#200 It’s Time To Seriously Reexamine The Drug War

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001
Subject: #200 It’s Time To Seriously Reexamine The Drug War

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #220 August 29, 2001


NOTE: This important article was reprinted in more than _29 NEWSPAPERS
WORLDWIDE_ Please send your letter to as many of them as possible.

For the second time in three days, the Washington Post provided us
with a tremendous viewpoint on the serious need for Americans to take
a new look at current Drug War policies. Following Aug 24’s editorial
by the Post editorial board (which resulted in our last Focus Alert
#219) criticizing the priorities of federal drug law enforcement, we
were treated to an outstanding essay from Post columnist David
Broder–A DEBATABLE WAR ON DRUGS–in the Sunday Aug 26 edition.

Additionally, with Broder’s popularity as a syndicated writer we have
to date located 29 newspapers that carried this great column.

We invite you to send a letter to the newspaper target closest to your
hometown, as well as any others you are inclined to address.

Thank the newspaper for including this topic in their viewpoint page
and also reinforce one or two points that you found yourself most in
agreement with.

If you choose to address more than one paper, please make at least a
few minor modifications to each submission. Most newspapers would
prefer that your letter to them be an exclusive. Most important
however, is the paper closest to YOU. This could very well be one of
our most successful campaigns ever, so let’s do it right and let’s do
it NOW!

A SAMPLE letter follows below as an idea for you, and the 29 outlets
which have carried the column to date is below the sample.

Thanks for your effort and support.


It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do


Phone, Fax etc.)

Please post a copy your letter or report your action to the Sent LTE
list if you are subscribed, or by E-mailing a copy directly to
MGreer@mapinc.org Your letter will then be forwarded to the list with
so others can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit

This is VERY IMPORTANT as it is one of the only ways we have of
gauging our impact and effectiveness.


URL http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1564/a02.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company
Contact: letters@washpost.com
Author: David S. Broder
Bookmark: http//www.mapinc.org/find?194 (Hutchinson, Asa)


The high esteem in which former representative Asa Hutchinson of
Arkansas is held by his colleagues was demonstrated by the 98 to 1
Senate vote confirming him last month as the new director of the Drug
Enforcement Administration. Even more telling was the fact that Rep.
John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee and an ardent opponent of the impeachment of President
Clinton, appeared at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to praise
Hutchinson, who had been one of the Republican House managers
presenting the case against Clinton to the full Senate.

In his 4 1/2 years in the House, Hutchinson, a former U.S. attorney,
earned an estimable reputation as a thoughtful conservative and, as
such liberals as Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
Patrick Leahy of Vermont affirmed, as a fair-minded advocate.

Hutchinson will need all his skills in his new job, for the nation is
clearly about to embark on a long-overdue debate on the so-called “war
on drugs.” The DEA is, as the name implies, primarily a
law-enforcement agency, but John Walters, Bush’s choice to head the
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has been in limbo,
awaiting a confirmation hearing since May. Many of the same Democrats
who welcomed Hutchinson’s nomination have argued that Walters’s
hard-line approach, emphasizing interdiction and incarceration over
education and treatment, makes him the wrong choice for “drug czar.”
At least until Walters’s fate is resolved, Hutchinson is in the hot
seat on Bush administration policy toward drugs.

During the past three decades, the United States has invested billions
in fighting the scourge of drugs, and more and more serious people are
questioning its effectiveness. The critics range from conservatives
such as Bill Buckley and New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to an array of
liberals, and they are having an impact on public opinion. While few
agree with the editors of the influential British newspaper the
Economist, which last month laid out at length “the case for
legalizing drugs,” many more are expressing their doubts about current

A Pew Research Center survey last February found that three out of
four Americans believe “we are losing the drug war,” and by a margin
of 52 percent to 35 percent they said drug use “should be treated as a
disease, not a crime.”

In a recent issue of the American Prospect magazine, California
journalist Peter Schrag pointed to the growing trend in the states,
where initiatives allowing medical use of marijuana or mandating
treatment rather than jail for drug-users have been winning large
public majorities.

Hutchinson was dodgy in his confirmation hearing on the question of
sending federal agents out to arrest doctors who prescribe marijuana
as a pain- and nausea-relieving agent for cancer patients and other
seriously ill people, as eight states now allow. The Supreme Court
held earlier this year that the feds have that authority. When
Hutchinson was asked if he would use it, he said it was something on
which he needed to confer with the attorney general, adding that it
was important “that we do not send the wrong signal . . . that
marijuana use is an acceptable practice.”

But Hutchinson also applauded a bipartisan bill, crafted by Leahy and
the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of
Utah, to expand funding of drug treatment programs, especially for
prisoners and youths, and to increase the number of drug courts, where
judges can order nonviolent drug offenders to undergo treatment and
continuing tests, rather than put them in jail.

Hutchinson took over his DEA duties last week at the same time the
Department of Justice bragged that more people than ever are in
federal prison on drug charges and are serving longer sentences. That
report showed there were more suspects arrested in 1999 on charges
involving marijuana than for powder or crack cocaine. A higher portion
of the marijuana suspects who wound up in federal prison were simply
users than was the case with any of the hard drugs.

That raises obvious questions about the priorities of federal drug
enforcement agents and prosecutors. No one seems to know how many
people are in state prisons for simple possession of marijuana. But in
1998, those prisons held 236,800 people convicted on drug charges —
57 percent more than had been there in 1990.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia
University estimated in 1998 that 70 percent to 85 percent of all
state prison inmates – — not just those convicted on drug charges —
need treatment, but only 13 percent of them get it.

The whole “war on drugs” cries out for reexamination.


