Pubdate: Sat, 16 Sep 2000
Source: Times Record News (TX)
Copyright: 2000 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Contact:  1301 Lamar, Wichita Falls, TX 76301
Fax: 940/767-1741
Author: John Drullinger Jr.


I recently read a column in the Times Record News titled "Blame Colombia?: 
Drug-consuming countries should do more to solve the drug problem" (William 
Raspberry, Sept. 2, page 7B).

If you missed it, the subject was the $1.3 billion going to Colombia from 
the United States to help stop the production of drug addicts.

He's right! This is where we need to put the billion dollars: on our own 
problem. If we stop all production from Colombia, someone else will supply 
the demand.

This war on drugs in nothing new. In 1969, President Nixon declared war on 
drugs, and the budget was $81 million - half was spent on enforcement, half 
on treatment. By the late '80s, the Reagan and Bush administrations spent 
80 percent of theirs on enforcement and the rest on treatment. Today, 75 
percent is spent on enforcement.

In the past 10 years the federal government has spent $150 billion dollars 
fighting drugs. Since 1980, the total number of people in prison on drug 
offenses has risen from 50,000 to 400,000 (this is not counting 
drug-related crimes), and most are confined at an annual cost per capita 
that would pay tuition, room and board of a private college.

In 1999, the nation had an estimated 14.8 million hardcore drug addicts. 
This is only going to grow. We don't need 50 percent or less being spent on 
treatment. We need 100 percent dedication to treatment.

This is something the United States of America must do together. We will 
make a difference.

To quote Mr. Raspberry: "Don't tell me it can't be done. We've done it with 
cigarettes, we've even managed to do it with teen pregnancy. Shouldn't we 
at least try to do it with drugs?"

John Drullinger Jr., Wichita Falls
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