Pubdate: Wed, 02 Jan 2008
Source: News Sun (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Digital Chicago & Sun-Times News Group
Author: Frederick Chase jr.


In the Dec. 27 issue of The News-Sun, Hasan Hakeem, a lifelong 
resident of Waukegan, has written an insightful, comprehensive and 
thoughtful article on the pernicious effects of the "drug war" in Waukegan.

These effects exist nationwide. The number of drug busts is 
irrelevant in controlling usage. The profits to drug sellers are huge 
under this government program of Prohibition.

There will always be risk-takers to replace the drug sellers who are 
arrested and jailed. The demand exists and it will be met. But how?

The legal drugs, alcohol and nicotine, which are addictive, are 
regulated and taxed. Witness the anti-smoking regulations and the 
advertising and age restrictions on alcohol and tobacco. The illegal 
drugs are merely illegal.

Why has this failed program continued for over 35 years? Three reasons:

1. The major harm to society is done to those on the margins. For the 
rest of us the costs of $30 to $40 billion each year are only our 
taxes down the drain.

2. Law enforcement and the prison industry enjoy full employment.

3. The drumbeat of "soft on crime" has been so persistent that the 
knees of politicians quake at the sound.

Will those of us born in the 1930s see sensible programs passed to 
control and regulate addictive substances? Maybe, if we live long enough.

It is encouraging that among today's politicians, stories of 
recreational drug use can be written. It is not even necessary now to 
add, "I didn't inhale".

But for the near future, Hasan Hakeem has let us know what to expect: 
"... there will be the ritual 'drug sweep,' a mere Band-Aid on a raw 
sore that continues to ooze and fester beneath the surface on 
Waukegan's South Side".

For the near future, the Band-Aid will also be applied nationwide.

Frederick Chase Jr.
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