Pubdate: Mon, 6 Dec 1999
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 1999, The Tribune Co.
Author: Rick L. Meredith, Tampa


With the recent discovery of the mass graves in Mexico, it makes me wonder
how much longer the American people are going to put up with this ludicrous
war that Richard Nixon started 30 years ago.

The untold billions of dollars that we have spent on the drug war has
created ruthless cartels, cheaper drugs, near-gridlock in both federal and
state court systems and a prison population that is unmatched by any other
country in the world.

Drugs are a problem that we will never rid ourselves of. However, if the
government regulated drugs as it does alcohol and tobacco, and if there were
truth in drug education, the dangers associated with drugs could be

Prohibition of any substance always has created large profit margins for the
prohibited substance. Large profit margins will continue to create ruthless
cartels that will stop at nothing for profits.

This year the U.S. federal government will spend $17.1 billion on the drug
war. That is an astonishing $634 per second - every day of the year. State
and local governments will spend $20 billion more. The vast majority of this
money has gone and will continue to go toward interdiction. Interdiction has
proved to do nothing more than destroy families by incarceration and produce
cheaper and more readily available drugs. It does not matter how many
cartels the Drug Enforcement Administration destroys - there will always be
another, more powerful cartel.

It is time for American citizens to demand a different approach to our drug
problem. How many more people must die in this country and other countries
before we realize that interdiction is not working? It is time to rethink
our drug policy. It is time for harm reduction.
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