Pubdate: Fri, 06 Sep 2019
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2019 The New York Times Company
Author: Roger Carasso
Note: Headline by newshawk


Portugal's decriminalization of drugs reduced the number of heroin
users from 100,000 to 25,000. Its drug mortality rate became the
lowest in Western Europe.

What's badly needed is to look at the real reason for criminalizing
drugs. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were aimed at
black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws in the early
20th century targeted Mexican migrants and Mexican-Americans.

The "war on drugs" was coined by President Richard Nixon. A top Nixon
aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted that it was aimed at Mr. Nixon's
two major enemies, the antiwar left and black people: Criminalization
meant that "we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their
leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them
night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about
the drugs? Of course we did."

The war on drugs had little or nothing to do with health or safety. It
was about political persecution.

Roger Carasso

Santa Fe, N.M.
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