Pubdate: Mon, 28 Feb 2000
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2000 The Register-Guard
Contact:  PO Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188
Author: Allan Erickson
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I appreciate The Register-Guard's recent coverage of the many facets of 
local drug use. The media town hall meeting on heroin addiction held 
recently at the KEZI studios was a great success and needs to happen again. 
 From heroin to toddlers on Prozac, The Register-Guard has taken great 
strides to increase coverage of what drugs are truly costing us.

With the proposed $1.6 billion anti-drug aid package to Colombia, we ignore 
history and the will of the Colombian people. How does the shipment of 30 
Blackhawk helicopters and 18 more UH-1 Huey helicopters further the wishes 
of the 5 million to 10 million people who took to the streets in Colombia 
last year, marching for peace?

The issue of Colombian intervention by U.S. troops is a compelling 
nightmare. Do we think the troops will meet no resistance? And do we think 
American bodies won't come home in bags again? It is not a question of 
whether Colombia will become the next Vietnam. The issue is whether the 
United States will continue to ignore treatment as an alternative to 
incarceration for addicts. Will we continue to incarcerate proponents of 
medical marijuana, jailing quadriplegics and cancer patients? Will our 
habits kill our sense and compassion?

How many innocents like Mario Paz, Ismael Mena, Donald Scott and many, many 
more will die, victims of police and judicial errors? The War on (some) 
Drugs has led to testing our children's urine rather than testing their 
knowledge of the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. From the hallways of 
our preschools to the forests, mountains and villages of Colombia, 
America's thirst for drugs (legal and illegal) is an expensive habit. It is 
a habit we (and the freedoms our ancestors fought for) cannot afford much 

Allan Erickson
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