Pubdate: Mon, 16 Aug 1999
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 1999 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas
Author: Stephen Heath


Nice job on the Aug. 1 editorial "Drug War." Your observations on the many
problems associated with military intervention in the Colombian cocaine
trade are much-needed.

Perhaps because drug czar Barry McCaffrey is a military man and not an
economist, he has failed to conclude that the quickest way to end the
corruption and in-country fighting in Colombia would be for the United
States to end its own War on Drugs.

McCaffrey's own office cites that the number of cocaine abusers in our
country is less than 5 million citizens. As a recovering addict myself
(clean for four years), I can tell you that the vast majority of abusers
would like to get help and quit, but they fear exposure to law enforcement.
We need to stop arresting these citizens and help them medically.

By removing cocaine and all illicit substances from the black market, prices
and resultant profits will plunge. Suppliers will no longer be motivated to
traffic at long distances with violent and dangerous support systems.

Let's save our money for here at home in helping and treating our own
citizens who have made the foolish error of getting hooked on abusive drugs,
rather than arming yet another country with weapons of violence and destruction.

Stephen Heath 
Largo, Fla.

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