Pubdate: 24 Feb 1999
Source: The Daily Star (Lebanon)
Note: Headline by MAP Editor


Thanks for an excellent piece on the drug war (“Why Washington has lost its
war on drugs,” The Daily Star, Feb. 22).  If you haven’t seen it already,
you should take a look at

There you will find a collection of the major studies of drug policy over
the last 100 years, including the largest studies ever conducted by the
governments of the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. You will also find
historical documents covering the history of the drug laws from their

If you are new to the online library, I recommend you start with The
Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, which you will find
under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy. It is probably the best book
ever written on the subject.

I should correct you on at least one point. The real “lethal substances”
are not heroin and similar drugs. The number of people killed by drugs in
the U.S. each year is as follows: Tobacco, about 400,000; alcohol, about
100,000 (not counting road deaths or homicides); prescription drugs, about
100,000; all illegal drugs combined, 5,000 to 10,000; cocaine, about 3,000;
heroin, about 2,000; aspirin, about 2,000; marijuana, no recorded deaths in

If you will read Rx Drugs, the story of the Liverpool heroin maintenance
clinics at you will
find that a doctor who prescribes heroin regularly says “heroin is not a
dangerous drug.”

You can find a discussion of the lethal potential of heroin under the
Consumers Union Report, in the chapter titled, “The Heroin Overdose
Mystery.” To summarize the chapter, they are not sure what is killing
addicts by “overdose” but they are pretty sure it is not the heroin. This
library is the reason that the legalizers “own” the Internet. In the last
year about a dozen major media sources have named it as the reason for
their editorial position. It has changed the shape of the debate around the

Clifford A. Schaffer, director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy,
Canyon Country, California

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In response to Marc J. Sirois’ article on “Why America has lost its war on
drugs,” and recent articles in other newspapers about Al Gore’s
announcement that America has spiritual problems.

Politicians have spiritual problems. It seems that people like Al Gore,
Bill McCollum, and (of course) B.J. Clinton are the ones with the

“Spiritual Problem.” Why don’t they leave us and our young people alone?
Typical of the politicians of today, they are jumping on the
severe-punishment anti-constitution bandwagon to build their careers by
claiming this war on our rights (oops, “war on drugs”) is “for the kids.”
Wouldn’t want to appear soft on crime, wouldja Al? How about it Bill? Joe
Stalin and Adolf Hitler would be proud of your lack of mercy.

As I remember, Al and Tipper are proud sponsors of censorship - you
remember, trying to ban obscene language in music? Are you satisfied with
the warning labels on the compact disks our kids buy? Let’s elect Al
president so he and Tipper can chisel away more of our rights to help
create an illusion of “security” and “propriety.”

It always surprises me that the government, which wants to control and
contain people as much as possible, is against marijuana. Don’t they know
anything? Pot-smokers are non-violent people that tend to stay home and
keep to themselves - a picture of complacency.

Are the money and power issues from elsewhere so powerful that this has
been forgotten? All this stupid war on drugs is doing is costing taxpayers
billions of dollars, and incarcerating many responsible, tax-paying, and
harmless adults. Even adults that don’t wind up in jail are being
financially ruined trying to defend themselves. Kids will always make their
own decisions regardless of laws or government policy The billions of
dollars would be better invested in schools and teachers, not to mention
treatment of people with serious addiction problems.

Our constitution is sacred, and millions of Americans have died since this
country was founded to first get and then to protect our rights, and even
the rights and liberty of others (hasn’t anyone seen Private Ryan? Don’t we
all know what WWII was about?). How can we allow short-sighted politicians
to trash our rights to make their resumes look good?

Because they don’t have stupid little mustaches and spout anti-Semitic
garbage doesn’t mean politicians of today aren’t just a different kind of

Eric Handel, Easthampton, Maine

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MAP posted-by: Mike Gogulski