Pubdate: Thu, 14 Oct 1999
Source: Colorado Daily (CO)
Copyright: 1999 Colorado Daily
Author: Marc Comer
Note: Marc Comer writes for the UCSD Guardian.


I want a Drug Free America. I also want a Lexus GS400 and a two-bedroom
apartment in Manhattan, but I won't be getting those anytime soon, if ever.

Is the drug war over yet, or are we still banging our heads against the wall?

First, before you jump to conclusions and assume this article is about
legalizing drugs, ask yourself these questions: Did I know anyone in high
school who used illegal drugs? Do I know anyone now who uses illegal drugs?
Do I use illegal drugs?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you probably realize that as long
as there are people willing to experiment with illegal drugs, illegal drugs
will exist. It's basic economics: if there is demand ....

How can we expect to keep drugs out of our country if we can't even keep
them out of our prisons, Jesse Ventura asked in a recent interview.

Drugs are everywhere, from the ghettos to Wall Street.

Using this basic rationale leads one to ask why the hell the U.S. government
spends billions of dollars trying to curb illegal drug use. Now I'm not
saying that drugs are good. Have you ever seen a mentally stable crack-head?
I didn't think so.

Drugs are bad. They alter your mind, can lead to addiction and may even
cause you to hurt yourself or others. Wait. Am I talking about illegal drugs
or alcohol and tobacco?

I think the hardcore Republicans who think putting drug addicts in jail will
cure their addiction are full of crap -- or possibly on illegal substances.

Sure, people who choose to use drugs are idiots themselves, but should the
government's role be to protect idiots from exterminating themselves? Hey,
that's simple Darwinism, right?

Do we really care about people using illegal drugs? No. Do we care about
drug lords making millions of dollars off of drug sales? No. If we really
did, we would legalize drugs and start taxing them.

What we really care about is the behavior of those who are on drugs. We care
about our roommates selling our computer to buy some marijuana; we care
about the guy next door pissing on our comforter and scratching the paint
off the walls during an acid trip; we care about the potential for violence
that drugs can lead to.

So, explain to me once again how sending drug addicts to prison is keeping
our streets safe, is keeping our little brothers and sisters away from
pushers, is keeping people from using illegal drugs.

Addicts don't choose to become addicts. Do you think addicts start off
saying "I'm gonna snort cocaine every day until my nose bleeds
uncontrollably. I'm gonna smoke so much blunt that my eyes glaze over."

Most jail cells don't have that therapeutic feel to them, so why do we
expect drugs addicts to come out feeling rehabilitated?

In an article by the Associated Press, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico said
that the United States' current drug policy focuses too heavily on
imprisoning people while allowing illegal drug cartels to rake in billions
of dollars. Johnson said that current anti-drug education efforts such as
the government's "this is your brain on drugs" television commercials amount
to lies.

Now, while I don't agree with Gov. Johnson's belief that legalizing drugs
will solve illegal drug use, I do believe he has a point.

And that is, our crusty politicians are so set in their bass ackwards ways
that they can't even see the light of day from the rubble of bad policies
they've made. OK, so I've embellished a tad, but you get the picture. In a
nutshell, drugs and drug users are here to stay, and while drugs are still
not good for you, we shouldn't criminalize addicts who have abuse problems;
we should help them.

Arizona has drug laws that decriminalize drug abuse, so why don't we? Isn't
California far more liberal than the highly conservative Arizona? Or is
everyone afraid that if drug users aren't sent to prisons, crime will run

Most of us already know someone who uses drugs. Except for their occasional
cases of the munchies, how have they affected you?

The moral of the story is: No one wants to be a coke fiend.

Marc Comer writes for the UCSD Guardian.

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D