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‘Traffic’ vs. reality

Just in time for the Academy Award nominations, the friendly folks at THE LINDESMITH CENTER-DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION have put together a new website,, spelling out just where the much-hyped film ‘Traffic’ does and doesn’t intersect with the real-life War on Drugs.

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A summary of the film points out places where it accurately reflects reality (wealthy high school kids do drugs, just like Michael Douglas’ on-screen daughter) and where it misleads (unlike said daughter, most young people caught with hard drugs spend more than a few hours in jail and can’t get treatment). There’s also a jazzy Flash-animated game where players can try out different strategies to win the drug war — only to be met with sobering stats on why approaches from locking up all drug users to sending weapons to Colombia have failed to even dent Americans appetite for illegal stimulants.

Check out STOPTHEWAR.COM here.


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  • Vince Beiser, a former Mother Jones senior editor, has reported from more than 30 countries—on troop training in Iraq, natural disasters in Haiti, and prison conditions in California.