Pubdate: Mon, 30 Jan 2012
Source: Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO)
Copyright: 2012 Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Author: Jeffrey Fegan


I would like to thank the Post Independent for publishing Mary
Boland's column. Her well-researched, calm and articulate essays are

I was particularly impressed with her Jan. 26 column regarding the war
on drugs. I first became interested in the subject when I watched a
two-hour television documentary, "The History of Drug Use in America."

I was surprised to learn that in 1900, there was no such thing as an
illegal drug in the U.S. This despite the fact that cocaine and
morphine had already been synthesized.

Cocaine was a common ingredient in many over-the-counter remedies, and
morphine (and hypodermic syringes) could be ordered through the Sears
catalog. At that time, approximately 7 percent of our nation's
population was addicted to drugs.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, when we spend more than $40 billion
per year in enforcing our drug laws, and where we incarcerate far too
many of our citizens for the victimless crime of "possession."

Guess what? Approximately 7 percent of the population is addicted to

Perhaps we should just have addicts come to the county health clinic
and get a prescription from their doctor for their drugs.

We would probably close a lot of prisons. We would allow our law
enforcement professionals to concentrate their efforts on arresting
and prosecuting violent criminals. We would certainly disappoint the
murderous drug lords south of the border.

And we would take a step toward returning to the government envisioned
by the founding fathers: limited in scope and authority, and
respectful of the personal liberties of U.S. citizens.

Jeffrey Fegan, M.D.

Glenwood Springs
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