Pubdate: Sat, 04 Dec 1999
Date: 12/04/1999
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Author: John Wallace
Related:  and and

After reading the Chronicle's Dec. 1 editorial, "Ciudad Juarez a
battlefield in a dangerous war," I wonder how the editorial writers
could be so totally out of touch with reality. They claim that if
drugs were legalized, the "bloodthirsty criminals who traffic in drugs
would quickly find other avenues to prey on human vices and

In other words, they seem to believe that the justification for the
war on drugs is to keep drug traffickers confined to the
drug-trafficking business so they won't have time to branch out into
other, more nefarious activities -- whatever they might be. I also
question the term "depravity" to describe -- for example -- a cancer
patient or other critically ill person who uses illegal, smuggled
marijuana to alleviate symptoms.

When the United States abolished alcohol prohibition in 1933, our
homicide rate dropped almost overnight by a factor of more than two
and remained very low until the late 1960s when the current war on
(some) drugs went into high gear.

The number of drug users might rise slightly if drugs were legalized,
but the social cost per addict would drop dramatically because most of
the dangers associated with illegal drug use arise from the
illegality, rather than from the biochemistry, per se.

When was the last time anyone died from an overdose of moonshine
contaminated with methanol? Probably not since 1933. When was the last
time a Phillip-Morris and an R.J. Reynolds employee got into a
shootout to decide who would supply cigarettes to a corner store?

The blood of the murder victims in Juarez and of the thousands of
other innocent people who die each year because of the war on drugs is
on the hands of the hypocrites in the United States who persist in
trying to criminalize and militarize a medical/social problem.

John Wallace,