Pubdate: Mon, 07 Oct 2002
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2002 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


The environmental devastation described in "Coca snuffs out Peru forest" 
(World, Sept. 30) is a direct result of U.S. drug policy in South America. 
In an effort to eradicate coca crops, toxic herbicides are sprayed from 
above, hitting water supplies, staple crops and people. Aerial eradication 
campaigns drive peasants deeper into the Amazon basin, which in turn leads 
to more deforestation. If South America's rain forests are to survive, the 
self-professed champions of the free market in Congress had better learn to 
apply basic economic principles to drug policy.

As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be a supply. Destroy the 
Colombian coca crop, and production will boom in neighboring 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. Instead of wasting billions of tax dollars on a futile 
supply-side war abroad, we should be funding cost-effective drug treatment 
here at home.

ROBERT SHARPE,Program officer,Drug Policy Alliance,Washington
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