Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press
Author: Debra S. Wright
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Thank you for printing the editorial on Plan Colombia, which is an
extension and escalation of a failed policy. I recently attended a
presentation in Detroit by two Colombian nationals. They talked about
the devastation that Plan Colombia is having on their environment,
economy and culture. Hundreds of thousands of people have been
displaced, cattle are being sprayed and killed, and food crops are also
being sprayed, leaving minimal food in some villages. The impact on
their country and people is enormous. And as long as there is a demand
for drugs, there will be a supply.

Our drug war has failed -- not only Plan Colombia, but also the war here
at home. We have over 2 million people incarcerated in this country,
many of them African Americans and Latinos, with entire communities
supported by the prisons built in them. The enforcement of our drug laws
are racist.

HIV/AIDS is spreading in our neighborhoods. We tell addicts to use clean
syringes, yet there are paraphernalia laws on the books that can convict
a person for carrying syringes. We have unprecedented mandatory minimum
sentences for drug offenses that leave no discretion to the courts. The
entire system has failed.

As a nation, we need to begin looking to some sensible alternatives.

Debra S. Wright, Ann Arbor
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