Posted by: Mothers Against Teen Violence | April 22, 2008

Rethinking Our Drug Laws

By Joy Strickland, CEO

Mothers Against Teen Violence

 

As a violence preveniton advocate, I believe that every child deserves a safe and supportive home, school and community. My organization is one among many across America doing all that we can with limited resources, to prevent violence in our communities.  Prevention strategies such as mentoring and conflict resolution are effective and necessary, but they are only part of the solution. Personal responsibility must be balanced and supported by a rational and effective national drug policy.

     Enacted during the Nixon administration nearly forty years ago, the so-called War on Drugs was designed to reduce supply and diminish demand for certain illegal drugs deemed harmful or undesirable by the United States government. While the motivation may be laudable, the drug war has never worked as intended and it can be argued that it has had unintended consequences, undermining the health and safety of our citizens, especially our children.

     Federal spending on the drug war totalled $1.65 billion in 1982. According to the U.S. government, the combined cost of drug war execution plus adjudication and incarceration totaled $57.5 billion in 2005. Since the drug war began, we have not only seen an increase in supply and demand for illegal drugs, but we have also witnessed an increase in related crime and incarceration rates. And innocent victims—law abiding citizens—have been the collatoral damage of turf wars waged by rival gangs in many urban communities.

     In 1973, there were 328,670 arrests logged in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for drug law violations. In 2006, that number rose to 1,889,810 of which 82.5% (1,559,093) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 17.5% (330,717) were for the sale or manufacture of a drug, 43.9 per cent were for marijuana, and 39% were for marijuana possession alone, shattering the myth that the drug war primarily targets drug smugglers and king pins. We cannot separate the rise of the prison industrial complex from our outdated an irrational drug laws.

     In 2005 the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that nationwide, over 800,000 adolescents ages 12–17 sold illegal drugs during the 12 months preceding the survey. In a survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 25.4% of students had been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug by someone on school property.

     Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses,  in 2005 the Monitoring the Future Survey reported that about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain.” That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.

     By some estimates as many as 250,000 people die every year from the proper use of prescription drugs. I am not aware of one signle death directly caused by marijuana. Furthermore, we pay $25,000 per year to send a drug user to prison where he will likely have access to the same drugs for which he as been incarcerated.

     If we can’t keep drugs out of prisons, it is irrational to expect that we can keep them off our streets. It is equally irrational to lock up an individual because of what he chooses to put in his own body.

     Drug addiction is not a moral issue. It is a medical problem requiring medical intervention. But if news reports are any indication, it is easy to believe that the rich and famous go to rehab for illegal drug use while the poor go to jail. This disparity is the real moral issue, serving to undermine respect for our laws.

     Judge James P. Gray asserts in his book How Our Drug Laws Have Failed, that in order for the war on drugs to be successful, the law of supply and demand would have to be repealed. People who want controlled substances will find a way to get them. And as long as there is sufficient demand, someone will find a way to meet the demand. The drug war keeps the prices for the targeted substances artificially high; assuring that drug trafficking remains an incredibly profitable venture. Due to the fantastic sums of money flowing from the illegal drug trade, elected officials, police officers and prison guards (to name a few) have been known to fall prey to drug abuse and trafficking.

     I have never used illegal drugs, nor do I advocate their use. But I believe the time has come to change these laws and policies because the evidence supports the fact that our drug laws have failed us. These laws have not reduced demand and cannot reduce supply enough to make a dent in drug trafficking. The substances targeted by the drug war need to be decriminalized and controlled. We need to spend our resources on prevention, education, and treatment—strategies that actually work.

     Parents are right to be concerned about the message decriminalization would send to our children. I would say that a multimedia campaign, unprecedented in scope and based on fact, not fiction, would be a necessary component of legalization. But what message are we sending by continuing the status quo? Decriminalizing and controlling illegal drugs would send a very strong and positive message to our children: We don’t want our children faced with the same powerful temptations that many adults in authority have been powerless to resist. Instead, we want to remove the incredible financial incentives to sell these drugs to our children or recruit them into drug trafficking. We don’t want our children to die as innocent victims of gang violence. We want all nonviolent drug abusers, regardless of class or race, to have equal access to rehabilitation programs. And finally, we don’t want our tax dollars spent enforcing ineffectual  policies that undermine our faith in our nation’s laws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Great job on an important topic!

  2. >decriminalized and controlled.

