Pubdate: Thu, 20 Jun 2002
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Contact:  2002 Detroit Free Press
Author: Thomas W. Burke, Donna M. Paridee


Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announced that his administration will crack
down on drugs in response to the violence that plagues the city. For 100
years our country has been engaged in a drug crackdown, and it has yet to
effect any change. In fact, it has made the drug epidemic worse by
leveraging higher profits for dealers and traffickers. The mayor's agenda of
more oppression also will make things worse by ratcheting up tensions. 

A new approach is needed to ebb the supply of drugs into the city. We must
realize, as we did with alcohol, that people are going to get high no matter
what. Short of a totalitarian response that entails door-to-door searches
and a complete suspension of constitutional rights, our current policies
will never work. 

Treatment and education have proved to be more economical and practical
weapons against drugs than has incarceration. Marijuana -- the use of which
has never killed anyone -- should have never been included in the equation.
The distraction of marijuana interdiction gives hard drug dealers room to
breathe and keeps police and courts tied up. 

It is time for a change. 

Thomas W. Burke


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Taking Drugs Is A Vice, Not A Crime. 

Something different needs to be done if we want to keep drugs away from
children. Ask teenagers. All they have to do is make a phone call and any
prohibited drug they want can be theirs in about an hour. 

Donna M. Paridee, NORML of Macomb County

New Baltimore
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