Pubdate: Thu, 12 Mar 1998
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Section: metro / page 9


On the cover of March 8's Commentary ["Assembling a drug policy"].
Ethan A. Nadelmann made the essential distinction between legalizing
and decriminalizing drugs, which has not been made in many articles on
the subject and which is essential to changing the direction in our
country of our attack on this evil.

Legalizing implies approval where decriminalization dos not; and the
latter permits societal control. Both alcohol and tobacco, debatably
equally evil drugs, are controlled this way. Both Judge Grey (Orange
County Superior Court of California) and Volney V. Brown (former U.S.
magistrate in Los Angeles, 1982-1995), on the firing line of the drug
problem, have stated that we are not losing the war on drugs; we have
already lost it. We can learn from other countries who are
successfully implementing programs for "harm reduction" of an evil we
will never eliminate.

I find it morally reprehensible that due to our U.S. consumption
(follow the money), we are creating so much misery in other countries
as well as our own. There are few current issues more important than
the one Nadelmann is trying to fix.