Pubdate: Thu, 26 Sep 2002
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.
Author: Associated Press
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Hutchinson, Asa)


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -Tighter security at airports and borders since the 
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has helped lower drug trafficking, said 
the director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Asa Hutchinson, the nation's top drug-enforcement officer, told a Syracuse 
University audience Thursday that sixteen thousand pounds of cocaine were 
seized at the country's borders in the last six months.

When asked by audience members about legalizing drugs, Hutchinson said 
complete legalization was "irrational and illogical" and would not stop 
organized crime. "We need to invest in more treatment options," he said.

Some in the audience said the war on drugs was a waste of time and 
resources. Hutchinson said the government's policy was on the right track, 
and less than 5 percent of Americans use illegal drugs -down by one-third 
over the last 20 years.

"We need to invest in what works," he said, supporting courts for drug 
offenders and pushing for prison programs helping drug abusers. "And we 
need treatment in prisons, not just incarceration."

Hutchinson said he sees a "clear and long-standing link between terrorism 
and drugs," noting as examples two Palestinian terrorist groups linked by 
authorities to the illegal drug trade.

Facing allegations that his agency disproportionately targeted minorities, 
Hutchinson said, "We target traffickers of drugs. ... We should always look 
at racial fairness."
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