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February 1, 2005 - The Free Press (Houston, TX)

Drug War, A Disgrace

By Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

I work daily to expose the mechanisms of fraud, institutionalized for ninety years that demonize and penalize our fellow man for making a nebulous choice of intoxicant. Those who possess minor amounts of certain commodities, not manufactured by the fortune 500 may be subjected to penalties more severe than for skyjacking, terrorism and manslaughter, combined. This is not the face of justice.

90 years ago our leaders told us to circle the wagons, "barbarians are ambushing our children!" (With drugs.) Dutifully we created a civilization cloaked in fear, awaiting the dread onslaught.

The death, disease and destruction, created within this loop of "security" have been ignored because we've been told that to change our focus might allow our barriers to be broached.

Those who thus claim to protect us by way of eternal drug prohibition, are in fact, if not with intent, party to the "attack" on our society and whether through ignorance or collusion, in league with the drug traffickers.

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Laureate, as a guest on Cultural Baggage, my radio program, summarized his stance on the drug war in a few words: "My main objection to the drug war is on moral grounds. I think it's a disgrace and a scandal."

Mr. Friedman, a genius, a world renown and highly respected economist is one of the few people now living who was born before the drug war began, who has seen the complete unfolding of this fiasco of prohibition.

December 17th, 2004 marked 90 years of drug war, 90 years since the signing of the Harrison Narcotics Act. A trillion US tax dollars have been lost in the tsunami of drug prohibition. Tens of trillions have been handed over to drug sellers worldwide.

What else have we wrought? Tens of millions of our fellow citizens arrested, they and their families rejected, thwarted from progress by government mandate, their future progress made dependent on perfection.

The evidence of the sham of drug war is all around us. The whole of the drug war is a farce, the modern equivalent of a witch-hunt. There is no justice to this drug war, with no scientific fact, logic or moral clarity involved. To ignore the data and to continue this charade of drug prohibition is foolish and un-American.

Take heart, major change is taking place. The people of Seattle, Washington, (approximately the size of Houston, with a metropolitan population of 3,554,760), through their King County Bar Association, (KCBA) are making great progress towards ending the harms of drug prohibition. In late January, KCBA issued a report to their state government, seeking ways for "the state to effectively regulate and control psychoactive substances that are currently produced and distributed exclusively in illegal markets."

Joining the Bar Association is a coalition of professional and civic groups including, the Washington State Public Health Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility of Washington, League of Women Voters of Seattle, (African-American) Bar Association, Washington State Psychological Association, Washington Academy of Family Physicians, Washington State Pharmacy Association and even the Washington Society of Addiction Medicine.

The "stuffed shirts" of the KCBA have concluded that "current drug control policies are fundamentally flawed and that the unrelenting demand for prohibited psychoactive substances has fostered and strengthened highly profitable illegal markets and that the operation of such illegal markets is a proximate cause of devastating societal impacts."

The KCBA concluded that "the establishment of a framework of state-level regulatory control over psychoactive substances, to render the illegal markets for such substances unprofitable, to restrict access to psychoactive substances by young persons and to provide prompt health care and essential services to persons suffering from chemical dependency and addiction, will better serve the objectives of reducing crime, improving public order, enhancing public health, protecting children and wisely using scarce public resources, than current drug policies."

For Milton Friedman's sake, for our children's sake, let us dare to be brave. Let us end the 90-year scandal, the drug war disgrace.

Dean Becker is creator of the Drug Truth Network, a broadcast syndicate with 23 affiliate stations in the US and Canada. Daily feeds of the 3 minute, "4:20 Drug War News" and the weekly, half hour program "Cultural Baggage" are available at Guests include congressmen, judges, scientists, doctors, lawyers, wardens, cops, authors and many others.

King County Bar Association on the web at:

In Houston, listen to the "Unvarnished Truth about the Drug War" on KPFT 90.1 FM. Contact Dean Becker:

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