Pubdate: Wed, 13 Oct 1999
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center


James Bovard's commentary (Opinion, Oct. 6) is aptly titled "We're fighting
the drug war on the wrong front."  But, it's not limited to one front.

For starters, it's time to drop the term "drug war."  The "war" mentality
discourages dialogue, mediation and reason. It implies that there exists an
enemy that can only be defeated by force.   If that's so, we are our own
worst enemy.

The failure of the fight against drugs has lead to a militarization of the
nation's police force.  It has also contributed to the criminalization of
people whose current conduct is no more illegal than those who engaged in
liquor consumption during Prohibition.  This criminalization has fallen
largely along racial lines, aggravating the damage to an entire generation
of African-Americans.

It's time to accept the fact that a given percentage of the population will
always choose to engage in self-destructive behavior.  The best options are
to manage the situation as a social and medical issue, with the hope of
restricting such habits in future generations through education and medical

The savings in money will be in the billions; the savings in human
potential will be priceless.

Lawrence Pratt
San Jose

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