Pubdate: Wed, 11 Sep 2002
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2002 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: Lennice Werth


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Your headline, "Drug Profits Fund Terrorism," was no surprise. For decades, 
law enforcement has used the high price of street drugs as an indicator of 
success. According to this logic, the higher the prices, the more effective 
are its efforts to make these substances scarce. This is rational as far as 
it goes, as long as one is not troubled by criminal organizations receiving 
huge profits. But now we are supposed to blame the drugs for terrorism. 
This is nonsense when those very pumped-up prices are a result of the laws 
and the consequent enforcement of them.

These ill-gained profits would not exist if we had rational laws allowing 
for the legitimate distribution, taxation, and regulation of drugs. Such 
rules would include a ban of sales to youth and medical supervision for 
hard-core users. Any profits could be used for treatment of abusers and a 
campaign of discouragement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration would have none of this. In fact, it 
has set up a Web page at taxpayer expense that argues against this type of 
solution to our problem with illegal drugs.

Logic dictates that we blame drug laws and drug enforcement for any monies 
that terrorists raise in this way.

Lennice Werth
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