Pubdate: Tue, 4 Mar 2008
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Page: B10
Copyright: 2008 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Jerry Epstein


Our troops will die in Afghanistan with our public never 
understanding that many of the deaths could easily be prevented if we 
would change our policy on heroin. In the process we would strike a 
cost-free blow to the terrorists.

Repeated stories describe the huge role of opium poppies, by far the 
most important crop to millions of starving farmers, in economically 
ravaged Aghanistan. ( Please see "Thriving drug operation fuels 
Taliban resurgence/Bloodshed rises in an insurgency largely funded by 
Afghan opium," Page A3, Saturday.) The illegal profits help fund 
independent war lords, al-Quaida and the Taliban. They fuel the 
growing insurgency and threaten the glimmer of democracy there. Our 
allies are already pulling their troops out of danger, and we will 
have to put more of ours in.

We apparently would rather kill our troops and fund terrorists than 
let a few registered heroin addicts get their drugs from a licensed 
clinic instead of from drug dealers. The system has begun in Europe 
and has worked well in our own history. Based on that record, the 
system would also reduce use, slash crime and keep heroin out of our schools.

The opium poppies can be bought dirt cheap by the Afghan central 
government. (We would guarantee [and] to purchase the crop from 
them.) This would make them and us heroes to the Afghan people, 
undercut the terrorist insurgency and save our troops.

But prepare for the bodies; no politician has had the guts to even 
publicly mention the alternative.

Jerry Epstein

Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT) 
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