Pubdate: Fri, 16 Nov 2007
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Times
Author: John Chase


Re "The real drug war," editorial, Nov. 10

Funding drug treatment for Americans, rather than guns for Mexico, is
good, provided it is focused. The drug war has failed because it
defines any use of an illegal drug as abuse in need of treatment,
forced if necessary. We must not force treatment on users who don't
want it.

Casual users don't need it; hard-core users won't respond to it unless
they are tired of their life with drugs.

The drug war has been building for almost 100 years. It began with the
well-intentioned, albeit flawed, logic of prohibitionists such as
Richmond Pearson Hobson and Harry J. Anslinger to punish anyone who
used or sold drugs they didn't like. As the situation deteriorated,
Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon and then Ronald Reagan escalated the
war. Academics predicted failure but were ignored.

If we choose to escalate the drug war yet again, Abraham Lincoln will
have been proved wrong: It really is possible to fool all the people
all the time.

John Chase

Palm Harbor, Fla.
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