Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jun 2000
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2000 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 85333, Richmond, VA 23293
Fax: (804) 775-8072
Author: Rebecca Henning


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a 21-year-old, I feel it is very important the public be made aware of
the atrocities that are caused by the drug war. For decades now, our
government has spent billions of our tax dollars in an effort to create a
so-called drug-free America, but with no success.

In fact, it is safe to say our government's actions actually have encouraged
illegal drug use in our nation by creating a black market where various
drugs, from marijuana to heroin, are available on the street corner for a
person of any age to purchase. Furthermore, with the creation of this black
market comes the organized crime and corruption that fester within our
cities, claiming innocent lives and destroying families. It has to stop now
before it is too late.

As if this were not enough, we have spread our war into neighboring
countries, most recently Colombia. Colombia is responsible for some of the
worst human-rights violations in the world. By funding the country, we, too,
are responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of innocent people.

It is time for a different approach -- one that would focus on drug abuse as
a health issue, not a crime-and-justice issue. Government regulation would
prevent children from obtaining dangerous drugs as well as bring in billions
of dollars in revenue that our country can use legitimately.

Now is the time to speak out. Now is the time for change. The best way to
prevent our children from abusing drugs is to tell them the truth about the
entire issue. Knowledge is the best weapon we have to end drug abuse.

Rebecca Henning, Vienna.
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