Pubdate: Sat, 07 Mar 1998
Date: 07/03/1998
Source: Norfolk Daily News (NE)
Author: Arthur R Sobey

Dear Editor,

I liked your editorial "Drugs, alcohol: The same thing?" June 25th.
Addressing issues like this is the essence of responsibility. I didn't
however like your answer to your own question, "Why fight it?" with
"it" being the distinction between the drug alcohol and other
currently illicit drugs. There is a clear and compelling reason to
educate all Americans to the concept of one drug policy that covers
all drugs.

Alcohol is a drug. It is recognized as a drug by every medical body
that has weighed in on the issue, and is now referred to as a drug by
all federal agencies that deal with it. The drug alcohol causes over
85% of our drug-related crime, and over 90% of our substance
abuse/addiction problems. My question back to the Daily News is "Why
continue the charade that allows those who use alcohol recreationally
to pretend it isn't a drug?

When a crime is committed by a person under the influence of a single
drug, it will be alcohol 84% of the time, cocaine 12% of the time,
heroin 4% of the time, and marijuana to infrequently to measure. Any
cop will tell you that in cases of domestic violence, alcohol will be
the drug involved in almost every case. Alcohol remains our biggest
drug problem, just like it always has been.

The biggest reason people must understand that alcohol is a drug is
because of the self-inflicted insanity of the War on Drugs, or
Prohibition II. We are destroying generations of children once again
with an attempt to prohibit a popular substance.

Children suffered horribly under Prohibition. They were used just as
children are used today; to deliver drugs (alcohol) and collect money.
Alcohol abuse and addiction problems skyrocketed among children.
Violence, much of it involving children, made streets unsafe. It got
so bad that "Save Our Children" became the rallying cry of those who
led the drive to repeal Prohibition.

Here we are again, up to our necks in the same mess;

Consider this.

We know how destructive alcohol is, and how much worse all
alcohol-related problems became under Prohibition. So, what we are
seeing today is the best possible situation for controlling the
problems caused by alcohol. We have legalization of alcohol, or to put
it more accurately, we have government regulated sales and use of alcohol.

On the other hand, we have the worst possible situation imaginable
with the small handful of drugs that are currently prohibited. Instead
of sales being limited to state-approved sales outlets, these drugs
are available for sale on every street corner, in every town and city
in the country. For the past 27 years we have been fighting a civil
war against drug users in the United States. The result is that drugs
are more out of control than ever before, they are more available than
ever before, and the situation continues to get worse.

Since law enforcement will never be able to control the problem, which
would you really prefer, drug sales controlled by criminal elements,
or drug sales controlled by our government?


Arthur R Sobey