    Decriminalization and control is an attractive idea. The key, I believe, is *how* such drugs should be controlled. What do you propose?

    Many thanks!

    John Muller 🙂

  3. The question of control and distribution is a complex one, which time does not permit me to answer fully here. Briefly, prevention, treatment, and control are the three key areas that decriminalization would need to address. Control could be similar to the way the states control the sale and distribution of alcohol today. Pricing would be high enough to support prevention efforts but low enough to make illegal trafficking unprofitable. Packaging should be generic with strong warning labels, and no advertising should be permitted. Sales to minors would remain illegal just as sales of cigarettes and alcohol are illegal today. Also, any crime committed under the influence of drugs would be punished swiftly. For an excellent discussion all issues related to legalization, may I suggest Ending the War on Drugs by Dirk Chase Eldredge. And there are many other excellent titles out there if you’re interested in educating yourself.

  4. You have no concept of the effects of drugs on the human body (both physically and mentally). Why don’t you use drugs? Do drugs allow someone to improve themselves, further their education or stimulte them to help others?
    K. Inzer

  5. I’m not sure how you know what I know. I don’t use illegal drugs for the same reason I don’t use tobacco, prescription drugs or abuse alcohol: I value my health. Why not lock people up for using alcohol and tobacco? These are certainly dangerous and addictive substances. No thinking person would suggest that drugs help anyone improve themselves or further their education. Supporting legalization is not the same as advocating drug use. But to what extent should government intervene if one should chose to use drugs? Should taxpayers pay $25,000 a year to incarcerate an illegal drug user? Should addicted persons be sent to prison? Or would it be more reasonable (and cost effective) to launch a public information campaign against drug use based on fact (not fiction) and, in cases of addiction, provide the medical intervention that is so desperately needed? IT CANNOT BE THAT THE CURE IMPOSED BY OUR GOVERNMENT IS MORE HARMFUL THAN THE AILMENT.

  6. Good piece. Your observations are repeated often with statistics, etc. But what in the world will it take for the politicians to see the light????
    T.Willis

  7. Never doubt that a few committed people can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead. Politicians will see the light when their constituents – you and I – refuse to accept the status quo and make them see the light.

  8. Hello,

    Today I had the privilege of reading Joy Strickland’s excellent Op-Ed on the drug war. I wanted to inform your organization about the Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform, dedicated to reinstating financial aid for students with drug convictions. I feel from what I read that you can clearly see the links between denying access to education and substance abuse. We would love to have Mothers Against Teen Violence join the over 500 state, national, and student government organizations that have signed on to the CHEAR in support of a full repeal of the Higher Education Act Aid Elimination Penalty.

    I look forward to hearing back from you,


    Jimi Devine
    Students for Sensible Drug Policy

  9. I recently became aware of the fact that a conviction for drugs – not rape, not child molestation, not arson – but drugs, may render a student unqualified for a student loan. No American concerned with justice should stand for this inequity. We were not aware of your coalition until now. We fully support your efforts.

  10. Dear Joy,

    I read your editorial in today’s paper and found it to be very insightful. It is unfortunate that so many people don’t see the big picture of the billions we waste on this “war on drugs”. It is not much different than prohibition but, for whatever reason, people don’t see it that way. I personally don’t advocate use of these types of drugs, but the reality is that they will be used and where there is a demand, a supplier will meet that demand. We have created a criminal culture surrounding many drugs which, frankly, are less harmful or additive than alcohol, or tobacco. A governmental system that decriminalizes certain of these drugs (e.g., marijuana), controls distribution through legal sources and taxes the sale would save billions in tax dollars and raise even more. This would also cut the legs out from under the criminal enterprises that thrive on selling what is now illegal (as they did with alcohol when it was illegal). In any event, I am glad to see someone taking the time to express a very logical and practical solution in response to a failed govermental program that we can’t seem to admit just doesn’t work. Keep up the good work. S. Lownds

  11. Bravo! I’m sure you’ll get a lot of negative response, but I wanted to make sure you knew that there are others who feel the same way. Thanks!
    D. Reinmuth

  12. Kudos to Joy for her superb editorial in the Dallas Morning News.
    B. Adinoff, M.D. Professor and Distinguished Professor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Research Chief, Division on Addictions Department of Psychiatry UT Southwestern Medical Center

