Now Is Time To End Drug War

Now Is Time To End Drug War
Posted by FoM on October 17, 2000 at 06:57:13 PT
Source: Lima News
We would have to live in a dream world to think it is going to change anything, but Monday's news that retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey is stepping down as the nation's drug czar would be an opportune time for the country to reconsider its failed war on drugs. McCaffrey, whose official title is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced he will resign Jan. 6, two weeks before President Clinton, our national embarrassment, leaves office. 
It was McCaffrey who bribed television networks with millions of dollars to inject anti-drug messages into television shows. He also tried to do the same with the major Hollywood studios. Additionally, McCaffrey wants $1.6 billion to take the drug war to Columbia. That misguided idea would trap this nation in a quagmire with no escape, similar to the war in Vietnam. In the five years since Clinton appointed McCaffrey, federal tax dollars used to fight the war on drugs has increased without any real dent in drug use. The White House claims adolescent drug abuse has fallen in that time, but this president has lied so much, it is hard to believe anything that comes out of the executive mansion. Besides, if true, the drop in adolescent drug use could be attributed to many factors, such as education or a better economy rather than a zero-tolerance policy on drug use by adolescents. Regardless, reduced teen drug use in no way justifies the immoral and unconscionable war on drugs. For instance, Vice President Al Gore has freely admitted to smoking marijuana while younger. Does this mean he deserves to be locked in a cage? Of course, he could be lying about his drug use. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 77 million (35.6 percent) of Americans 12 and older reported some use of an illicit drug at least once during their lifetime. Should this country, in the name of combating drug use, imprison 35.6 percent of the population? The war on drugs has fostered an atmosphere of disrespect for the Constitution by police agencies and lawmakers across the country. The Fourth Amendment has been all but redacted in the name of fighting drug abuse. No-knock warrants, roving wiretaps, property seizure laws, the militarization of our police forces and random drug searches are becoming more commonplace as legislators try to win votes by appearing to be tough on drugs. The story of police killing innocent people after knocking down the wrong door is becoming too commonplace for our tastes. For example, police in Lebanon, Tenn., on Oct. 4 killed John Adams, 64, after bad information from an informant led them to raid the wrong house. Only 5 percent of the world's population lives in the United States, but 25 percent of the world's prisoners are housed here, thanks to the failed war on drugs. In 1994, 70 percent of everyone convicted of a drug crime was sentenced to time in jail or prison. More than half of all federal prisoners and nearly one-third of state prisoners are being held on drug crimes. The United States spends $9 billion a year incarcerating drug offenders, according to a recent study by the Justice Policy Institute. Don't get us wrong, drug use is bad. But drug use should be considered a social problem, not a criminal one. There is no justification in outlawing personal behavior, caging a large percentage of our population and endangering liberty in order to fight something that is unhealthy. When we give up liberties to fight a threat, real or perceived, we undermine the very foundation our freedoms are built on. We should put an end to the war on drugs and instead concentrate on education and rehabilitation. It's time to stop the use of incarceration as a means to effect social change. Source: Lima News (OH) Published: October 17, 2000Copyright: 2000 Freedom Newspapers Inc. Contact: letters Address: PO Box 690, Lima, Ohio 45802-0690 Website: Related Articles:McCaffrey Says He Will Leave White House Post Court Term To Focus on Fourth Amendment Justice Archives:
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Comment #1 posted by Cannaplant on October 18, 2000 at 09:45:04 PT:
I agree
And by the time we can do something to support you, please let us know !
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