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June 26, 2006 - Cincinnati Enquirer (OH)

OpEd: Illegal Drugs The Real Cause Of Violence

By Don Parcell

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

An editorial in the June 17 Enquirer stated that "the root causes of violence in our community (are) lack of economic opportunity, poor education and moral depravity."

These are only results of the real cause, which is the illegal drug market -- and this is never going to be destroyed by police action.

The money we spend trying to stop urban violence through police action is a waste of resources. For every step taken forward in this battle we take two back.

The real answer for stopping this type of urban crime requires a trip back in history.

Just after World War I, a strong religious movement swept the country. This led to Congress passing, and the states ratifying, the 18th Amendment, which outlawed the manufacturing, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Thirteen years later it was repealed.

It was a total failure because the gangster element realized that the people who wanted to drink were going to continue, and a staggering sum of money could be made if they supplied their needs. Violence erupted when other gangsters moved in with the same idea.

Morality and personal habits cannot be legislated. A market can't be destroyed by legal action as long as enough people are willing to support it, and the financial rewards are great enough for the criminal element to supply its needs.

The criminal drug element can't be stopped by police action.

It seems to me we only have two choices: become realistic and supply the drug users through government-owned stores as a lot of states have done with liquor, which will eliminate the criminals and violence; or continue with idealism and build more penitentiaries, which we can't afford and history shows didn't work in Prohibition.

The profits made in the government-owned stores would be used only to educate and discourage potential drug users and treat the addicts.

The desire to use drugs can't be stopped by passing laws or more police action. Campaigns to stop the sources in Mexico and South America are not only failures but keep their people in a state of poverty because drug money has corrupted their governments.

Most of the money given to these foreign governments by our country has done nothing but enrich the politicians in Mexico and South America.

Idealism on fighting drugs is like utopia. It is very desirable but totally unobtainable.

Don Parcell is retired and lives in Cleves.

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