you like what he says or doesn’t say, he’s the only one who has done something, even though it is the first step. Out of all the presidents that we’ve had, has done something about criminal reform. You know that woman, imagine all the years she spent in that prison, and she’s never seen 5,000 in her life. We call that three strikes and people say, “Oh, yeah, lock them up. They committed crimes three times.” Do you realize that one of those crimes could have been for stealing a bike or having been caught with a joint?
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, I applaud them tremendously because they have a platform, and they make millions of dollars. They are influencers. What do I mean by influencers? Well, unfortunately, a lot of them just influence us to consume what they sell but when you take Kim and when you take Kanye, and they have the guts to go there and fight for people and be impacted by their stories. I heard that Kim now is coming up with a whole new documentary about it, and Kanye saying that he’s a Christian. What do we do instead? We laugh at them, specifically us that call ourselves Christians. We say, “Kanye is not a Christian. That’s just another gimmick.” You know what? Who are you or who am I to say whether he is or not? I applaud the man. Listen, I wish more Christians were out there praising Jesus the way he is than a lot of us are. But, you know, they are making a big difference.
We would like to create a program called the LeBron James Model. Take LeBron James. Man, you know what, I loved him when he was with Miami Heat and then I hated him when he left us but I love the man. What I love about the man is not the great, tremendous, gifted athlete he is. Listen, look at his life. This is a kid that didn’t know his father. This is a kid that moved so many times because his mother barely made it. This is a kid whose mum worked three jobs to feed him. This is a kid that a youth pastor intervened in his life by creating a little basketball league and then look who he is today. Look at LeBron James. No scandals. Married to the same woman.
All those kids that grew up with him today are surrounding him. He put some through school. What’s important is, he did not leave Cleveland and the horrible neighborhood that he grew up in. he went back and he did something great with downtown Cleveland and revived it. But more important is what he’s doing with that school where he’s created a school for at-risk kids and also has the parents involved in the school because you just can’t just deal with the child. The child’s going to go home and be influenced by those surrounding. If you influence the parents and influence the kid, those kids are getting the highest test scores in the state of Ohio, and he’s doing it all with his money.
I don’t know how many millions it’s costing him but I guarantee you. Listen, let me just say this, let’s say that it’s costing LeBron James 50 million. Listen, I did not see him have to sell any house. I didn’t have to see him reduce his lifestyle any to do this. No, he was a man who has a conscience, and he’s impacting his community. As I look at all these celebrities and all movie stars and singers and rappers and athletes, and the first thing that they do is they make money, and what the hell do they do? They leave their community. Now, I’m not saying that they don’t deserve to go and move to a nicer house, a nicer neighborhood. Yes, but don’t abandon where you left. Take some of that money and make a difference.
Listen, for years you lived on nothing. You can live on a little less. You don’t have to buy five Rolls Royces. You can buy one and with the 500,000 that a Rolls Royce costs today, you can make a big difference in the community and look at your children because at the end of the day, it’s legacy. Listen, I’m going to tell you, Anthony, I believe with all my heart that LeBron James, yes, he will be known for the great athlete that he was, but LeBron James’ greatest gift and greatest contribution is going to be for the man that he is, how he gave back to his community and impacted other kids.
There are other celebrities that do the same things but we don’t hear much about them. Look, man, it’s a very short world. Look, we are just suffering right now with the tragedy of losing Kobe Bryant and his daughter and those other passengers. It’s tragic. Young man, 41 years old, a great role model to so many. So, I’m here to tell everybody, life is short. Don’t bank on your millions. They can leave tomorrow but the impact that you have on the life of many that will never have the opportunities you have will live forever. Yes, we need to create awareness and say, listen, at the end of the day, it takes a village to raise a child, you know. It really, really does, and it takes all of us. It takes the athletes, it takes the government, it takes pharma, it takes multi-national companies, and we can make a difference in the war on drugs.
We can reduce consumption. If we reduce consumption, it will reduce supply. Everything else they tell us is a lie. Build a wall, BS. I agree, build a wall so you can stop human trafficking but don’t say that you're going to stop drug dealers. It is not going to stop any drug dealers. Listen, we didn’t jump any wall. We didn’t have 10,000 Mexican mules come across the border with a kilo of cocaine. We came in on semis, we came in on submarines, we came in on planes, we came in on yachts. Many, many ways and we always came in legal. We didn’t risk millions of dollars with an illegal in transporting our product.
