Silent Generation Speaks, Listen Up!
WAR ON DRUGS
In 1971, President Nixon declared War on Drugs authorizing use of government initiatives to prohibit the introduction of drugs, e.g. marijuana and cocaine, into the United States, including assistance with foreign military intervention. In 2010 the program cost over 15 billion dollars. Hundreds of millions go to Colombia each year to combat drug traffickers such as FARC. In 2008 the Merida Initiative with Mexico poured 1.4 billion into Mexico over 3 years, to combat drug trafficking, where drug related killings and violence occur almost daily.
CONGRESS HAS FAILED US FOR 40 YEARS
Earlier this year the Global Commission on Drug Policy said the global war on drugs has failed. 50 years after the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was held, arrests and incarcerations of drug offenders are staggering. In 1986 the RAND Corporation said the “use of the armed forces . . . would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic”. In 2008, 1.5 million drug arrests were made, of which 500,000 were imprisoned. A poll of Americans showed 3 of 4 say the War on Drugs has failed. It has, in fact, produced more crime, caused dangers to invade residential communities, and overtaxed our courts and prison systems. Yet Congress sits on its hands and does nothing.
The Netherlands approach to the problem has caused “junkies” to disappear from the sidewalks, through heroin-assisted treatment. Addicts are able to go to work every day and lead productive lives, harm to users has been reduced through controlled usage, and drug related crimes have diminished significantly. The model has been so successful, that several European governments are looking to use The Netherlands model in their countries.
During alcohol prohibition from 1920 to 1933, the use of alcohol did not diminish. Bootlegged booze from Canada was big business. Alcohol is, of course, a drug, and Americans weren’t about to give it up. It didn’t take but 13 years for Congress to realize the mistake and passed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution on December 5, 1933. Laws have since been put in place to “control” the abuse of alcohol, and provide treatment for those who become addicted and/or ill from such abuse.
Today we are faced with a serious budget deficit which cannot be resolved in one fell swoop, but rather a number of initiatives which will take years to bear fruit. In 2008 a study showed legalizing drugs would inject 76.8 billion dollars a year into our economy. YES, EVERY YEAR. 44.1 billion would come from savings in law enforcement, and 32.7 billion in tax revenue. There is no down side to such a move. Mexican President Calderon even suggested legalizing narcotics would reduce crime. We know it would make life safer in the streets of the United States, Mexico and other Central and South American countries. We should “look to the past to better see the future”. Control of drug use can be handled the same as we do alcohol. Example: whether you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, or marijuana or cocaine makes no difference, it is illegal to drive under the influence.
Congress should get off their duff, legalize the use of marijuana and cocaine and institute a control program similar to that of The Netherlands. Now if the Republicans and Democrats in Congress can find a way to disagree on this budget reduction initiative, they are dumber than they appear to be now with their head in the sand partisan politics.