Pubdate: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
Date: 10/20/2000
Source: Bakersfield Californian (CA)
Author: John Tarjan

I am writing in response to the recent Community Voices piece by
Sheriff Carl Sparks. The title of the piece was very misleading in
that it implied that the Sheriff's Department was somehow keeping Kern
County "drug free." Evidence is almost all to the contrary. We have
become known as a methamphetamine production capital. The foothills
and mountains harbor numerous marijuana patches. Illegal and
prescription drugs are readily available for sale to anyone in almost
every corner of the county.

The reason I write is that the assumption that we are somehow winning
the war on drugs in this country has resulted in disastrous public
policy. Until we, as a citizenry, recognize that the current
strategies of enforcement, interdiction and incarceration are both
ineffective and wildly inefficient, we will not seriously consider
changing to other, potentially more effective strategies.

Until we dramatically decrease the demand for drugs via significantly
increased efforts in education and treatment, we will not make
progress in this war. And one Vietnam per generation is enough for

John Tarjan,