Pubdate: Tue, 18 Jan 2005
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2005 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Gail S. Phares
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Thanks for the Dec. 29 article "Colombia arrests drug-ring suspect." 
Colombian police are to be congratulated for capturing a drug kingpin, and 
yet Americans should be asking whether, 25 years and $25 billion in the War 
on Drugs later, are we closer to solving the key problem -- reducing drug 
abuse and availability here. Our international drug control policy is 
designed to reduce or eliminate the supply of illicit drugs in this 
country. However, the prices of cocaine and heroin are reportedly near an 
all-time low, in spite of intensive efforts to eradicate shipments.

According to a recent report by the Washington Office on Latin America, 
"The supply reduction model does not work, and second, this model has 
sparked conflict, fueled human rights violations, and undermined democracy 
in countries where drugs are produced and trafficked." The report says we 
need to channel more resources to treatment and education in the United 
States and to economic development in Latin America, while continuing to go 
after criminal organizations that engage in larger-scale trafficking of 
drugs and arms.

To develop more effective drug policies, we must make an honest assessment 
of whether or not we are moving closer to our goal -- reducing drug abuse 
in the United States. Serious evaluation of present policies and 
open-minded debate on drug control alternatives are sorely needed. A more 
effective and more humane policy should be based on the recognition that, 
while controlling illicit drug abuse is a legitimate and important goal, 
drugs will be produced as long as there is demand for them.

Gail S. Phares

Southeast Coordinator

Witness for Peace

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