Pubdate: Sun, 19 Dec 2010
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Carl Mumpower
Note: Carl Mumpower is a practicing psychologist and a former U.S. 
congressional candidate and Asheville city council member. Contact 
him at
Bookmark: (Opinion)


America's drug war is an abysmal failure. Like all foreign
entanglements, it finds us arrogantly pretending to fix other
countries while stumbling to manage our own. Success will not be found
in Mexican border towns, Colombian jungles, or Afghan poppy fields. We
will win or lose right here at home.

A search for solutions begins with a commitment to liberty versus
freedom. Liberty is freedom seasoned with accountability. One does not
work without the other - which is precisely why drug legalization

Putting Mexico's narco-terrorists, our street dealers, the DEA, and a
host of attorneys out of business has appeal. It remains that today's
recreational drugs are too powerful to manage - legal or not.
Experience in our own homes and in countries like Holland and Portugal
confirm that drug users, over time, become addicted devotees to their
needs and indifferent to everyone else's.

Yes, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. It is also much easier to
hide, psychologically addictive, demotivating, and cognitively
harmful. In our dangerous and competitive world, expediency is a poor
argument for social endorsement of another personal intoxication tool.
The fact that so few adult users want their own children to smoke
marijuana speaks most clearly to where we should land on this issue.

No one was ever lifted to a better place by getting high. Misuse of
drugs, prescribed or not, is a reliable slide to job problems,
domestic violence, child abuse, personal disintegration, and health
issues funded by someone besides the user.

Asheville is an enabling haven for a blooming drug culture. Whether
co-funding 28,000 recent narco-deaths in Mexico, corrupting our young
and vulnerable by example and recruitment, or poisoning public housing
and poor neighborhoods, each and every participant has bloody hands.

A shamefully inflated hard drug treatment success rate offers further
pause. ABC's report of the long-term salvaging of one in four is
generous. This psychologist agrees with those suggesting one in ten is
more truthful.

Winning the drug war requires holding users, dealers and
co-conspirators accountable. A criminal justice system characterized
by constant delays, selective enforcement, plea bargain rates of
ninety-five plus percent, and an absence of alternative sentencing and
treatment interventions is set up to fail.

Realistic success potentials rest firmly on curtailing the recruitment
of new users. That requires prompt and creative consequence for drug
trade at any level.

Right thinkers recognize legalization as surrender. Loving cultures do
not sacrifice their children for convenience...
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake