Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jun 2005
Source: News & Advance, The (VA)
Copyright: 2005 Media General
Author: Benjamin S. Davies


I have been reading with great interest the letters addressing drug
use and punishment for drug users in our area. It impresses me that it
seems there are many in our area who feel the current laws against
drug users, or those in possession of illegal drugs, are Draconian and
completely wasting a huge amount of our resources.

I agree, and believe that a realistic look at the 25-year-old 'War on
Drugs' will bring you to only one conclusion. That is that we, by
supporting politicians and law officers who promise to be "tough on
crime" have failed.

The war on drugs has wasted billions of dollars and countless human
hours and resources.

Our poor areas are no safer than they were 25 years ago. Drug use is
in no way on a strong decline amongst any age group, especially young
adults. Despite the efforts of many programs aimed at children such as
D.A.R.E. or an abundance of television ads we see almost every day,
nothing has changed other than in the last 25 years we have built more
jails and prisons than public universities. It seems our nation is
preparing a majority of our youth for prison, not higher education.
So, with all the letters lately, it greatly disturbed me to see a
letter from the three sheriffs of our area that supported Del. Preston
Bryant. Do our sheriffs not read the paper?

In almost every sentence they relate crime with drugs and

They seem to be convinced that the only way to end drug use and
drug-related violence is to get tougher and tougher on the
perpetrators. Have our sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers not
read the facts of drug-related crime in countries where drugs are
legal, or simply tolerated with a blind eye? In Holland, where most
drugs are illegal to possess, but legal to use in specific shoppes,
there is next to no drug crime, as well as deaths from overdoses.

In Canada, where pot is almost legal, and tolerated in a majority of
areas, there is hardly any drug-related crime.

There are no gangs killing each other over turf rights. There is a
former Texas Ranger of 20 years who calls himself The Lone Ranger. He
is currently riding horseback across the United States spreading a
message to police of all areas he visits.

That message is that our war on drugs has been a total failure, and if
you want to end all of the violence and crime associated with drug
users and drug gangs, end the prohibition. I encourage all three
sheriffs to learn about The Lone Ranger, as he is on their side of the
playing field, and he is very informed on this issue. I also plead
with the three local sheriffs to listen to us, the people who pay
their salaries, and demand from our lawmakers that this war on drugs
be put to a long, overdue end.


- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake