#327 John Walters Does The Drug Czar Dance

Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006
Subject: #327 John Walters Does The Drug Czar Dance


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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #327 – Friday, 17 March 2006

Federal Drug Czar John Walters mustered together one of his
semi-annual OPED efforts at a national level with Thursday’s
publication in The Wall Street Journal. His ire was obviously
stimulated by a Feb 22 WSJ opinion piece penned by Deputy Editor for
International Affairs George Melloan which contained a lengthy list of
provocative criticisms of the modern day Prohibition – the War on


Additionally, the WSJ ran three strong Letters to the Editor on Mar 2
endorsing Melloan’s observations, penned by a regular citizen and also
two retired police officers with long experience fighting the futile
and ineffectual drug war.




In a one-man rebuttal to all of the above smart messages, Walters
scoffs at a “regulated” system of drug distribution, citing problems
related to the accepted system of production and distribution used for
pharmaceutical drugs. And of course he lumps all illicit drugs under
one descriptive umbrella – “…inherently dangerous, corrupting and
incompatible with health and freedom”, again implying that “legal”
drugs are by their nature non-dangerous, non-corrupting and compatible
with health and freedom.

He ignores that our most commonly abused drugs – alcohol, tobacco and
narcotic pharmaceuticals – are not left to street dealers, but are
instead licensed and regulated.

And finally he trumpets supposed recent successes in Afghanistan and
Colombia as evidence that the drug war is working. This despite other
released reports from his own Office of National Drug Control Policy
just the past month which show that illegal drug trafficking remains
at consistent and constant levels both domestically and

In short, Mr. Walters is doing the Drug Czar Dance we’ve come to
expect from the ONDCP. Tell us how great it’s all going, while any
American citizen can look around their community and see that illicit
drugs are readily available and that all of the production and
distribution is left in control of unregulated, unlicensed drug
dealers and too often – criminal gangs.

Please consider writing a succinct Letter to the Editor (200 words or
less is best) and sending it to the Wall Street Journal this weekend.

Thanks for your effort and support.

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


Contact: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com


US: OPED: Utopia Of Legalized Drugs Is A Delusion

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06.n321.a05.html

Pubdate: Thu, 16 Mar 2006
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Contact: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com
Website: http://www.wsj.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/487
Author: John Walters
Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n229/a09.html?302493
Note: John Walters Director White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy Washington
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/walters.htm (Walters, John)


George Melloan, in his Feb. 21 Global View “Musings About the War on
Drugs” and some of the March 7 Letters in response ( “Our Unwinnable
War — Against Drugs,” March 7 ) propose new thinking about whether
drugs should be legalized, but in the end offer a rehash from
libertarians of yesteryear. Arguments that drug prohibition has
failed depend upon two points. The first accepts that drug use
damages the social fabric, but insists that more damage follows from
the prohibition itself. The second argues that drug prohibition
doesn’t even have the virtue of achieving its goal. After all, some
people still use drugs, traffickers still make profits and fighting
back against drugs means that there is, well, a fight, producing
violence. Hence, our policy should accommodate the fact of drug use.

Against the argument for accommodation, I make three points: 1 )
First, there is no realistic alternative to the fight. Illegal drugs
are inherently dangerous, corrupting and incompatible with health and
freedom. The utopian world of regulated, inexpensive, readily
available ( but somehow scarcely used ) methamphetamine, heroin,
cocaine and marijuana is a cruel delusion. Consider that Americans
already suffer from the abuse of prescription narcotic medicines,
which are highly regulated, yet are the second-leading drug problem in
the country.

Second, fighting back against illegal drugs has staved off a worse
circumstance, with many more drug users, and more ensuing damage to
the social fabric. Were the laws abandoned, drug trafficking and use
would be less risky, making drugs cheaper and more available. The
result would be an increase in demand for addictive substances that
trap their users. The number seeking help for their disease of
addiction would diminish, and the bright line of deterrence for an
emerging generation would fade.

Third, drug prohibition is not futile, but has been demonstrably
effective across a spectrum of drug threats. We have adopted a
balanced strategy that emphasizes prevention and treatment, and backed
up that strategy with dollars and effective programs. But equally
essential have been our efforts to reduce the supply of illegal drugs.
The consequence of those efforts is a largely untold story of dramatic

Current drug use by young Americans has dropped by 19% since 2001.
That means 700,000 fewer youth being poisoned and potentially lost to
addiction. Effective policies have made a difference, as have the
laws against drug use.

The fight against illegal drugs represents an international
undertaking, bound by treaties and shared commitments. While it is
dismaying to know that more than 4,000 metric tons of opium ( an
estimated 87% of world supply ) was produced in war-ridden Afghanistan
last year, few critics acknowledge that world opium production once
stood at 30,000 metric tons. Today, the countries of the Golden
Triangle are virtually opium-free, while opium cultivation in Colombia
has plummeted 67% since 2001.

Coca cultivation, limited to three nations in the Andes, has fallen
more than 30% in the past five years. As a result, Colombia has been
revived as a land of improving human rights, the rule of law and
prosperity. That is, a nation nearly broken by narco-terrorists now
has a positive future, because it would not give in to
narco-corruption and violence.

Moreover, the impact of these efforts on the streets of America is
encouraging. In 2004, we saw a 22% drop in the retail-level purity of
South American heroin, and evidence of a 15% decline in cocaine purity
for the first three quarters of 2005, along with corresponding
increases in their respective prices.

Pubdate: Thu, 16 Mar 2006
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Contact: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com
Website: http://www.wsj.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/487
Author: John Walters
Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n229/a09.html
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/walters.htm (Walters, John)
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06.n321.a05.html


Additional suggestions for writing LTEs are at our Media Activism


Or contact MAP Media Activism Facilitator Steve Heath for personal
tips on how to write LTEs that get printed.




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Prepared by: Stephen Heath, MAP Media Activism Facilitator =.