Pubdate: Sun, 23 Dec 2001
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Section: Northwest Voices, Page B7
Copyright: 2001 The Seattle Times Company

New Drug War

Quelling Qat Won't Wipe Out Bin Laden

Once again, federal officials are using a national tragedy to rally support 
for their misguided policies -- this time in the war on (certain) drugs 
("Sales of traditional drug help bin Laden, agents say," Times, Nov. 9).

Sales of the traditional narcotic leaf "qat" among local Somalian 
immigrants, we are told, put money in Osama bin Laden's pockets. But sales 
of honey help to fund bin Laden, too. Time for a war on honey?

What really helps the terrorists and criminal networks is drug prohibition 
itself. Although it has done nothing to reduce demand for drugs, 
prohibition does artificially inflate prices, encouraging the involvement 
of criminals. It also prevents any possible regulation or taxation of these 
products by state and national governments.

On the other hand, notice that organized crime isn't making much money off 
the liquor trade -- at least, not since the repeal of alcohol prohibition.

Keith Sanders, Oakland

Addict confesses

I suggest that the use of qat should be of serious concern. The Nov. 9 
article describes it as "mildly narcotic" capable of producing a feeling of 

I have been involved in several games of Scrabble when somebody used qat 
and I can say without reservation that its use caused euphoria in that 
individual. Other participants were observed to experience mild depression 
and irritability, especially when it was used near the end of the game or 
when played on triple-word or triple-letter squares.

Qat can indeed be insidious. I know; I've used it.

Patrick McGraner, Lynnwood
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MAP posted-by: Beth