Pubdate: Tue, 26 May 2015
Source: Journal-Inquirer (Manchester, CT)
Copyright: 2015 Journal-Inquirer
Author: Robert Sharpe


This is in response to the editorial "Malloy didn't call anyone 
racist but drug enforcement is" (May 18).

Regarding the comments made by Gov. Dannel Malloy that upset 
Republican legislators: 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.

Jail 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, legal tobacco use 
has declined considerably, without any need to arrest smokers or 
imprison tobacco farmers.

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.

Robert Sharpe Arlington, Va. The writer is a policy analyst for 
Common Sense for Drug Policy in Washington, D.C.
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