Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jun 2002
Source: Northwest Arkansas Times (AR)
Copyright: 2002 Community Publishers Inc.
Author: Mike Plylar, and Kirk Muse


I'd like to applaud Sheriff Steve Whitmill for his honest opinion about 
this drug war catastrophe that is forced upon Americans by elected 
officials and government bureaucrats. Political expediency and money drives 
U.S drug policy. Successful science based harm reduction approaches, 
employed by most other civilized countries around the world, are given 
short shrift, when there's money, power, and elections to be had. 
Unfortunately, honest, reasoned strategies don't grab the headlines, like 
busts s, drive-bys, deaths, and gang wars. Even though all the things that 
are so sensationalized by the media, concerning drug prohibition, are the 
clear result of the very policy we use to combat drug use, the people are 
seldom allowed to hear both sides of this issue.

The War on Drugs requires a $200 million a year advertising budget to keep 
this house of cards from collapsing around those who are so enamored with 
it. That alone should force one to question the efficacy of such a 
pork-barrel disaster. If our current policy is such a reasonable, honest 
method to control illegal substances, why does it take hundreds of millions 
of taxpayers resources, spent annually, to peddle it to the public? 
Wouldn't such a forthright, worthy program stand on its own two feet?

Truth is, it won't. If those who oppose the War on Americans who use 
currently illegal substances, had a small portion of the advertising budget 
of those who support this monumental tragedy, the drug war would collapse 
faster than the Walls of Jericho.

Sheriff Whitmill is right and he's not unique in his opinion. Law 
enforcement is not alone in driving the War on Drugs and Colorado's 
favorite son, San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters, exposes the under 
belly of the beast, most eloquently, in his recently released book, "Drug 
War Addiction: Notes From the Front Lines of America's #1 Policy Disaster." 
This book should be required reading for every American taxpayer, politico, 
and law enforcer.

We must end the War on Drugs, before it ends us.

Mike Plylar

Kremmling, CO
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Forbidden Fruit Appealing

Thanks for publishing Georgia Lance's outstanding letter, "Ineffective drug 
policies" (June 6).

It is widely believed that prohibiting a product reduces the use of the 
product prohibited. On the contrary, drug prohibition has proven to be 
counter-productive and increase drug usage.

Before marijuana was first prohibited via the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, 
the vast majority of Americans never even heard of marijuana.

Today everybody in American knows what marijuana is and the U.S. government 
estimates that 76 million Americans have used it. Half of all high school 
students will use it before they graduate.

It is human nature for people to want what they are told they cannot have, 
especially children. The "forbidden fruit" appeal is very strong.

No other nation on the planet has spent more of its resources on fighting 
drug abuse and drug use than the United States. Yet no other nation has 
been less successful than the United States in solving its drug abuse problems.

It's time for us to do something different.

Substantially different.

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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