Pubdate: Sat, 07 Aug 2004
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2004 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Ben Cohen


Former Baltimore police Officer Peter Moskos was right on mark about the 
violence associated with drug prohibition being far worse than the damage 
inflicted (and self-inflicted) by the actual use of illegal narcotic drugs 
("Take the violence out of the drug trade," Opinion Commentary, Aug. 3).

The obscene amounts of money we have spent in the war on drugs over the 
last 30-some years to suggest that our political leaders are tough on crime 
have been a crime of misappropriation.

While big drug companies are nonviolently extorting citizens for obscene 
profits to push legal narcotics, addicts - who are often medically disabled 
and inner-city youths whom society has made no place for - are being 

Let's reinvest the billions we can save through decriminalization and 
medicalization of drug addiction to re-educate our urban youths for 
employability and entrepreneurship.

Then we can use our Drug Enforcement Agency agents to police real terrorist 
threats, and retrain our overextended prison employees to work in something 
other than human warehousing. Then let's offer disabled addicts medical and 
psychological help as they receive their maintenance dosages of the drugs 
they need, which the government can purchase dirt-cheap.

Social sanity and fiscal wisdom could and should trump political posturing 
and profit-taking.

And then our urban war zones could become livable again.

Ben Cohen

Owings Mills
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