Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jun 2012
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2012 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Author: Gene Trqainor


FORT WORTH -- Calling America's war on drugs a campaign that has
spread violence worldwide, created distrust in law enforcement and
wasted billions of tax dollars, a former federal investigator called
for the legalization of drugs.

Sean Dunagan said Saturday that because drugs are illegal, people
involved in dealing drugs turn to violence to settle disputes.

"There are no arbiters, there are no courts, there are no contracts,
so necessarily all disputes get settled by violence," said Dunagan,
who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dunagan said he turned against the drug war while working in Miami
when a mother with a 5-year-old son on her lap and her drug-dealing
boyfriend were traveling into an apartment complex.

Drug rivals shot up their vehicle, killing all three

"There is a huge collateral impact by the drug war," he said. "We
spend at the federal level about $26 billion a year fighting this war,
and we really have nothing to show for it. Ten years ago, 8.3 percent
of the population reported using illegal drugs. Today it's 8.9 percent."

Dunagan was among the speakers Saturday at the Libertarian Party of
Texas weekend convention at the DFW Airport Marriott South. He was
interviewed during the forum -- attended by about 50 people -- by
Stefan Molyneux, the Canadian host of Freedomain Radio, which produces
podcasts and other programming.

On Friday, James McLaughlin, general counsel and executive director of
the Texas Police Chiefs Association, said that the group supports
providing treatment to some drug users rather than incarceration and
that not enough resources are being funneled to prevention and
intervention efforts. McLaughlin said that alcohol is the most-abused
drug. Legalizing other drugs "will just make the problem even worse,"
he said.

Dunagan, meanwhile, speaks on behalf of Massachusetts-based Law
Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of law enforcement
authorities who support the legalization and regulation of drugs.
Dunagan said that he does not advocate drug use but that he worries
about wasting money and eroding civil liberties.

Dunagan said other countries, particularly in Latin America, are
plagued by violence because of the U.S. drug demand.

The convention continues today.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt