To the Editor: Drug prohibition doesn’t work!
I have observed and participated reluctantly in the “Drug War” for half a century. It is a failure!
In the beginning, U.S. citizens were fairly safe and secure in their homes, autos and persons. Now, an extremely intrusive, heavy-handed police state has evolved to coerce and intimidate citizens to protect us from ourselves. We now have an extremely wealthy and violent criminal underground fighting over the lucrative drug market and smuggling routes, making the U.S.-Mexico border a “war zone.” Urban areas become turf war arenas for well-armed street gangs intent on drug markets. Is this the outcome we desired or foresaw?
There is no doubt—prohibition breeds violence for wealth and power. Did we learn nothing from the alcohol prohibition experiment, which lasted 13 years? Prohibition of anything desired by the public creates an underground black market, which breeds violence. The irony of this is that many scientists believe the urge to alter one’s reality is so basic to humanity’s drive. Anthropologists will tell us that all children spin to get dizzy, and all cultures have substances to alter reality.
So why do we as a people allow an already-powerful state to use this excuse to increase its power, intimidation and intrusion? Inertia—it’s all many know or expect. We must end the drug war to save this representative democracy handed down by past generations. We need to change the law and order approach to a medical one.
If there were no prohibition, there would be no incentive to draw young users into a life of addiction for profit. Those who are so inclined to violence would at least not be able to afford automatic weapons and bombs. They’d have to use sticks, rocks and sharp objects to fight for nothing. We need change!
From the Sept. 22-28, 2010 issue
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