Pubdate: Tue, 05 Feb 2002
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2002 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida


Clearwater, Fla. -- How refreshing to check a major newspaper and see such 
a thought-provoking column about the failed U.S. drug war ("Drug warriors: 
U.S.' internal Taliban," Commentary, Jan. 28). I imagine you have received 
and will continue to receive numerous responses to this one.

Here's a bet you probably don't want to take. Those in agreement with the 
general theme of the column will outnumber the critics. And virtually all 
criticism you receive against the column and in favor of our failed drug 
war policies will be from those who have a financial stake in its continuance.

That would be primarily police, prosecutors and jailers who are fed by the 
steady flow of drug-law arrests; drug-prevention "specialists" who earn 
money from coerced treatment of patients provided by the courts; and 
members of various federal agencies who get paid to wage the war. And of 
course politicians, whose campaigns are financed by all of the above.

In the 1920s, your city provided us with the most vivid examples of why 
criminally prohibiting high demand substances promotes corruption of police 
and our youth, street violence and, worst of all, illegal gangsters who get 
rich from the obscene profits that Prohibition laws create.

Prohibition doesn't work for much of anyone else, except those in charge of 
the prohibiting.

Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida
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