Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2004
Source: Star-News (NC)
Copyright: 2004 Wilmington Morning Star
Author: Michael Hilburn


EDITOR: In response to a Jan. 12 letter about U.S. drug policy in Bolivia:

The coca plant has been grown in South America for more than 5,000
years. . European chemists developed cocaine in the late 1800's as an

Now that Americans have abused another drug, the letter writer wants
to destroy the lives of innocent Bolivians who are just trying to make
a meager income of a couple of hundred dollars a year by growing a
crop which they have legally grown for thousands of years. And the
leaves (or paste) are usually exported to Colombia, where the vast
majority of cocaine is made, not in Bolivia.

Also, the coca eradication policy only applies to coca grown in one
region of Bolivia - the Chapare region.

The writer is correct when stating that the war on drugs is not
working. Any first year economics student can tell you that demand
drives supply and not vice-versa.

So in order to curb the abuse of cocaine, one must attack the demand
side. Perhaps the U.S. government should begin using a larger portion
of the billions of dollars spent annually on the drug war and apply it
to drug education and treatment programs.

Michael Hilburn
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