Pubdate: Tue, 8 Mar 2011
Source: Macon Telegraph (GA)
Copyright: 2011 The Macon Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


The drug war has been waged in a racist manner since its inception.
The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 was preceded by a wave of
anti-immigrant sentiment. Opium was identified with Chinese laborers,
marijuana with Mexicans and cocaine with African-Americans. Racial
profiling continues to be the norm, despite similar rates of drug use
for minorities and whites.

Support for the drug war would end overnight if whites were
incarcerated for drugs at the same rate as minorities. The drug war is
a cultural inquisition, not a public health campaign.

Prison cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective
as deterrents. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and
begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public
health problem it is.

Thanks to public education efforts, tobacco use has declined
considerably. Mandatory minimum prison sentences, civil asset
forfeiture, random drug testing and racial profiling are not the most
cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices.

Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Historical background on U.S. laws can be found at:

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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