  13. Dear Ms. Strickland,
    I was thrilled to read your article in Friday’s DMN. Until the nation’s Mothers see the nature of the problem as you do, the Drug War will continue to shatter the lives of millions of American children. Your article is the first I’ve seen from a woman and it gives me hope. I’ve included one of my articles on this subject and if you think it can be any use to you or MATV you have my permission to use it. Thanks again for speaking out on such a crucial issue.
    regards,
    Gene Johnson

    Your Children and Prohibition

    In America in the year 2008 it’s perfectly legal to use recreational drugs. There are no laws prohibiting the use of drugs which will get you loaded, drugs which are addictive, or drugs which pose a significant chance of killing you. You can use them on school property. You can use them while you’re at work. You can use them in the company of small children, the elderly or the gravely ill. All this is perfectly legal and always has been. There’s only one catch: you have to use the same drugs we do. We are the people who decide which drugs are socially acceptable. We are the majority. If you use drugs that are different from our drugs we’ll throw your ass in jail. Right now we’re building prisons as fast as we can for just that purpose. Most of the people in prison today are there for buying or selling drugs. We spend billions of dollars every year to enforce this policy.
    You might think that the drugs we use are relatively safe and the drugs of which we disapprove are dangerous. You would be wrong. There is one popular drug which has never been responsible for a single death and that one is at the top of the illegal list. But the drug which kills the most people by far is perfectly legal. Our decisions in this matter have nothing to do with reason and everything to do with passion and prejudice. A brief summary here is in order:
    When the Chinese immigrated to the west coast in large numbers after the Civil War we didn’t like them very much. They didn’t look like us and they had strange customs. So naturally we looked for some excuse to put them in jail. But we couldn’t admit that Americans would incarcerate someone because of racism alone so we had to find something that was peculiar to them and not us and use that as the reason to jail them. Opium! The British Empire had forced opium on the Chinese in the 1840’s and that could be used to justify putting them behind bars. A few years later some Southern legislators convinced themselves that cocaine would send black men into a white-woman-raping frenzy and so cocaine was added to the list. During the Depression there were no jobs beneath the dignity of American workers and we needed leverage against Mexicans who came here looking for work. That made marijuana illegal. Nixon added on hallucinogens as a way to attack the kids who disapproved!
    of his lack of respect for law and order. And the Drug War (not the drugs themselves) has created huge cartels which are terrorizing the entire western hemisphere.
    If you discovered your son or daughter buying or selling drugs would you turn them in to the police? If not, why not? Do you approve of your neighbors kids going to prison? Would you send them to live with violent criminals as a way of scaring your own kids?
    The number of people who die every year as a result of using illegal drugs is about 16,000. That’s enough to fill a basketball arena. The number of people who die from alcohol is a little more than twice that–35,000–and would just about fill a baseball stadium. The number of American servicemen who died in Vietnam–58,000–is significantly less than a normal-sized football stadium will hold. To get an idea of how many people die from tobacco each year, imagine if a Hiroshima-sized nuke were dropped on New York City. Then another one on Chicago. And another one on Houston. And one more on Los Angeles. If you did that you would still kill significantly LESS people than tobacco kills in a single year. So imagine next year four more american cities getting nuked. And four more the year after that. Then imagine that nobody cares. Imagine our government sending tax money to help the people pay for the nukes they’re dropping on our cities. Our only sanctions would b! e to sue them in court. The Bible speaks of someone who can strain at a gnat and swallow a Camel®.
    If our country can patiently endure the deaths of over 400,000 Americans every single year who die from the use of a particularly noxious recreational drug, how can we wage a war on our own children for buying and selling drugs that whatever their destructive capabilities are not nearly as dangerous? If we were to end prohibition a second time we would put the drug cartels out of business. They only traffic in drugs because of the galactic profit margin. Legal drugs have a tiny profit margin because they cost virtually nothing to produce. Al Capone’s greatest fear was the repeal of prohibition. Seventy percent of his income came from bootlegging. Historians agree that more alcohol was consumed during prohibition than either before or after.
    We have proved beyond any doubt that no matter how draconian our enforcement people are going to find ways of becoming intoxicated. Only organized crime benefits from prohibition and it doesn’t achieve it’s primary goal: making drugs unavailable. If you’re not willing to send your own children to prison for buying or selling drugs how can you send the son or daughter of some other parent to jail for doing the same thing? Congress will not end prohibition until you tell them to. Save your sons. Save your daughters. Teach them good judgement by exercising it yourself. Make them aware of the dangers of all drugs. And end this madness. Send a copy of this e-mail to your congressman, your governor, your president:

    I don’t approve of my children doing dangerous drugs. I believe it is my responsibility to teach them to be responsible. But if they make a mistake I don’t want them to go to prison for it. I want the criminal justice system to focus on violent criminals. Let the police do their job and I will do mine. I do not support this failed policy any longer. Please end Prohibition now.

