Pubdate: Tue, 18 Dec 2001
Source: Santa Barbara News-Press (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Santa Barbara News-Press
Author: Paul Norton


George Bush has said quitting drugs would help fight terrorism. His 
suggestion might influence a few people, but he would be much more 
effective if he led the fight to legalize drugs.

The drug war does make it harder for us to oppose terrorism. Some fraction 
of huge drug profits go to terrorists, and vast resources are wasted in 
this unwinnable war on drugs.

Law enforcement is frustrated, demoralized and partially corrupted in a 
campaign that, like prohibition, most citizens do not support.

A huge tax base is also squandered, a fraction of which could expand 
drug-use treatment and provide honest education about the consequences of 
drug use.

Most of us who once used drugs have survived and gotten over it. Many of us 
have prospered, even some of today's leaders.

We should have some faith that today's young people are equally able to 
mature beyond these experiences, whether we advise them against drug use or 

How many more of our children will face debilitating criminal penalties 
under today's laws than would become permanent addicts in a society with 
legalized drugs?

A Saturday letter to the editor is correct about the roadblock of politics 
in the path of reform.

Some politicians may already be in the pockets of the illegal drug industry.

I think we need more people who will risk the criticism of our cautious, 
politically-correct neighbors to get a message to those politicians who are 
capable of understanding the adverse implications of continuing our present 
Paul Norton

Santa Barbara
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