Drug Sanity

chuam

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A different commander-in-chief will soon assume leadership of the War on Drugs. Let's hope that a new leader will implement a new strategy, because for nearly a century now-- following the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914--America's War on Drugs has been seen primarily as a criminal justice problem. And for nearly a century, we've seen this approach to fighting drugs fail and fail and then fail again. Almost nobody's pleased with the results. So my question is: Why haven't we been able to change course? And why haven't we been able to convince policymakers and the public to deal with one of our great domestic blights the way it should be dealt with: primarily as a public health issue?

It has been twenty years since I, as Mayor of Baltimore, joined in efforts led by others to reform America's national drug control policy. Prior to my election, I had served as a loyal foot solider in the drug war as a prosecuting attorney. From that vantage point, I viewed the drug problem one-dimensionally, as a crime problem. Drug dealers and users were to be arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, and their material gains were to be seized. The assumption was (and remains) that in time this would decrease the problem and rid our cities of the scourge of substance abuse. Throughout the country, major arrests and drug seizures were announced with great fanfare. Cars, planes, boats, and houses were confiscated. Arrest and incarceration statistics soared. The public perception was that we were winning the War on Drugs.

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easymoney

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Just like the war on poverty, the past several decades of wasted money and energy is proof, that only more big government is winning in this conflict.
 


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