DRUGS SHOULD BE LEGALIZED, CONTROLLED
For years I have bemoaned the absence of a rational approach to drugs and drug policy, repeatedly stating that if my fellow members of the criminal justice system had the courage, united and individually to say that the "War on Drugs" was a bad idea gone worse, then and only then could we as a society find a better way to deal with the problems associated with those who abuse drugs.
When I moved to New Mexico, Gary Johnson was the governor; I was amazed at his efforts to legalize marijuana, but not at the success of those efforts.
I would like to offer the proposition that all drugs should be legalized and controlled in the manner that alcohol and tobacco are currently.
The facts are evident and simple: The War on Drugs has not and does not work; drugs are as easy to get or easier to get, and are cheaper and more potent than they were when I began my law enforcement career with an assignment to the narcotics unit. That was the constant I saw over the three assignments I had in our narcotics unit in Gainesville, Fla. Every time I returned to narcotics the drugs were cheaper, more potent and easier to get. The changes I saw were that everyone involved was more likely to have a fire-arm.
The stakes were higher and increasingly large amounts of money were involved. Although I did not know it at the time, the War on Drugs provides a perfect example of what Thomas Crum described in his book, "The Magic of Conflict." When two persons, organizations, ideologies, etc., are in opposition or conflict, the energy spent on the conflict tends to escalate.
The drug dealers were finding new ways to import and distribute their wares because law enforcement was interdicting the traffic. So when the dealers got better, the cops had to get better. When the cops got better, the dealers had to get better.
In fact, the only improvements resulting from the War on Drugs were improvements in acquisi-tion and distribution, and improvements in detection and interdiction. There was no improvement in the lives of those affected by the drugs or those who were collateral casualties of the War on Drugs. As the stakes got higher, the toll on people and their lives also grew. The damage done to our society, the loss of respect for government -- especially law enforcement -- and the creation and growth of the "corrections industry," all stem from the War on Drugs.
The sooner we, as a society, accept that we cannot end the desire of people for the effects of drugs, the sooner we can end this unsuc-cessful prohibition and set about making our communities safer. We cannot com-pletely prevent our young people from obtaining drugs, but we stand a lot better chance if they are legalized and controlled than if they remain a black-market commodity over which criminals who do not check IDs, exert more control than do law -abiding citizens. There are several organizations with Internet links that have accurate, factual information regarding the War on Drugs: Drug War Distortions ( www.drugwardistortions.org ); Drug War Facts ( www.drugwarfacts.org ); Common Sense for Drug Policy ( www.csdp.org/publicservice ); and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ( www.leap.cc ). I encourage everyone to check the facts and make a rational, objective decision about their position on the War on Drugs. I am confident that a decision made without the fear-based emotional rheto-ric used by those with their own agenda will be to support an end to prohibition. Remember that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting differ-ent results. Can the War on Drugs be anything but insane?
Fri, 23 Mar 2007
Copyright: The Taos News 2007