Pubdate: Thu, 01 May 2003
Source: Ecologist, The (UK)
Copyright: 2003 The Ecologist
Author: Robert Sharpe


While biowarfare in the form of pathogenic fungi is still in the testing
phase, Plan Colombia's aerial fumigation program is well underway. in an
effort to eradicate the coca crops used to make cocaine, toxic herbicides
are sprayed from above, hitting water supplies, staple crops and people. The
fumigation campaign drives peasants deeper into the Amazon basin, which in
turn leads to more rainforest deforestation.

Destroy the Colombian coca supply and production will increase in
neighbouring Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Destroy every last plant in South
America and domestic methamphetamine (speed) production will boom to meet
the demand for cocaine-like drugs. If South America's rainforests are to
survive the self-professed champions of the free market in the US Congress
had better learn to apply basic economic principles to drug policy.

For the same reasons alcohol prohibition failed in the US, the drug war has
been doomed from the start. Eradicating plants abroad and building prisons
at home is not going to make the US 'drug-free'. Instead of wasting scarce
resources waging a punitive drug war, the US should be funding
cost-effective drug treatment. Prison cells are hardly ideal health
interventions. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe,
Drug Policy Alliance,
Washington, USA
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