Pubdate: Mon, 23 Feb 2004
Source: Times-Picayune, The (LA)
Copyright: 2004 The Times-Picayune
Author: John Calvin Jones


Re: "Cycle of death: web of addiction," Page 1, Feb. 10.

Your series on drugs and crime has failed us. Quoting police who
equate certain drugs with crime and murder, without providing
countervailing facts, only shows your complicity with their ignorance.

Clearly, dealers and users get killed in the black market -- because
trade has been criminalized, not because cocaine or heroin are
inherently evil.

Government and academic reports show that prohibition creates crime,
corruption and violence. My own comparison between Holland and the
United States shows that drug arrests increase crime.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration agents and retired and
active-duty police affiliated with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
traverse the nation to preach against drug laws and the harm
prohibition brings to police and civilians. But how could we know
that, reading The Times-Picayune?

It is not news that too many support the racist war on drugs and its
myths. Some of those myths were started right here in New Orleans by
District Attorney Eugene Staley and Public Health Commissioner Dr.
Frank Gomila in the 1920s. They claimed that black marijuana peddlers
"lurked on playgrounds seeking to entrap young minds" and that
marijuana smokers were compelled to a life of violence and crime.

Is the latest tirade against crack or heroin any different?

John Calvin Jones

New Orleans
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