Pubdate: Fri, 18 Oct 2002
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2002 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Author: Robert C. Richards


How about the agony inflicted on a lot of innocent people by the war on 
drugs, by SWAT teams busting down doors, by the carnage on our streets in 
turf wars, by the killing of good police officers in shootouts with 
dealers, by the corruption of once good police officers and civil servants 
here and in Mexico, by the fact that young black kids are sucked out of 
school and into the streets by the profits that can be made selling drugs, 
and by the sight of U.S. helicopters flying around Colombia trying to 
suppress guerrillas supported by the illegal profits the war creates.

Yes, if it were legal for adults to sell drugs to adults, more adults would 
probably use them and that would not be good. But then most of the damage 
would be suffered by the guilty, by the people actually putting drugs into 
their bodies. A greater use of drugs could become a public health problem, 
but only if the public chooses to make it one by wrong-headedly deciding 
that it should provide care to the drug users free of charge and thereby 
take some of the risk out of drug use. America then might have a lot more 
drug users, but it would still function quite nicely. In fact better, 
because then life would be much less violent.

Robert C. Richards

Sanford, N.C.
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