Pubdate: Wed, 17 Oct 2001
Source: News-Press (FL)
Copyright: 2001 The News-Press
Author: Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida


Regardless of whether Cape Coral Police Chief Gibbs is innocent or guilty 
of the accusations that he covered up his daughter's involvement in a drug 
bust, one thing is clear: Chief Gibbs has been brought face to face with 
the reality that the ill-advised "Drug War" is not a war against drugs.

The Drug War in reality is a war against our own friends, neighbors and 
family members. No one was harmed or damaged by the fact that Monique Gibbs 
and her boyfriend were possibly in possession of cocaine. No citizen 
independently came forward to file a complaint regarding the alleged sale 
of cocaine by the boyfriend. Rather, the police went out of their way to 
invest hard-earned tax dollars and valuable police man-hours to "catch" two 
adults engaged in consensual acts which, in the end, were no more the 
public's business than the acts of nearby citizens who were in possession 
of the legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

When those trapped by such operations are minorities or low-income 
residents of the city, there is little sympathy for the very real outcome 
of such policies, which of course is a lengthy prison sentence and/or 
coerced drug treatment. Often such treatment is foisted upon individuals 
with no actual drug abuse problem, but who were engaged in a simple weekend 

But when those captured are family members of law enforcement or local 
politicos, it brings us face to face with the reality that our draconian 
drug policies are not about helping drug abusers, but instead are simply a 
gravy train for the prison and drug treatment industries.

And our family members are the grist for the mill. It's time to end the 
criminal prohibition on "some" drugs. It's time we provide real drug 
treatment on demand for those who need and request help, much as we 
currently deal with alcohol and tobacco users. A citizen should not have to 
be subject to a felony arrest record in order to get needed help.

- -- Stephen Heath represents the Drug Policy Forum of Florida.
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