Pubdate: Mon, 01 Jul 2013
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2013 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Jessie Bullock


The Drug Enforcement Administration's latest operation, "Project 
Synergy," was one step further down the rabbit hole of failed drug 
prohibition ("Feds arrest dozens, seize $15M in nationwide 
synthetic-drug sweep," Web, June 26).

In addition to chasing down marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other 
illegal drugs, the DEA announced last week that they have also been 
targeting synthetic "designer" drugs. As The Washington Times 
reported, the DEA's largest-ever seizure of synthetic drugs yielded 
more than $15 million in cash and assets from the traffickers, along 
with a promise to "bring [them] to justice."

It is astonishing that the DEA has chosen to target synthetic drugs 
with an iron fist instead of addressing the root cause: drug 
prohibition. They praise themselves for their international law 
enforcement efforts and investigations, but their actions will not 
curb drug use or stop traffickers. It will only waste millions of 
taxpayer dollars and force the black-market drug industry to be more creative.

The DEA's strategy of creating a laundry list of prohibited 
substances is doomed to fail. As we saw in the 1980s, when the feds 
were targeting cocaine traffickers and making mass arrests, a new 
product became popular. This new product was crack cocaine, more 
dangerous than cocaine and highly addictive. Today, many synthetic 
drugs, especially synthetic cannabinoids, are more dangerous than the 
real substance, marijuana. Prohibition does not encourage people to 
stop using drugs altogether; it only encourages them to try more 
easily accessible substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids.

Although "Project Synergy" has just begun, I think I can predict how 
it will end. Its use of force and the heavy hand of justice will not 
bring an end to illegal drug use; rather, it will chase the illusory 
dream of "stopping drug use with law enforcement" further and further 
down the rabbit hole. History tells us that long lists and heavy 
policing don't work. When will the DEA learn?


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