Drug enforcement is not going to do it. We can’t stop. I think that we need our law enforcement, but we need to see them see that they are making a difference in risking their lives. I mean, I can imagine some drug agents that are out there every day going out to make a drug bust or being undercover and knowing that, you know what, it’s all a farce because the government doesn’t want this to stop, they want us to go on. It’s billions and billions of dollars industry. I know that’s not politically correct, I know there are going be people that are mad at me but I’m not talking about law enforcement. I’m not talking about any system. I don’t believe in a deep state. I’m just saying, we Americans are the ones that need to make a difference. It’s not up to the government to change our lives, people. If it’s going to be, it’s going to be up to you. You're the one that has to say, “Enough, I have a voice,” and unite with those that have other voices because I believe that we can make a difference.
Anthony: I know you do but I think there is a dimension of this conversation that we have not delved into yet, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring it up, which is the legalization of drugs. We’re seeing in certain states, marijuana being legalized. Years ago, it was even for medical uses but now for recreational use. I want to get your perspective on the legalization of drugs. Does that solve problems? Because if you’re dealing with consumption and people are going into drugs to try to cover something that’s hurting them or just to try to get through life, legalization would help with that but what’s your whole perspective on that because I see it as a very complex issue of legalization on drugs. Does that solve the war on drugs? Should drugs just be legal everywhere then suddenly you won’t have people in jail so you won’t be warehousing so many people. Let’s get your perspective because you have a very unique perspective looking at it from all sides.
Jorge: You know, Anthony, that is the greatest question. It’s a million-dollar question. I’m going to give you the million-dollar answer. No, do not legalize drugs. Do not legalize marijuana. It is wrong. It is stupid. Allow me to explain. Number one, as I’ve mentioned, 60% of all the overdose are coming from what? From legal narcotics. What happens when we legalize marijuana? We make it easier and more accessible for other people to use it because now it is legal. Those that really toed the line, that didn’t want to break the law, and didn’t, now will.
Number two, do you think it’s going to stop the drug cartels? Listen, when we first started selling cocaine, we created our own cocaine but we used to make more money selling pharmaceutical cocaine made by Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Cocaine was accessible to dentists forever, and you can buy it. It did not do anything. Has the legalization of alcohol has stopped alcoholism, has stopped all the drunk driving, all are different deaths as a result of alcohol abuse? So, no, legalizing drugs just creates for another different black market. At the same time, I’m going to tell you something, people don’t think about it.
Do you think for a minute, think about this, here’s the problem, Anthony, I tell people, “Listen, I’m not that smart. I’m not smart at all. I didn’t get a Ph.D. because I was smart. The only thing that I learned in my Ph.D. was how to research, how to ask questions and not accept just any answer.” Here’s my question to you. Do you think that suddenly all drugs are legal, say all of them, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, all of them are legal, the drug cartels are going to say, “Oh man, we’re done? We’re out of business.” You have a different story coming to you. Number two, now marijuana is legal in a lot of states. You’ve got all these people growing marijuana. Number one, it is controlled, which means like if you're a farmer, you're given a quota how much marijuana you can grow, correct? You just cannot grow all the marijuana that you want. What happens? Do you think that people just grow the quotas that they're allowed? Of course not.
Human greed is going to say, “Listen, if I’ve got the ability to grow a ton, why should the government tell me I can only grow half a ton? I’ll grow a ton, sell half legitimately and then sell the other half to the black market.” As long as we look at our solution is legalizing drugs, eliminating the drug cartels, oh, it’s going to create great revenue by us from taxes. Listen, drugs create great revenue no matter what. We built Miami from a sleepy dead city, the drug cartel. We built it to what Miami is today. Listen, Miami was not built … whoever tells you that Miami in the late ‘70's and early ‘80's was built by anything other than the cocaine flow, tell him that he’s lying to you.
What did we do? Drug cartels buy buildings, they buy companies. We think of a drug lord as this idiot out there in some jungle that has no education, nothing. No, that has changed. It might have been many, many years ago but one of the things that a lot of the drug lords did, they sent their kids to the best schools and they came back with the greatest knowledge, so they ended up creating great enterprises. We are going to have the revenue no matter what. Drug cartels don’t make billions and hide it underneath the ground. BS. It gets back into the economy. Legalizing drugs just tells people, listen, you have this need for this substance that’s going to fill this emptiness within you, so we’re going to make it a lot easier for you to get it.
