Pubdate: Thu, 09 Apr 2009
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2009 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Paul Wesel


The Globe's April 2 editorial "The war to the south" proposes that the
United States provide stronger support to Mexico in our shared
so-called war against drugs. Suggestions include greater use of
available technologies, a "plethora of tools" available to the federal
government, stricter gun controls, and decreasing the demand for drugs
through "better education and drug treatment." But as long as drug use
is a criminal activity, education and treatment will have little effect.

Unmentioned is the only reasonable, if untidy, resolution:
decriminalization of drugs. As long as we treat drug users as
criminals, the problem will only persist, ruining lives, corrupting
our courts and prisons, turning ordinary citizens into felons, and
providing a vast source of wealth to society's most brutal criminals.
We need to stop viewing drug use as a legal problem and view it for
what it really is: a public health problem.

We have learned through bitter experience that prohibition does not
work. When alcohol was prohibited, alcoholism was still rampant,
organized crime flourished, and its infrastructure, although
diminished, still exists. Today, drug cartels have the power to
corrupt and control entire governments. As long as there is a demand
for drugs, drug crimes will remain our largest law-enforcement
problem, one with consequences that touch every American and Mexican

Paul Wesel

Jamaica Plain
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin