Pubdate: Wed, 18 Feb 1998
Date: February 18, 1998
Source: The Oregonian
Author:  Richard Bayer, M.D.

You have covered a great tragedy in which the life of another police
officer was lost while trying to enforce prohibition of marijuana in our
gun-crazed society.  It is time that our police officers quit paying the
price for our failed political policy of interdiction of drugs.

It is time for a national debate on drug policy.  Many of us look at
substance abuse as a public health problem instead of a criminal problem
and believe we should be focusing on prevention rather than interdiction
and incarceration.

Joseph McNamara, former police chief of Kansas City, Mo., and San Jose,
Calif., had an essay published in National Review.  Two of his sentences
sum up my point: "It's the money, stupid," and, "Sadly, the police have
been pushed into a war they did not start and cannot win."

In spite of massive government spending, record levels of arrests,
overflowing jails and dead police officers, cheaper and more plentiful
drugs ar now available.

Please support efforts to look at substance abuse from a medical
perspective rather than a moral or law enforcement perspective.  We do not
need any more of our brave police officers dying because of the failed
political policy of prohibition in the United States.

Richard Bayer, M.D.
Southwest Portland, OR