Pubdate: Sat, 04 Mar 2000
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2000, The Tribune Co.
Author: Rick L. Meredith, Tampa


The 30 years of the ever-escalating war on drugs has deteriorated the
Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It has produced purer, cheaper drugs.
It has corrupted law enforcement officers as well as prosecutors. The drug
war has turned the American justice system into a travesty.

Illicit drugs are purer, cheaper and more readily available today than they
were before this war began. There is not a drug-free high school or middle
school in America. Our children can buy illegal drugs easier than they can
buy a legal drug such as alcohol or tobacco.

The Florida Highway Patrol, working in concert with the FBI, the Delta
Force in the Sarasota/ Bradenton area, the Rampart District in Los Angeles
- - and let's not forget Karen Cox, the federal prosecutor in Tampa who paid
a witness to lie on the witness stand -these are examples of law
enforcement officers and offices that have been caught making their own
rules. They believed that they were above the laws they were paid and
trusted to enforce. They believed that their ends justified their means.

One in four black male adults is either in prison, in jail, on probation or
on parole. In some neighborhoods, it has become a rite of passage for males
to go to jail or prison shortly after reaching adulthood. With more than 2
million people in this country behind bars and that number growing at an
exponential rate, it should be evident that the
lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approac' is not working. As American
citizens, we should be appalled. We should demand a different approach to
the drug problem.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart