Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2001
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2001 West Hawaii Today
Author: Quinn C. Hoyer



A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center has shown that 
74 percent of Americans believe the current U.S. drug policy of 
arrest, incarceration and interdiction is not working. We believe the 
use of force to treat a health problem is not the right thing to do.

Basing "drug policy" on the actions of the worst abusers, those who 
harm others, is like basing our "fast food" policy on a 600 hundred 
pound person. Only drug dealers, criminals and corrupt government 
officials thrive in a prohibition society. Who loses? The American 
people do. Have we already forgotten the devastating effects of 
alcohol prohibition to this country?

Here on the Big Island, we have a similar situation with the 
prohibited substance "ice." After 30 years of increasingly severe 
criminal penalties and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on this 
"war," the "drug problem" is as bad as ever.

We don't need statistics to see the worsening signs every day. Why 
has the drug problem only gotten out of control recently? Could it be 
the lure of the $700 billion Americans spend on illegal drugs that 
end up in these criminal dealer's hands yearly?

If all drugs were legalized today, wouldn't every single drug dealer 
be out of business tomorrow? And isn't that what we really want? To 
reduce the harm caused by the abuse of drugs, including tobacco and 
alcohol? To protect our children from unnecessary exposure to these 
harmful substances, rather then sending them out among these 
predators that we allow to profit by getting our kids hooked on drugs?

What about creating an environment where people who want to break 
their drug addiction can receive treatment - without having to get 
arrested first? Now if we can only convince the people in charge.

Quinn C. Hoyer
Kona, HI
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