Pubdate: Fri, 11 Feb 2000
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Houston Chronicle
Contact:  Viewpoints Editor, P.O. Box 4260 Houston, Texas 77210-4260
Fax: (713) 220-3575
Author: W.C. Burton Jr.


Regarding the Chronicle's Jan. 31 editorial, "Colombia; Congress should
support Clinton's emergency package": To support the "war on drugs" by
giving a $1.6 billion aid package to Colombia is probably the most
unrealistic approach to this problem possible.

As long as the drug barons are realizing huge profits from cocaine, no
amount of money from the United States is going to stop the flow of drugs.

Colombian cocaine production continues to increase. Why? Because of user
demand and growers' profits.

And if Colombia doesn't provide the cocaine the market demands, then any
number of other countries would step up to satisfy the demand. The only
answer is legalization along with the strictest regulation. The control of
dangerous, addictive substances by the state and federal government would
mean controlled quality, increased income through taxation, a drastic
reduction in prison populations and, finally, putting the drug barons out of

We faced similar problems during the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. It
comes down to some very basic laws of economics. Political views cannot
possibly overcome these laws, as the Russian communists discovered in their

W.C. Burton Jr., Bacliff
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