Pubdate: Tue, 12 Mar 2002
Source: International Herald-Tribune (France)
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2002
Author: Robert Sharpe


The various armed factions waging civil war in Colombia are financially 
dependent on the U.S. drug war.

Forcibly limiting supply while demand for drugs remains constant only 
increases the profitability of drug trafficking. For the same reasons 
prohibition of alcohol failed in the United States, the drug war has been 
doomed from the start.

Even if every last plant in Colombia were destroyed, Americans would 
continue to get high. Cut off the flow of cocaine and domestic 
methamphetamine production will boom. Thanks to past successes in 
eradicating marijuana in Latin America, the corresponding increase in 
domestic cultivation has made marijuana America's number one cash crop.

Eradicating plants abroad and building prisons at home is not going to make 
the United States "drug-free."

Instead of wasting scarce resources waging a punitive drug war, the United 
States should be funding cost-effective drug treatment. Prison cells are 
hardly ideal health interventions. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is 

Robert Sharpe

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