Pubdate: Fri, 13 Oct 2000
Date: 10/13/2000
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Author: Laura K. Golden
Authors: Laura K. Golden

I commend the Citizen and Dan Gardner for the excellent and thorough
series "Losing the War on Drugs."

I thank you for printing the supplement, which I have sent to
colleagues in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who are addiction counsellors.
They are highly trained, deeply dedicated and very compassionate.
However, like most people in North America, they do not have the whole

After reading the entire Citizen report with an open mind, I hope they
will support their governor, Gary Johnson, in dialoguing about the
damage caused by the drug war.

If the Citizen decides to print more drug-war series supplements,
include the poignant article on Renee Boje ("American faces 10 years
in jail for tending plants," Oct 7). Her plight exemplifies the danger
to personal freedom created by the conflict between the liberal states
and the repressive U.S. federal government.

My views have changed from legalization to decriminalization with
moderate civil punishment, such as community service. And greatly
expanded treatment facilities for those who seek sobriety. In
addition, end the stigma attached to drug use.

Instead, we should concentrate on ways to decrease poverty, and
increase opportunity for meaningful work and education. Treat users
with respect for their choices, at the same time giving them
opportunities to improve their lives.

The ultimate irony is that there is a war on social drugs (chemicals)
abused by a fraction of the world's population, while the real threat
comes from toxic chemicals in the water, air and soil, creating a
"chemical soup" in which we all live. International companies continue
to poison the entire planet. Thus the food we eat, the air we breathe
and the water we drink harm every person in the world. Who then are
the real criminals?

The pollution of the Arctic demonstrates dramatically how planetary
pollution affects every single living being. The increase in mental
illness among children, the staggering number of people suffering
degenerative diseases, and the increase in violent behaviour
worldwide, can be related to a greater or lesser degree to this pollution.

I recommend a followup report on the real threat of "drugs" -- the
chemical pollution of our planet and the degradation of all life.

Let's redirect the money wasted on the War on Drugs to cleaning up our
beautiful planet. In that way, everyone benefits

Laura K. Golden,

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