Pubdate: Wed, 07 Jan 2004
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Copyright: 2004 Pulitzer Central Coast Newspapers


Our country's war on drugs has turned out to be a complete failure,
and a monumental waste of time, money and resources.

There is a better way. Decriminalize drugs and take out the profit.
Treat the addiction through rehabilitation, not incarceration.

During the Prohibition, gangs were controlling the streets because of
the huge profits in liquor. The situation is similar today as
America's streets are much more dangerous than before the government
declared a national war on drugs. The profits from selling drugs are
so great that inner-city gangs are increasing in numbers and expanding
to every city in our nation. Now in many neighborhoods you can't even
walk outside without fear of gang violence.

Many retired prison wardens agree the war on drugs has been a huge
failure. Our police departments and other law enforcement agencies
waste so much time, and money chasing the small time drug offenders,
instead of the thugs who now terrorize many of our communities. Focus
on the rehabilitation of the drug user and not incarceration. Take the
profit out of drug sales and the gangs will lose their power and
control. I think it's time for a real war, and that's a war on gangs.

We are able to help other nations become safe and secure, but we can't
seem to secure our own cities.

Kevin O'Connor

Santa Barbara
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