Pubdate: Tue, 06 Feb 2001
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Address: 701 W 8th St, Vancouver, WA 98666
Email:  2001 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: Floyd Ferris Landrath


Normally I would not bother to refute Sandra Bennett's extreme views, such 
as her Jan. 28 opinion, "War on illegal drugs should be escalated."

But when she writes, "While it is only humane to provide treatment to 
addicts, one does not a war by treating the wounded," it hit a nerve.

For the several years I have run a needle exchange in Southeast Portland, I 
have met the so-called "enemy", the junkies, these walking-wounded veterans 
frustratingly compelled by both disease and law to live underground. In 
number they are actually quite few, most are anonymous, maybe even sitting 
next to you on the bus.  Most people suffer addiction in silence yet 
otherwise lead normal and productive lives as long as the do not get caught.

Bennett's hysteria, and the massive government power and taxpayer money 
that aligns itself with such extremes, is much more a threat to civil 
society than any junkie could ever be.  We cannot be both a free society 
and a drug-free society at the same time.  It's a contradiction in basic 
constitutional terms.  If we are so weak a people that we need the state to 
protect us from drug abuse, perhaps we don't deserve a free society.

Floyd Ferris Landrath
Portland, OR
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