To the Editor

Re: David Broder’s recent column

New DEA chief Asa Hutchinson, national drug czar nominee John Walters
and U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft insist that strong criminal
sanctions are necessary to deal with America’s very real problems of
drug abuse. However, after two decades of this approach, we see
illegal drug use by minors remains steady, prices of illegal drugs are
lower and availability is at an all time high.

Meanwhile, as columnist Broder aptly notes, only 13% of those who
truly need substance abuse treatment are able to get it, and most of
them must first acquire a criminal record before receiving it.

The current prohibition of certain drugs is not providing positive
results, other than increased employment of drug police, prison
guards, probation officers and other drug ‘warriors’. In many
jurisdictions, criminal drug cases account for a third or more of
criminal justice dockets, reducing the overall effectiveness of the
court system in general. And nationwide we see valuable tax dollars
going into prison construction that should instead be used to improve
education for both children and adults. People who are better educated
are far less likely to become drug abusers.

It is indeed time to make strong, demonstrable changes in national
drug law policies. Thanks for the inclusion of David Broder’s column
in your newspaper.

Best regards, Stephen Heath

IMPORTANT Always include your address and telephone

Please note If you choose to use this letter as a model please modify it
at least somewhat so that the paper does not receive numerous copies of the
same letter and so that the original author receives credit for his/her work.

Below is the key information you need to write to as many of the 29
newspapers we have identified as having printed the column as you wish.

Please note that it is best to send your letters one at a time to each
newspaper as newspapers will not use letters that they know are also
sent to others.

Pubdate: Sat, 25 Aug 2001
Source: Record, The (CA)
Contact: editor@recordnet.com
Headline: ‘War On Drugs’ Cries Out For National Re-Examination
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1579/a06.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Headline: Drug Warriors Face Uphill Fight
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1583/a01.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Daily Camera (CO)
Contact: openforum@thedailycamera.com
Headline: DEA Chief Must Review The Drug War
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1565/a10.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Contact: letters@washpost.com
Headline: A Debatable War On Drugs
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1564/a02.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Contact: editor.letters@herald-trib.com
Headline: Mission For DEA’s New Director
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1582/a04.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Contact: letters@sptimes.com
Headline: Our War On Drugs Needs A Closer Look
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1573/a04.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Quad-City Times (IA)
Contact: opinions@qctimes.com
Headline: New DEA Boss Has Formidable Challenge
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1578/a10.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Herald-Times, The (IN)
Contact: letters@heraldt.com
Headline: ‘War On Drugs’ Cries Out For Careful Re-Examination
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1580/a03.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Indianapolis Star (IN)
Contact: stareditor@starnews.com
Headline: A Long-Overdue Debate About The ‘War On Drugs’
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1585/a09.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Evansville Courier & Press (IN)
Contact: letters@evansville.net
Headline: Rethinking Drug War
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1583/a06.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Contact: letters@cjonline.com
Headline: Have We Met The Enemy In The War On Drugs? Is It US?
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1582/a09.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Wichita Eagle (KS)
Contact: weedit@wichitaeagle.com
Headline: War On Drugs Cries Out For Re-Examination
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1568/a05.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Lawrence Journal-World (KS)
Contact: agardner@ljworld.com
Headline: War On Drugs Needs New Strategy
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1564/a03.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch (MN)
Contact: bdforum@brainerddispatch.com
Headline: Are We Losing The Drug War?
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1589/a09.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Contact: letters@post-dispatch.com
Headline: One Toke Over The Line And Your On The Way To Jail
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1574/a02.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: News & Observer (NC)
Contact: forum@nando.com
Headline: For DEA’s Leader, Food For Thought In Crammed Prisons
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1575/a06.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Contact: gazette@dailygazette.com
Headline: Time To Reevaluate War On Drugs
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1572/a10.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Contact: letters@dispatch.com
Headline: U.S. Drug War Priorities In Need Of Re-Evaluation
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1590/a07.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Contact: yourviews@oklahoman.com
Headline: New Debate On ‘War On Drugs’
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1590/a08.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Oregonian, The (OR)
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Headline: Hutchinson’s First Task Should Be To Re-Examine The ‘War On Drugs’
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1590/a06.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Contact: rgletters@guardnet.com
Headline: The Debate Over The War On Drugs Is Long Overdue
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1584/a03.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: State, The (SC)
Contact: stateeditor@thestate.com
Headline: U.S. War On Drugs About To Be Re-Examined
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1566/a02.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Sun News (SC)
Contact: opinions@thesunnews.com
Headline: War On Drugs Is In Need Of New Strategy
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1568/a06.html

Pubdate: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
Source: Oak Ridger (TN)
Contact: lettersor@oakridger.com
Headline: A Needed Debate ON U.S. Drug Policy
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1583/a04.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Contact: letters@star-telegram.com
Headline: Hutchinson Is Handed A Hot Potato Known As The Drug War
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1569/a04.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Contact: opinion@seattletimes.com
Headline: A Long-Overdue Debate ON The ‘War On Drugs’
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1567/a08.html

Pubdate: Sun, 26 Aug 2001
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Contact: editors@columbian.com
Headline: Americans Are Ready To Take Second Look At War On Drugs
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1583/a11.html

Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2001
Source: International Herald-Tribune (Europe)
Contact: letters@iht.com
Headline: None Too Soon To Review America’s ‘War On Drugs’
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1585/a05.html

Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2001
Source: Korea Herald (South Korea)
Contact: jiji@koreaherald.co.kr
Headline: A Debatable War On Drugs
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1580/a04.html


ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing



Prepared by Stephen Heath – http//www.drugsense.org/dpffl/ Focus Alert