War Isn't The Right Approach To Stemming Drug Use 

War Isn't The Right Approach To Stemming Drug Use 
Posted by FoM on January 06, 2001 at 16:57:37 PT
By Bill Boll
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
M. W. Guzy is disdainful of the notion that we have lost the "War on Drugs" (Dec. 28 column), warning that war is a misleading metaphor for our national effort. He forgets that the War on Drugs originated as a rhetorical tool of the Republicans to justify the appointment of a drug czar, a zero tolerance policy and a host of Draconian measures to back it up.
Back then, we were encouraged to think of our national drug policy as a war and to believe that it was winnable -- if only the penalties were harsh enough. This policy shift did not result in a decrease in illegal drug use, as intended. It did, however, balloon our prison population to over 2 million inmates, roughly one-quarter of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. The U.S. imprisonment rate is between six and 12 times higher than that of any other Western nation and continues to grow even as the overall crime rate declines.The Drug War has also spurred the growth of the most powerful, ruthless and well-organized crime syndicates in history. Domestically, it has eroded civil liberties in ways unthinkable 30 years ago, now ubiquitous in the form of workplace drug tests and police roadblocks. Children are encouraged to turn in their parents. Overbroad RICO statutes, hastily enacted by legislators not wanting to appear "soft on drugs," have been extended to confiscate the homes and vehicles of abortion protesters.Despite these severe measures, illegal drug use remains a cyclical phenomenon that cannot be correlated with national policy. Even those few who do argue for legalization do not do so, as Guzy says, because they believe drug use will occur regardless. Instead, cogent arguments for drug legalization typically include the proposition that the social cost of legalized drugs would be lower than the social cost of continuing to prohibit them. Guzy states, "Getting criminals out of the drug trade is like trying to get the spots out of Dalmatians." And yet, the repeal of alcohol prohibition succeeded in getting criminals out of the alcohol trade, did it not?The lawmakers who repealed prohibition, for example, were in a better position to weigh the pros and cons of legal booze than those who banned alcohol. Second, the circumstances under which heroin and cocaine were legal are vastly different from those of today. At the turn of the century, those substances were hawked as miraculous elixirs to a public unfamiliar with the concept of addiction and its effects. In an era before consumerism and the FDA, one could purchase a heroin kit -- complete with hypodermic needles -- from the Sears catalog. Today, the use of legalized drugs would certainly be moderated by public knowledge of their effects, just as smoking in this country has declined dramatically as its health risks have become known.Finally, the lawmakers who banned all currently illegal drugs did not do so with the severe penalties we have today. If we impart to those lawmakers the wisdom to have made the correct choice, then shouldn't we also impart to them the wisdom to have fashioned appropriate deterrent laws -- ones that were proportionate to the social ills they addressed?Like most Americans, I'm fearful that my children will one day be tempted to use drugs. But even more distressing is the prospect that if they do, they will be subject to long-term incarceration with violent offenders, while my car is confiscated and my home searched. If there really isn't a "War on Drugs," why are we living under the equivalent of marshal law? Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)Author: Bill BollPublished: January 6, 2001Copyright: 2001 St. Louis Post-DispatchAddress: 900 North Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63101Contact: letters post-dispatch.comWebsite: Article:We Lose The War When We See It As One
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Comment #4 posted by waldo on May 02, 2001 at 06:27:46 PT:
wrong priority??
Marijuana helps kids to consentrate and apply themselfs when it is taken in small controlled doses, therefore it would help them to get beter edjucated and it would give them insentive to get a job and make money to buy it! I belive that it would also structure our economy alot beter than what it is now, beings that minors would have jobs and would be in gangs living on the street.
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Comment #3 posted by waldo on May 02, 2001 at 06:19:27 PT:
Legilize It!!!!
There should be no arguments against marijuana whether used for medical use or even just used for entertainment. It wouldn't be on this earth or in the bible if it had no purpose. What is wrong with kids having fun and being at one with nature. Marijuana has been proven to slow down disese and other famines, therefore it is usefull even if you dont know you have a disese it will slow down and maybe even stop the prosess the disese is going through. The crime rate in US for marijuana related offenses is outragous. If marijuana could be bought in a store rather than from a "drug dealer" the goverment would be the only ones profiting! Major tax dollar even if a pack of 20 joints cost 20 bucks the goverment would still profit, beacuse of how cheap it would be to produce and distribute through out the US. The large majority of the marijuana smokers would stop use of other drugs mainly because of the servirity of the punishment if they were to get caught. These are just a few of the points in which are the reasonings for me wanting marijuana legal. FINAL THOUGHT - If the government would listen to our reasoning they would realize what ignorent people they are! ex. lok at the 70's it was a peaceful time not like now wear everyone get arrested ect.
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Comment #2 posted by meagain on January 06, 2001 at 19:47:15 PT
lets get real 
"Like most Americans, I'm fearful that my children will one day be tempted to use drugs" No one wants their kid to do drugs but no one wants to see their kids in jail over it either what I fear most is my kids being killed by a drunk driver , ran over crossing the street , hit head on by someone passing on a curve , hitting a 4 wheeler into a vehicle,molested by some freak who gets off with less time than drug offenders, there are worse things that cause injuries and deaths daily but are perfectly legal .like sports football basketball sky diving driving semi's  the list could go on forever.i worry about real things that can hurt my children not some stupid drug a doctor should be regulating and prescribing if people want/need jeeeez how many nodoze can u buy and od on legally ?Marijuana was put on earth by "god" for a reason.we know it we are reading the news about it and the studies that have been done .STOP THE DEBATE SET A DATE VOTE ON IT AT LARGE OULAR VOTE PUT HR912 ON THE NEXT BALLOT 
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Comment #1 posted by walee on January 06, 2001 at 19:35:38 PT
wrong priority
maybe we need to focus on trying to get our kids better educated and feed
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