Pubdate: Wed, 27 Mar 2002
Source: Lawrence Journal-World (KS)
Copyright: 2002 The Lawrence Journal-World
Author: William J. Skepnek


To the editor:

Have you seen the new television ads used in the "war on drugs"? One, a 
series of close-ups, shows faces of teen-agers speaking. Voices alternate 
between "justifying" use of illegal drugs and "admitting" responsibility 
for crimes ranging from murder to terrorism. The newest strategy, it seems, 
is to blame kids for a range of persistent problems; organized crime, 
violence, terrorism.

But should we consider another possibility? Is there a different angle? Is 
it the "use" of drugs which is the "cause" of these problems, or do these 
ads underscore a different truth?

Do the drugs themselves cause violence, breed organized crime or finance 
terrorists? That would be hard to prove. In fact, it is hard to deny our 
policy of "prohibition," driving drug use underground and planting it in a 
lawless environment, is what enables criminals and terrorists to reap 
enormous profits from drug trafficking. It is the profit which leads to 
violence. Though these drugs are dangerous and have led to addictions, most 
of the tragedy is caused by "criminalization".

Don't forget, while we cut back support for our schools, or health care for 
our poor and elderly, how much we spend on this "war": increased law 
enforcement, the heavy burden on the court system, all the prisons, ruined 
lives of crime victim and convicted felon alike, even the cost of these 

When you watch these ads, look for the real message.

William J. Skepnek,

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