Pubdate: Fri, 14 Mar 2008
Source: Advocate, The (Baton Rouge, LA)
Copyright: 2008 The Advocate, Capital City Press
Author: Reggie Pullman


Americans have forgotten about the other war that this country is
fighting. It is not the war in Afghanistan. It is the "War on Drugs."

An estimated $19 BILLION is budgeted for this fiscal year, while it is
estimated that drugs have tied up our legal system and law enforcement
agencies to the tune of $50 BILLION.

More than 1 million people are currently incarcerated in connection
with nonviolent drug offenses. That is around 60 percent of the prison
population. When President Nixon started this unwinnable battle in
1972, there were 285,750 drug offenders in prison. The estimated cost
of housing a prisoner for a year stands around $30,000. There are
currently more illegal substances in the United States than ever, and
there is no end in sight.

What if our governments' policies were redirected? What if, instead of
fighting a "War on Drugs," we would fund a "War on Poverty?" With all
that money being wasted on an endless fight and ridiculous lies
(marijuana is funding terrorism/marijuana is equally as bad as
methamphetamines), why don't we instead fund community centers and job
centers in order to bring up these poorer neighborhoods and give them
opportunities to get out of the vicious cycles, where drugs is all
they know. Imagine what that money could do for poorer Americans!

Education is the key to our next generation thriving in an
increasingly global economy, and the billions could really help the
terrible situation of our public education system.

In addition to building up our less fortunate, we could provide
top-of-the-line treatment centers for those who are addicted to hard
drugs and wish to better themselves.

I will not get into why certain drugs are illegal, but I will leave
with a few parting facts. In 2002, about 450,000 people died from
abuse of tobacco, and 150,000 were alcohol-related. About 100,000
people actually died because of prescription drugs! Only 10,000 deaths
occurred as results from cocaine and heroin overdoses, while there was
none tallied because of marijuana!

Reggie Pulliam student/waiter

Baton Rouge
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin