Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2000
Source: Herald & Review (IL)
Copyright: 2000 Herald & Review
Contact:  The Editor, PO Box 311, Decatur, IL  62525-0311
Fax: (217) 421-6913
Author: Keith Brilhart


In reading the article, "Police benefit from drug funds," in the Feb. 21 
Herald & Review, I was struck by the overall tone of near joy in the 
article.  As I thought more about it, I was troubled by other aspects.

The idea behind drug forteiture is to take the profit out of drug 
manufacture or distribution, with the ultimate goal of stopping illegal 
drug use.  The article doesn't say anything about how effective forfeiture 
has been.  However, Douglas County State's Attorney Diane Sipich is quoted 
at the end of the article saying "We've seen an increase in the drug 
crimes, and most police departments are well aware of what signs to look 
for." These are not words that suggest the policing and the forfeitures are 
achieving as intended. After all, they've been at it for 30 years or so.

When are we going to convince our legislators that the war on drugs is an 
ill-conceived failure? Prohibiting something merely pushes it underground, 
giving organized crime a monopoly on its production and distribution.  None 
of these people have children's welfare at heart. If they did, they'd 
realize that regulated distribution of the risky things people continue to 
want is the only way to have any control and to protect young people.  I 
suppose the dealers love prohibition...after all, it increases their profits.

As for giving police some bounty for a successful hunt, it just increases 
their identification with the cause of prohibition (even without 
forfeiture, many of them still owe their job to drugs).

The article started out cheerfully, but when it couldn't hide the futility 
of this war without end, it ended on a tragic note, as all such articles 
must.  Please, don't bother to try to put a cheerful face on this hideous 
disaster anymore.

Keith Brilhart
Decatur, IL
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