Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2001
Source: The Monitor (TX)
Copyright: 2001 The Monitor
Author: Larry Seguin and Robert Sharpe


To the editor:

It is becoming clear to an ever-increasing number of people that our 
current drug policies are not working.

They fill our prisons, clog our courts, break up our families, propagate 
violence and generally cause far more harm than good. After almost a 
century of fighting a war on drugs with prohibitionist policies there are 
more drugs available than ever on our streets. ("Unwinnable 'War'," Aug. 23)

We can not get anywhere in the drug war till we separate abuse from use. 
The prohibition of alcohol was fueled by propaganda that everyone who used 
it had an addiction problem. The truth is, less than 10 percent of those 
who use alcohol have an addiction problem or commit a crime under the 

It is long pass due for a reality approach to other drugs. Deal with crime 
and abuse, not just simple use.

Larry Seguin, Lisbon, N.Y.

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To the editor:

Kudos to The Monitor for an excellent Aug. 23 editorial ("Unwinnable 'War' 
") on the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit's failure to include drug policy on the 

Drug warriors are kidding themselves if they believe that spending tens of 
billions in tax dollars can overcome the immutable laws of supply and 
demand that drive illegal drug trafficking. Congress should heed the advice 
of border Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and consider harm reduction 
alternatives to the corruption-fueling drug war.

Another person with a vested interest in minimizing border violence is 
Mexican Secretary of State Jorge Castaneda. Castaneda has long been a 
critic of U.S. drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition.

In a September 1999 Newsweek column he asked, "What is the purpose of 
investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against drugs, 
plunging countries into civil war, strengthening guerrilla groups and 
unleashing enormous violence and corruption upon entire societies, if 
American leaders can simply brush off questions about drug use in their youth?"

Unfortunately, Washington continues to use the drug war's collateral damage 
to justify its intensification around the world. South America is the 
latest drug war battleground.

A Bush administration proposal to add $676 million in South American 
counternarcotics aid to the Clinton administration's $1.3 billion Plan 
Colombia is a prime example of big government throwing good money after bad.

A crackdown in one region leads to increased cultivation elsewhere. 
Creating a global welfare state in which every developing country is paid 
not to grow illicit crops is a rather expensive proposition.

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer The Lindesmith Center- Drug Policy 
Foundation Washington, D.C.
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