Pubdate: Mon, 05 Jan 2004
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Ledger
Author: Greg Francisco


It is encouraging news that rates of teenage substance abuse have fallen 
over the past two years, ("Prevention Pays in Drug War," editorial, Dec. 23).

Not so encouraging is the whopping price we've had to pay for this marginal 

The drug war annually drains upward of $40 billion dollars out of state and 
federal budgets. Seven hundred thousand citizens are arrested yearly on 
cannabis charges, better than 80 percent of those for simple possession.

The Bill of Rights is in tatters because of the so-called, drug exception." 
Carrying the "war" metaphor to its logical conclusion, police have adopted 
ever-moredraconian, militaristic tactics, which, in turn, have led to 
multiple slayings of innocent bystanders. The horrors are endless.

At the same time, by employing a public-health model of education, 
treatment and prevention, rates of teenage tobacco addiction have been 
slashed by half, and no one had to go to jail for it to happen. No one had 
a door kicked in at 3 a.m. only to discover the cops got the wrong house. 
No one was shot while reaching for a coffee cup.

The drug war: The cure that is worse than the disease.

There is a better way.

GREG FRANCISCO, Educators for Sensible Drug Policies, Paw Paw, Mich.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager