Pubdate: Mon, 11 Sep 2000
Date: 09/11/2000
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: John W. Ekstedt

As executive director of the Justice Development Commission and senior
policy advisor to the provincial attorney general during the 1970s, I
became familiar with the strategies employed by the United States and
supporting interests within Canada to promote the "drug war."

By the late 1960s, it had become clear to anyone who was paying
attention that the draconian measures being proposed to control
distribution and sale, as well as punish and rehabilitate users, could
only lead to personal suffering and increases in crime at the street
level while creating the conditions of poverty, dislocation and danger
at the national and international level that are associated with any
armed conflict.

Many people with intimate knowledge of these issues have been publicly
protesting for decades and often have suffered significant damage to
their personal reputations and careers for doing so.

My own work in B.C. during the push within Canada to implement the
Narcotic Control Act and, closer to home, the Heroin Treatment Plan,
provided personal experience with the treatment of dissenters.  In
later years, I was able to understand the force of U.S. power in this
area while working as a consultant with policy analysts on drug law
enforcement in Colombia.

This war is not about drugs, but drugs are an important and deadly
armament within it.

John W. Ekstedt,
New Westminster