Pubdate: Sat, 30 Nov 2002
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2002 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Peter B. Bensinger


Steve Chapman's "The war on drugs vs. the war on terrorism" (Commentary, 
Nov. 10) is frightening. While Chapman cannot deny the historic and direct 
connection between drug trafficking and terrorism, he suggests that we 
should make cocaine legal. If teddy bears were illegal, he says, then the 
terrorists would sell teddy bears.

How many people will die tonight from hugging teddy bears? At least four 
will die from cocaine.

There is no question that the major illegal drug trafficking source 
countries fuel terrorist groups, and have done so since the opium war in 
China 150 years ago. Recently terrorist groups attempted to trade heroin 
for missiles, and cocaine for grenade launchers and $25 million worth of 

The way to hurt the terrorists is to seize their assets, to destroy the 
drug trafficking networks and to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.

Chapman does not comment on how drugs that are now illegal would affect our 
population in terms of health, addiction, productivity, accidents, social 
welfare and health costs, vigilance or safety. He suggests that if drugs 
were legal there would be no organized crime. Who is he kidding?

England made available heroin to registered addicts 30 years ago in the 
hope, as Chapman suggests, that it would eliminate illegal drug trafficking 
and organized crime. The registered addicts received the less potent and 
safe heroin at their chemists (drug stores) and then immediately went out 
and bought more powerful stuff illegally. Illegal heroin imports doubled in 
the United Kingdom. So did the time Scotland Yard spent on the heroin 
trade. The U.K. abandoned that idea very quickly.

Let's applaud the parent groups, scientists, the U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration and the United Nations that recognize marijuana, cocaine and 
heroin for what they are: unsafe, unhealthy and illegal.

Peter B. Bensinger, Chairman

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority,

Former administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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