Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 1999
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 1999 The Dallas Morning News
Contact:  P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265
Fax: (972) 263-0456
Author:  Jerry Epstein, President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Houston
Cited: Drug Policy Forum of Texas:


"A war that never ends - Unit formed in fight against drugs marks 10 years
at Fort Bliss," Nov. 19.

Your article on the failure to stop drug smuggling raises important
questions. Brig. Gen. Richard Behrenhausen refers to "no concrete way to
measure success." Yet there are annual government reports that show drugs
are more available to our children than ever in history and that there is
about a 70 percent increase in teen use in the past seven years. The number
of addicts is up 35 percent in 20 years, also the most in history. The drug
cartels grow in power each year until they now control an annual trade of
over $400 billion, which is far larger than our entire national defense

Per-unit price is also at an all-time low, often only 10 percent of what it
was decades ago before we wasted some $300 billion in tax dollars.

These are clear measures and they measure abject failure.

Brig. Gen. Dorian Anderson says the answer is "persuading Americans to kick
the habit." True, but politicians who "talk the talk" still dictate that
less than 10 percent of our budget go to children's education and
prevention programs.

I just completed two days of meetings with Gary Johnson, the Republican
governor of New Mexico who has called for drug "legalization," and his staff.

We discussed the clear historical precedent in the U.S. and modern foreign
examples of how selling heroin to addicts by tightly regulated prescription
can destroy the black market, slash crime and keep the drugs away from

He particularly condemned the fact that half the drug war is fought over
marijuana, a drug markedly less dangerous than alcohol.

Last year, the head of the Scotland Yard drug squad, Edward Ellison,
retired. He said "legalization" was the best route and told the Times of
London: "I abhor drug abuse and criminal activity.

I condemn a policy that profits criminals, and I am angered by the drug
crimes that affect us all. I am ashamed at the limited resources available
to support victims and their families, and I am angered most by politicians
who claim to have no license even to discuss alternatives." 

Drug Policy Forum of Texas
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