Pubdate: Tue, 16 Oct 2001
Source: Payson Roundup, The (AZ)
Copyright: 2001 The Payson Roundup
Author: Kathy O'Donnell



As I picked up my Payson Roundup Tuesday (Oct. 9 issue) and looked at the 
front page photo showing a narcotics dog surrounded by confiscated 
marijuana, I had one overwhelming emotion - sadness.

Sadness for the fact that our town, and many communities across our 
country, spend precious funds fighting the war on drugs, even though 
research has shown that it is, in itself, an abject failure.

It has long been established that kids who stay involved in sports or other 
activities will more often than not keep away from drugs. Yet we continue 
to fund cottage industries of police narcotic squads and drug-sniffing 
animals when we should be taking these resources and building community 
centers to keep people active and involved in the community.

There are people who will use drugs no matter what, legal or illegal. The 
reasons why are as varied as life itself. Some use drugs to mask a deep 
psychological pain. Others use as a recreational high, seeking a change in 
their conscious thought. And many use drugs, as in marijuana, for medicinal 
purpose. None of these people should be chastised or labeled as criminals.

This war on drugs has created many problems in its own right. For instance, 
the price of any illegal drug is artificially increased simply by making it 
illegal. And by making drugs illegal, thus increasing the price, we create 
a powerful black market for dealers worldwide.

Take Afghanistan, for example, a country which profits tremendously by the 
war of drugs. They can export heroin and obtain huge amounts of money, 
enough to easily fund terrorist organizations.

It is time to stop our domestic Vietnam and to look rationally at the 
failed effort to eradicate drugs and start putting more emphasis on 
education not incarceration, I hope we take a hard look at our CIA running 
around the world participating in counter drug efforts, taking time and 
resources away from very real threats to the United States, such as terrorism.

In fact, I believe that when the black market for drugs no longer has a 
monetary incentive to survive, then we will truly be free of the worry that 
terrorists can fund themselves through drug money and fly airplanes into 
American buildings with relative ease.

Kathy O'Donnell
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