Pubdate: Thu, 15 Aug 2002
Source: Frederick News Post (MD)
Copyright: 2002 Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company
Author: Josh Rhoderick


It has long been my hope that the public fully understands just how 
pointless the war on drugs has become ("FBI trades drug war for terror," 
July 31). When I served in the Army, one of my duties was to fight narcotics.

The budgets allotted for this task were astronomical and, frankly, insane. 
The war on drugs is a criminal justice response to a medical health 
problem, catering mostly to hysterical voting parents who fear for their 
children's safety.

Simply put, we fear what we do not understand. Because the subject of 
ending the war on drugs is taboo, we will never be able to understand the 
problem fully, nor can we advance our efforts unless we look at other 
alternatives, such as legalization.

It is extremely important to understand that we must not equate 
legalization with being soft on drugs. We must not assume that by 
legalizing drugs, we are condoning their use. Anyone in his or her sane 
mind is disgusted by the use of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

When we pulled out of Vietnam, no one accused us of being "soft" on 
communism. We simply couldn't win hearts, minds or the war. With our newest 
Vietnam - the war on drugs - we are creating more problems than we have 
ever solved, or ever will solve.

In my personal opinion, we should disband the entire Drug Enforcement 
Agency, or relocate their services to anti-terrorism, where they may 
actually make a difference. The funds spent on trying to stop drugs should 
be allocated for anti-drug education. The money spent on imprisoning 
non-violent drug offenders should be used to create government subsidized 
rehabilitation clinics.

As long as we back this failure of a war, the politicians will grasp onto 
our hysterics in hopes of gaining votes. I urge all those who have not 
forged their opinions from facts (not propaganda), to do a little research. 
You may be stunned by what you read - not only about the futility of the 
war, but the drugs themselves.

And more importantly, take this issue into consideration at polling time. 
With a new war on terrorism on our hands, it's become blatantly obvious to 
millions of Americans that we should put our energy and money where they 
can actually make a difference.

I don't want my tax dollars going to imprisoning a cocaine addict who does 
harm only to himself, when that money may be used to help prevent another 
Sept. 11.

Josh Rhoderick

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