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April 24, 2005 - The Oklahoman (OK)

'Bad Trip' Describes View Of Nation's War On Drugs

Current Events

By Mike W. Ray

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

America's "war on drugs" is futile and socially corrosive, undermines the Constitution and chips away at individual liberty, says conservative writer and editor Joel Miller in "Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America" (WND Books, $24.99).

"By its intervention in the drug market, the State sets in motion an economic and political domino-collapse that exacerbates crime and corruption, gnaws away at privacy and property rights" and "endangers people's well-being," Miller says.

He disputes allegations that narcotics use spawns lawbreaking, asking, "If drugs cause crime, then how can millions of Americans who use drugs without committing crimes be explained?"

Most of the drug crime that fosters anxiety in society is "a direct result not of the pharmacological effects of dope, but of the distortion of drug markets by laws," the author says.

The illegality of narcotics inflates their prices, prompting drug users to "turn to crime to generate the necessary greenbacks" to buy the product, Miller says.

Crackdowns on drug users and peddlers "mean more shortages," which generate higher prices, triggering more property crimes.

Prohibition "creates crime and violence ... corrupts the very public servants we trust to protect our lives and property ... wreaks havoc on the Constitution ... provides government the right to rob people of their property, militarizes the police, and expands the size and scope of the state to frightening proportions," he writes.

The "war on drugs" adversely affects homeland security, too, because insurgents "finance their illegal activities with the drug trade."

The author prefers "cultural controls and social sanctions" to statutory bans on drugs. As for the odds that drugs will be legalized anytime soon, "privatizing Social Security seems a picnic by comparison," he concedes.

At the very least, he suggests, the drug war should be de-federalized and left to the states.

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