Pubdate: Sun, 23 Jan 2005
Source: Chapel Hill News (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Chapel Hill News
Author: Noreen Ordronneau


The United States has been fighting the war on drugs for decades. The 
people of this country and the U.S. Congress should be asking an important 
question before appropriating more money for the so-called War on Drugs. 
Twenty-five years and $25 billion later, are we closer to solving the key 
problem, which is reducing drug abuse and availability in the United States?

The United States' international drug-control policy is designed to reduce 
or eliminate the supply of illicit drugs in this country. However, the 
price of cocaine and heroin are at a new all-time low in spite of intensive 
efforts to eradicate shipments.

According to a recent report by the Washington Office on Latin America, 
"The supply reduction model does not work, and second, this model has 
sparked conflict, fueled human rights violations, and undermined democracy 
in countries where drugs are produced and trafficked." They go on to say 
that we need a new drug-control policy that gets at the roots of the drug 
problem by channeling more resources to treatment and education in the 
United States and to economic development in Latin America while continuing 
to go after criminal organizations that engage in larger-scale trafficking 
of drugs and arms.

In order to develop drug policies that are more effective, we must make an 
honest assessment of whether we are moving closer to our goals - reducing 
drug abuse in the United States. Serious evaluation of present policies and 
open-minded debate on drug-control alternatives are sorely needed if we 
hope to make any progress. A more effective and more humane policy should 
be based on the recognition that, while controlling illicit drug abuse is a 
legitimate and important goal, drugs will be produced as long as there is 
demand for them.

Noreen Ordronneau

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