Pubdate: Mon, 01 Nov 2004
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2004 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Stephen Heath
Note: Hernando Edition Opinion page


Re: Drug sweeps target links, Oct. 26 Times:

Editor: Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent would lead readers to
believe the recent "major" cocaine bust will bring long-term beneficial
results. In fact, within a few days, or a week at most, no one in the
county who wants cocaine will have much trouble getting it. The obscene
profits guaranteed by drug prohibition laws ensure that for every
dealer busted, there will be plenty of eager replacements.

It's reasonable to say Hernando County law enforcement has been making
such busts routinely for more than 20 years. If cops haven't shut down
the illegal cocaine trade in 20 years, how many more years will it

The only way to put illegal dealers out of business is to legalize
currently illicit drugs and create a regulated market that can be
easily monitored by police. While the market for cocaine is relatively
small, leaving control of distribution in the hands of criminals
guarantees long-term problems that will never be solved, regardless of
how many busts the cops make.

Illegal drug dealers actively sell to minors. They commit violent acts
in our neighborhoods and tie up thousands of police man-hours as
officers try to smoke out the principal players. Legal drug dealers -
as demonstrated by regulated pharmacies, alcohol and tobacco dealers -
are little problem to monitor. Legal dealers do not commit violence in
our neighborhoods and they do not sell to kids.

Most important, they do not tie up valuable police time that could be
better used on projects that create legitimate, long-term results.

It's time to legalize drugs, for the sake of our children and for the
safety of our neighborhoods.


Florida Office

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

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