Pubdate: Sat, 01 Mar 2003
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2003 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: Lennice Werth


I applaud local Drug Enforcement Agency investigator Nick Broughton for his 
insight. Of course he does seem a bit confused. As I read the article I 
could just see him scratching his head at the realization that the "drug 
sweeps" he has been conducting are causing murders! It works like this: The 
drug becomes illegal and legitimate outlets (ABC and drug stores) cannot 
sell it. People who want the drug buy it from illegal operators who are not 
being regulated. When there is a dispute, it is settled by violence. Public 
outrage is used to justify tougher drug laws, which have the effect of 
ratcheting up the violence.

We are trapped in this bloody, vicious circle and won't be released until 
we act to end drug prohibition.

When drugs are being sold irresponsibly, such as to children, then there is 
a role for police. Otherwise, there are the courts for disputes and doctors 
to treat abuse. We cannot use our existing social institutions to solve 
drug problems effectively until we understand the lesson we should have 
learned from the period of alcohol prohibition.

Please, Richmond, learn this lesson. At the root of it is a principle our 
Founding Fathers held dear, personal responsibility. We are afraid of the 
harm drugs can do, but until we accept our obligation to police our 
families and ourselves, and not ask government to do it for us, we will be 
trapped in an ever-increasing cycle of violence.

Lennice Werth, Crewe.
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