reboot the republic daily October 25, 2010

reboot the republic daily

Posted: 18 Aug 2010 03:00 PM PDT
From Liberty For All

America’s futile effort to arrest its way out of our drug problems has cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion since 1970, and it drains $69 billion a year — every year — from our treasury. It funds terrorists and clogs the court system, yet our kids report that it can be easier for them to buy illegal drugs than beer or cigarettes.
As a child growing up in Wichita, I learned to spot a failure when I saw one. And this one’s a whopper.
Our government pours billions of dollars into poisoning crops in other counties, turning dirt-poor farmers into mortal enemies, and risking our soldiers against highly armed, ruthless drug gangs. And what did the CIA recently admit? After our latest $4 billion eradication effort in Afghanistan, the heroin-producing poppy trade is the largest ever recorded.
Another $4 billion wasted to eradicate coca plants in Colombia has resulted in an increase in coca, and that trade has now been joined by Colombian entrepreneurs who produce opium poppies.
What exactly are we getting for our trillion tax dollars? A good feeling?
But you know who really feels good about our war on drugs? The drug cartels. And the terrorists.
But just as happened to Al Capone and his smuggling buddies when Prohibition ended, the drug lords and terrorists would be out of business without this “war.”
How has our war on drugs affected traditional police work? We solve a much lower percentage of our nation’s homicide cases today than we did in the 1950s, despite more police per capita, better training and technical equipment. How many serious violent crimes go unresolved because police are busy chasing marijuana users?
The war on drugs doesn’t make us any safer. The war on drugs doesn’t prevent drug abuse. The war on drugs costs a fortune. And the war on drugs and its huge profits encourage corruption at all levels of law enforcement.
The good news is that there are workable alternatives. When the Swiss did a 10-year experiment, treating heroin addicts by giving them heroin up to three times a day, everything changed. There was a 60 percent drop in property and violent crime, overdose deaths disappeared, AIDS and hepatitis declined to the lowest rates in Europe, addiction rates went down as addicts stabilized their lives enough to kick their habit, and the rate of projected cases of new heroin users fell by a staggering 82 percent.
By treating heroin addiction as a medical problem, instead of a sign of bad moral character, officials were able to tame Switzerland’s drug problem and gut the drug dealers, as we had always dreamed — just like that.
I represent Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international group of law officers who are sworn opponents of drug abuse. We know a system of legalized regulation of drugs is more efficient and ethical than one of prohibition.
Originally published at the LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) blog January 25, 2007.
Related posts:

  1. It’s Time To Legalize Drugs
  2. Some Random Thoughts About the War On Drugs
  3. “A Drug War Carol” Exposes True History of the War on Drugs