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July 19, 2009 -- The Telegraph (NH)

An Open Letter To Congress: Come To Your Senses And End This Insane Drug War

By Carmen Yarrusso of Brookline

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Dear honorable representatives of the American people:

The so-called "drug war" is a blatantly dishonest, extremely expensive, highly destructive, grossly unjust, abject failure of our government.

Despite 30 years and more than a trillion dollars of taxpayer money spent trying to stop -- not robbery, not rape, not murder, not even shoplifting -- but trying to stop adults from using certain arbitrarily banned drugs, despite draconian punishments, despite currently jailing 500,000 nonviolent American citizens, despite tens of thousands of prohibition-related murders, these drugs are cheaper, purer and more readily available than ever.

Why do you allow this insanity to continue?

How many more taxpayer billions must we waste, how many more thousands of productive Americans must we lock up, how many more thousands of human beings must die in drug-war violence before you honorable representatives of the American people put an end to this foolish, futile carnage?

When will you find the courage to openly admit that drug prohibition -- just like alcohol prohibition -- is guaranteed to be counterproductive, guaranteed to be extremely violent, guaranteed to be perpetually futile, and guaranteed to leave a wide swath of human suffering and death in its wake?

When will you find the courage to tell the truth about drug prohibition?

Prohibition Truth No. 1

The "drug war" is not a war against drugs -- quite the contrary -- it's a war for drugs. It strongly encourages both production and distribution of prohibited drugs by guaranteeing extremely high profits for everyone involved.

Does it make any sense to believe a government policy that guarantees massive profits for any activity could possibly result in less of that activity?

Let's be very clear: The "drug" war is a war against living, breathing human beings, not drugs. Drugs are merely the dishonest excuse for an extremely profitable, ruthless enterprise, the victims of which are real people.

The thousands of murders in Mexico each year -- and thousands more in this country -- are the direct result of drug prohibition itself. When alcohol was prohibited, the murder rate in America skyrocketed; when Prohibition ended, the murder rate rapidly declined. When's the last time you heard of a murder during an alcohol deal gone bad?

Prohibition Truth No. 2

This patently wasteful and highly destructive war against human beings continues unabated because the various special interests that profit greatly from prohibition have sufficient control over you, the honorable representatives of the American people.

These special interests are well aware they would lose billions in profits if you were to find the courage to end prohibition, again.

If prohibition were to end again, the illegal drug industry (cartels, dealers) would lose billions. Industries spawned by prohibition (drug testing, incarceration) would also lose big money.

But the most significant special-interest group that would lose billions if prohibition ended again, the special-interest group with by far the most political power, is our own government.

Prohibition has become an extremely lucrative, institutionalized part of our government. At least 50 government agencies profit greatly from this war against real human beings. Millions more taxpayer dollars are spent on patently deceitful propaganda to keep fooling Americans about prohibition and to keep taxpayer billions flowing to these agencies.

These government agencies are quite literally addicted to drug money. They're hooked on the taxpayer billions they waste each year as they pretend to fight an enemy created and sustained by prohibition itself.


Supporting a government policy guaranteed to both fail and cause vast human suffering is egregiously immoral. Prohibition is a deep, self-inflicted wound on humanity. Arbitrarily punishing users of certain politically incorrect drugs is just plain cruel. Severely punishing those who produce and deliver illegal drugs is like dangling meat in front of starving dogs and then beating them unmercifully when they disobey your command and lunge for the meat.

Yes, if prohibition ended again, many businesses would fail. Many government agencies would lose billions. Tens of thousands of decent Americans would lose their government jobs. But that's no reason to continue this insane war against our fellow human beings for even one more day.

The best interests of the American people would be better served by treating drug users who need help instead of spending billions arresting and jailing them. Treatment could be totally financed by taxing and regulating these drugs.

We, the undersigned, demand that you uphold your moral duty to represent the best interests of the American people. We hereby demand you honorable ladies and gentlemen use the power we have entrusted in you to peacefully end the blatantly dishonest, extremely expensive, highly destructive, futile-by-design government tyranny know as the "drug war."

Humanity has suffered long enough.

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