Pubdate: Tue, 26 Mar 2002
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2002 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Clarion-Ledger's article ("Lead us not into temptation: Cops, ethics 
and the law," Feb. 10) on the Jackson Police Department's ethics training 
was a refreshingly honest look at a problem that plagues police departments 
throughout the country.

Jackson police officers are by no means the only ones tempted by drug 
money. This form of corruption stretches from coast to coast and reaches 
the highest levels.

In 1999, the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart scandal involved 
anti-drug officers selling drugs and framing gang members.

Last year, the former commander of U.S. anti-drug operations in Colombia 
was found guilty of laundering the profits of his wife's heroin smuggling 

Entire countries have been destabilized due to the corrupting influence of 
organized crime groups that profit from the illegal drug trade.

Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, the drug war is causing tremendous 
societal harm, while failing miserably at preventing use.

European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health 
alternative based on the principle that both drug use and prohibition have 
the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop the 
spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard and soft 
drug markets, and drug treatment alternatives that do not require 

Ironically, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels U.S. politicians to 
support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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