Pubdate: Wed, 15 Apr 2003
Source: Garden Island (HI)
Copyright: 2003 Kauai Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe,


If the corruption allegations made against the Kauai Police Department prove
true, it wouldn't be the first time protectors of the peace have fallen prey
to the lure of easy drug money. The high-profile Los Angeles Police
Department Rampart scandal involved anti-drug officers selling drugs and
framing gang members. A former commander of U.S. anti-drug operations in
Colombia was found guilty of laundering the profits of his wife's heroin
smuggling operation.

Entire countries have been destabilized due to the corrupting influence of
the illegal drug trade. Like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, the drug war
is causing tremendous societal harm, while failing miserably at preventing
use. While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical precedent,
European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health alternative
based on the principle that both drug abuse and prohibition have the
potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop the
spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard and soft
drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require incarceration
as a prerequisite. Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels
U.S. politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes
organized crime. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A. Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC

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