It’s just like saying let’s drop the legal age for our children to buy alcohol. If it’s legal, why can’t they buy alcohol when they are 18? Why must they be 21? Darn it! We’re sending them to war to die at 18, they can’t buy alcohol? Let’s just make it 18. Let’s make it 16. Let’s make it darn any age. It’s legal. Legalization does absolutely nothing. It does not stop the drug cartels, it does not control any industry. It creates other industries, and at the same time, it does not address why we need drugs. If you want to, for pharmaceutical reasons or whatever the case is, it’s fine but when you start making ... That’s how everything starts. In the same comparison, I’d say alcoholics. No alcoholic drank a gallon of vodka the first time. He’ll die, right? No junkie shot an ounce of heroin the first time. He’ll die. That’s how.
Let’s call it to sin. Let’s call it the emptiness. Let’s call it whatever you do. Everything in life, Anthony, starts crossing one line a little bit. The first time I cheated on my first wife, I couldn’t sleep for two days, three days. The second time I only missed sleep for one day. The third time, automatic. It was just part of my life, and that’s how the thing is. We start with a drink, you know, oh, social drink. Then we go to two drinks and then we go to three, and before you know it, we create alcoholism, right? Too late, we cannot eliminate alcohol but the same thing with drugs. If we go ahead and say that these drugs are now vastly available to everybody because we’re controlling something, what are you controlling? You're controlling absolutely nothing.
For those politicians that are in favor of legalizing drugs, I’m not your man. For those great people that are fighting the war on drugs and say that drugs must be legalized, I’m not your man. I think a little bit beyond the supply. I’m more focused on consumption. I’m more focused on why that young man needs to get high. Why is it this amazing world with amazing amounts of opportunity does not supply what he needs or she needs to be happy. Why are we not in the home supplying a stable environment where they can grow and produce that great talent that made this American nation so great. Innovation.
Why is it that young people rather kill themselves with drugs? No, a lot of it has to do with why people commit suicide. I remember this young girl where I lived took her life after leaving her youth group, left a note, “No reason for living is my reason for dying.” Why don’t we address, why are youth, why are people have no reason for living in a world with so many challenges? So, it’s a very complex subject. I am totally against legalization. It will not eliminate a single drug cartel. It will empower the drug cartels to sell on the black market but it will create another criminal element which is those that are allowed to grow these narcotics, produce these narcotics, are now creating a different black market to produce their excess.
It’s not the answer. For those that think it’s the answer, it’s not. They can talk about countries that have legalized drugs and they don’t have the crime rate that we have. It has nothing to do with drugs. Look, like I said, England and Wales, 59 on death row. We’ve got 59,000. So, why America? Maybe, perhaps we are so wealthy and we have been sold this pseudo-American dream of making a lot of money, buy a mansion, two mansions, get fancy cars, get yourself a woman, no, the hell with that, get yourself a lot of women. When you have all that, you're going to be happy. Well, Jorge Valdes had that to the tenth degree and was the most miserable human being on earth. Legalization is just another way of creating a bigger war on drugs. It doesn’t solve a darn problem. It doesn’t solve a darn thing.
Anthony: We’ll get more into the American dream or the so-called American dream in later episodes. That was a great answer. We’ve covered the farmers, we’ve covered pharma companies and government as well as celebrities and culture shapers. You’ve touched also upon the criminal justice reform, and we’re going to go into that topic deeper in the coming episode. I feel like we’re winding down on this particular episode on the war on drugs but I want to ask one final question, and this is going to kind of wrap it up. You might repeat some of the things you’ve said but I think it’s going to encapsulate it for our listeners. Who do you think that the war on drugs is actually helping and who do you think it’s hurting as it stands today?
Jorge: It is helping all the special interest groups that are out there benefiting from the massive incarceration. It’s helping politicians get re-elected. It costs [inaudible 00:21:20] $150 million to run a political campaign, almost 500 to a billion to run a presidential campaign. Where is that money going to come from? It’s going to come from special interest groups. Who is helping? It’s helping everybody that has a special interest. Massive incarceration. I just read where one state made it illegal for private prisons. Listen, we’ll talk about that in the next episode but it’s horrific. That is who it’s helping. Who it’s hurting? Everybody. Every one of us. Tough on crime.
When you send someone to jail, you don’t send that person just to jail. You send their children, their community, their spiritual leaders, everybody goes to prison. What do we do? We just create a new breed of criminals. Listen, a lot of kids are going to jail that is not criminals. They just need help. They just need to find a different way, so this war on drugs is helping all these special interest groups that are making all this money. Think about the guns that all the cartels are buying. Listen, Mexico doesn’t produce any guns. The cartel has as sophisticated weaponry as the United States military. Where do you think it comes from, people? I’ve given you too many answers. You think about it. It doesn’t come from Mexico.
