Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jul 2002
Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2002 News-Journal Corp
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re "Drug war lows: Milton Friedman's 30-year-old advice," July 6:

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman's drug policy advice is more relevant than 
ever. Colombia is now the third largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Plan 
Colombia could very well spread both coca production and civil war 
throughout South America.

As a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, D.C., I 
believe U.S. tax dollars would be better spent addressing the underlying 
socioeconomic causes of civil strife in Colombia rather than applying 
overwhelming military force to attack the symptoms. We're not doing the 
Colombian people any favors by funding civil war. Nor are Americans being 
protected from drugs.

Destroy the Colombian coca crop and production will boom in Peru, Bolivia, 
and Ecuador. Destroy every last plant in South America and domestic 
methamphetamine production will increase to meet the demand for 
cocaine-like drugs. The self-professed champions of the free market in 
Congress are seemingly incapable of applying basic economic principles to 
drug policy. Instead of wasting scarce resources waging a supply-side drug 
war abroad, we should be funding cost-effective drug treatment here at home.


Arlington, Va.
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