Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jan 2001
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2000 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Contact:  The People's Forum, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602
Fax: (919) 829-4872
Author: Betty B. Frazier


Sending military aid and defoliants to Colombia to combat the drug problem 
makes little sense.

We should be rigorously attacking the demand side of this equation. We 
spend less money in America to stem the demand for recreational drugs than 
we spend in Colombia to arm supposed drug fighters.

It is not just hoodlums but also well-heeled adults who abuse drugs. It 
costs millions of dollars to imprison petty traffickers and users. Instead 
of putting these people into overcrowded prisons or building more to 
accommodate them, we should be spending more on rehabilitation. Abuse isn't 
solely the fault of the people who grow the goodies.

Those who gain from all the firepower we are spending billions on are the 
ones who manufacture this hardware. The poor in Colombia only get caught in 
the crossfire. They grow coca because it is profitable. That is how farmers 
make a living.

Aid to Colombia should be economic, focusing on a way we can assist farmers 
to grow crops to feed themselves and to legally export. Can we be sure that 
the weapons we provide to eradicate drugs aren't appropriated by the very 
people who are responsible for genocide and drug smuggling?

Betty B. Frazier

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