Pubdate: Thu, 12 Dec 2002
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 2002 The Gazette Newspapers
Author: Lawrence D. Goodwin


I was both shocked and delighted to read the Daily Gazette's Thanksgiving 
Day editorial, which injected a high dose of reason into the ongoing public 
debate over alcohol use among people under 21.

While the editorial was aimed at the "puritans" in the "anti-alcohol 
establishment," it was most likely appreciated by many local parents and 
teen-agers. Unfortunately, I do not expect the Gazette to make those same 
compelling arguments about the outrageously expensive war against marijuana 
and other illegal drugs - even though this war could also be described, 
perhaps more accurately, as "an ever more repressive prohibition."

To be blunt, this and other local newspapers seem to double as publicity 
offices for area police departments, consistently circulating articles that 
show a strong bias against the "dealers" of drugs and in favor of the 
"officials" who surveil, arrest, incarcerate and prosecute them. Yet with 
all that money (and ink) spent on law enforcement, after thousands have 
been arrested and imprisoned, dealers still manage to ply their trade in 
the Capital Region.

I submit that this represents more of an "absurd situation" than the 
campaign to keep alcohol away from teen-agers. The media demonization of 
drugs and drug dealers (ad nauseam) obscures the main reason that they will 
never go away: There will always be strong public demand for marijuana, 
cocaine and other mind-altering substances. Sure, you can point it out in 
regard to alcohol, but how can you ignore that people "get pleasure" from 
these other drugs?

Maybe it's high time for the authorities, and their newsroom accomplices, 
to consider the possibility that presently "illegal" drugs can also be used 
responsibly - that is, by adults!

The first step would be to cease this ridiculous war and make them legal.

Lawrence D. Goodwin

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