Pubdate: Thu, 29 Sep 2005
Source: Stowe Reporter, The (VT)
Copyright: 2005 The Stowe Reporter
Author: Frederick Chase, Jr.


To the Editor:

We in America have been snapped out of one of our delusions by
Hurricane Katrina. Potential disasters, such as a city built on land
that is 6 feet below sea level in a hurricane zone, can no longer be

A less obvious disaster, but perhaps more catastrophic, is the harm
caused by "The Drug War." The obvious difference is that the former
took place within one week; the latter has been taking place over
decades and is still happening daily. Each disaster has been that
"elephant in the living room" that few people want to see or talk
about. Each "elephant" is consuming billions upon billions of tax dollars.

In the case of the "drug war," the harm caused by the laws themselves
is far greater than the drug substances declared to be illegal. After
all, the really huge damage that is being done, and has been done, is
by the "legal" drug substances of tobacco and alcohol.

The harm these laws cause is in the form of huge expenditures on the
prison system and for drug interdiction, corruption of law enforcement
and foreign policy, destruction of American families by locking up key
members in "crime schools," developing a large network of "pushers"
(i.e., "entrepreneurs") hooking customers to take advantage of the
vast profits the government has provided them by passing these laws,
and the crime that results for users to pay these greatly inflated

The drug czar reports that we are winning the drug war. Nothing could
be further from the truth. Teenagers report that marijuana, for
instance, is more available than alcohol. After all, alcohol is
regulated and taxed; illegal drugs are merely illegal.

To finance the huge drug-war empire, the czar needs more funds from
Congress during this budget session. Have you noticed recently the
proliferation of drug-bust news articles?

But the real news that is seldom reported is the enormous quantity of
illegal drugs getting through the drug busts and the interdiction
network. Nothing changes, the drug czar's dazzling statistics to the
contrary notwithstanding.

The drug war is another failed government program. It is time to take
the billions of dollars spent on it and use them for something that
works. American consumers will get what American consumers want.

Why were the citizens and the politicians sufficiently enlightened in
the 1930s to terminate the Prohibition of that terrible drug, alcohol,
by a constitutional amendment? Why are we so unenlightened today?

Frederick Chase Jr.