Pubdate: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 Source: Seattle Times (WA) Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times Company Contact: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/409 Author: Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy ENDING THE WAR ON DRUGS Follow Tobacco Example Support for the drug war would end overnight if Caucasians were incarcerated for drug offenses at the same rate as minorities ["Even the NAACP is calling for an end to the war on drugs," Opinion, July 31]. Racially disproportionate incarceration rates are not the only cause for alarm. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders with hardened criminals is the equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in anti-social behavior. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public-health problem it is. Thanks to public-education efforts, legal tobacco use has steadily declined, without any need to criminalize smokers. Mandatory minimum prison sentences, civil-asset forfeiture, random drug testing and racial profiling are not the most cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices. Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Arlington, Va. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.