Pubdate: Mon, 24 Sep 2001
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your Sept. 8 editorial ("Spraying poison") was right on target.

A cost-benefit analysis of U.S. drug war efforts overseas is long overdue. 
The environmental damage caused by Plan Colombia is especially heinous. 
Toxic herbicides are sprayed indiscriminately from above, hitting water 
supplies, staple crops and people. The aerial eradication campaign drives 
peasants farther into the Amazon basin, which in turn leads to more 
rainforest destruction.

A White House proposal to expand the Clinton administration's $1.3 billion 
Plan Colombia into a broader Andean initiative is a prime of example of big 
government throwing good money after bad.

The additional funds will not negate the immutable laws of supply and 
demand that drive illegal drug production. A crackdown in one region leads 
to increased cultivation elsewhere.

Creating a global welfare state in which every developing country is paid 
not to grow illicit crops is a rather expensive proposition. Instead of 
wasting tax dollars overseas on futile supply-side efforts, we should be 
funding cost-effective drug treatment here at home.


Program Officer, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, D.C.
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