When you eliminate the drug cartel or the war on drugs, who’s going to buy all those guns, all those AK-47s? On and on and on. So, yeah, all the special interest groups, all the industries that benefit from the continued fight of a war that is only addressing 6% of the problem which is what cocaine is, and ignoring the rest of the problems. 60% pharma, the other ones are drugs made right here in our kitchen with recipes from the internet. So, it’s hurting all of us. It’s hurting us. It’s taking billions and trillions of dollars of tax-payers’ money that can be used to create centers to address the mental illness, create youth centers to help young people to find a place when they come home and their parents are not there, and they’re working, find a positive place, talk to someone and share their challenges, their loneliness with, someone that will listen.
It’s a complex problem. Again, at the end of the day, who is the culprit? Don’t blame the government, blame you and me, Anthony. Just sit back and allow our tax-payer dollars to continue to be wasted while 70,000 Americans will die this coming year. 2020, at least, I will bet this, at least 70,000 will die of a drug overdose, and we are the ones that elect those people to go out there and represent us. Are they representing us? Are they saying, “Yeah, I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth but then I don’t give a damn who’s lying.” Listen, they don’t represent us, and I’m not talking about every politician. There are great politicians. There are great men of faith but man, it’s a corrupt system.
Listen to me, I was on the other hand, man. I bought many of them. Look how it’s getting out there what Kim Kardashian is doing. Then when you have the Kim Kardashians of the world, we need to applaud them. We need to urge them, encourage them to continue the fight. For us that call ourselves Christians, we need to pray for them, and when we see a guy like Kanye West that is saying, “Listen, we need to turn to Jesus.” Listen, I’m not telling you guys Jesus is the answer for you but I’m going to tell you this, it was the answer for me. I’m not here to tell people to become a Christian, Protestant, Catholic. I’m a very committed Catholic. Become anything.
All I’m telling you is this, man, I was the heathen of all heathens. I was an atheist. I had no respect for women. Nobody. I committed sins that you would never even dream of. Then one day I fell in love. Before that, then I had millions and millions of dollars and all the luxuries the world had to offer. I wanted to die. Then one day I fell in love with a Jewish carpenter, Jesus, whose love was so big that it filled my life. When I lost everything, when I forfeited millions and millions to the government, walked into a cell with nothing, I couldn’t even buy a candy bar. Multi-millionaire at nine o’clock dead broke at three o’clock. He came into my life and filled me, and gave me meaning and purpose. Listen, the other day, talk about love, man. His love was so big for me that it transformed me. I tell people, it’s all about choices and consequences. I made some choices when I was young, I made other choices later. You figure out if any of those choices are good or not for you and like I always say, Anthony, if that shoe fits, wear it, buddy, if not, just get another damn pair of shoes.
Anthony: That’s a great line. This topic on the war on drugs is so big that even though this particular episode is winding down, the conversation is not going to end, and I really want to encourage our listeners after listing to our episodes on the war on drugs to e-mail us. E-mail us your questions. Maybe there are things that I did not ask. Maybe there are things that have not come up that you are curious about. Please go to jorgevaldesphd.com. Connect with us, follow us on social media. There’s going to be a lot more content coming out. Send us your questions. We may have to have a follow-up on the war on drugs but we’re also going to dive deep into criminal justice reform which is something so crucial that we have to do. Thanks for your time, Jorge. Look forward to continuing the conversation.
Jorge: Anthony, this was a great show and we’ve covered a lot of ground. In our next two episodes, we’re really going to delve deep into one of those five prongs, which I think is the most critical one, and the one a lot us really need to be aware of. It is the problem that we are facing today in America with massive incarceration, where the government no longer decides to rehabilitate our inmates but they just decide to warehouse them. We’ll get deep into it and we’ll see how rehabilitation truly is a fact. How it is a lie that being tough on crime is going to make our community safer, and we’re going to look at different options of what needs to be done to stop this horrific. America is 4% of the world’s population and yet we have 23% of all the world’s inmates. Have a wonderful day. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Narco Mindset podcast. If you enjoyed our episode, please go to our webpage at www.jorgevaldesphd.com. Sign in to our community and we’ll send you a free copy of my latest book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition, and share the episode with all your friends. We’re trying to make a difference in the world. God bless. See you next time.
Outro: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to www.jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.