Pubdate: Mon, 18 Oct 1999
Date: 10/18/1999
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Author: Tom Barrus

To the editor:

Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Clinton administration's
Office of National Drug Control Policy, claims that: "In addition to
concealing their real agenda, those who want to legalize drugs also go
to extremes to confuse the public about America's efforts to fight
drug use." (Dangerous drug smokescreen," Commentary, Oct. 7)

Who is confusing whom? How can Gen. McCaffrey be fighting drug use
when tobacco and alcohol, the most harmful drugs, are exempt from the
drug laws?

Gen. McCaffrey says drug use among youths is down, but tobacco use
among youths actually is up. He says the primary goal of the "National
Drug Control Strategy" is to teach youth to avoid drugs. Why then is
the government imprisoning more than 700,000 cannabis smokers but not
imprisoning any tobacco smokers? I don't see any police officers
stopping the tobacco drug pushers from selling their type of drug to
our children.

Gen. McCaffrey says drugs are illegal because they are dangerous. If
this is so, then why are tobacco and alcohol legal? Tobacco and
alcohol are the most dangerous of all drugs. Gen. McCaffrey speaks of
52,000 drug-related deaths a year, which is more on the order of
10,000 or less, but is strangely silent on the 400,000-plus
tobacco-related deaths and the 100,000 alcohol-related deaths each
year in this country.

Why is Gen. McCaffrey soft on these drugs like alcohol and tobacco?
Why has Gen. McCaffrey surrendered to the alcohol and tobacco drug
lords? Why won't Gen. McCaffrey demand that Congress either make
tobacco and alcohol the controlled substances they are or else repeal
restrictions on the drugs he targets?

TOM BARRUS American Federation for Legal Consistency Golden, CO