  14. It’s worth remembering that Alcohol Prohibition didn’t end until the mothers of America realized that the 18th Amendment was destroying their children.

    The ideas that motivated them are expressed in these quotes:

    “Inability of the prohibition law to enforce prohibition is causing an increase in the number of young boys and girls who become intoxicated,” declared Judge H. C. Spicer of the juvenile court at Akron, Ohio, a short time ago when two boys, aged 15 and 16 years, respectively, were arraigned before him. “During the past two years,” he added ” there have been more intoxicated children brought into court than ever before.”
    “Statement by Hon. William Cabell Bruce, The National Prohibition Law, Hearings before the Subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Sixty-Ninth Congress, April 5 to 24, 1926”

    Pauline Sabin’s concern over prohibition grew slowly. Initially she favored the Eighteenth Amendment, explaining later, “I felt I should approve of it because it would help my two sons. The word-pictures of the agitators carried me away. I thought a world without liquor would be a beautiful world.””

    Gradually, however, intertwined motherly and political concerns caused her to change her mind. Her first cautious public criticism of prohibition came in 1926 when she defended Wadsworth’s opposition to the law. By 1928 she had become more outspoken. The hypocrisy of politicians who would support resolutions for stricter enforcement and half an hour later be drinking cocktails disturbed her. The ineffectiveness of the law, the apparent decline of temperate drinking, and the growing prestige of bootleggers troubled her even more. Mothers, she explained, had believed that prohibition would eliminate the temptation of drinking from their children’s lives, but found instead that “children are growing up with a total lack of respect for the Constitution and for the law.””

    In later statements, she elaborated further on her objections to prohibition. With settlement workers reporting increasing drunkenness, she worried, “The young see the law broken at home and upon the street. Can we expect them to be lawful?”” Mrs. Sabin complained to the House Judiciary Committee: “In preprohibition days, mothers had little fear in regard to the saloon as far as their children were concerned. A saloon-keeper’s license was revoked if he were caught selling liquor to minors. Today in any speakeasy in the United States you can find boys and girls in their teens drinking liquor, and this situation has become so acute that the mothers of the country feel something must be done to protect their children.””

    ******

    It’s worth mentioning that The United States had the worst outbreak of teen alcoholism during Alcohol Prohibition in the entire history of the nation.

    After mothers began opposing Alcohol Prohibition the policy was effectively DEAD. Within 7 years complete repeal was accomplished.

    One of our missions must be to convince mothers that drug crusade is endangering their children. Once that is done, the drug warriors will have a losing battle on their hands.

    [Ms. Strickland’s article] is a very good start.
    R Givens

  15. Joy Stricklands recent article in the Dallas Morning News is the first commentary I have read in along time that deals with the “war on drugs” in a reasonable manner. I totally support her position on the issue. In addition, one of my major concerns, is the breakdown of the family due to all the people being put in jail/prison for minor possession issues.
    As a results, many children are left without their mothers or fathers or both parents.This, of course, leaves children without their parents to raise them which causes emotional and financial hardships upon the children.
    Thank you again for your reasonable and realistic approach to the problem.
    S. Baugh

  16. Clearly it is a mental health issue, not a legal issue. It is very, very painful that the justice system drains away valuable resources that should be going to help people!

  17. I am not sure where to begin with this e-mail. I just read the story that was written by Joy Strickland regarding the War on Drugs. As someone who spent 15 years of her life strung out on crack cocaine I have to say that I can not disagree more with your opinion. Drugs destroys lives, and not just the user’s life but everyone that is involved with him/her. I am blessed to say that I have been cleaned this August for 13 years and it is a daily choice that I make. But it is only thru the grace of GOD and my relationship with him that I am here today to be able to write you this e-mail. To legalize drugs would be like telling a man/women/child that it’s okay to take the easy road to make his/her money, because there would be no consequences for their action. It would also tell them that you really don’t need to go to school to get a education or get a job since it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to sell drugs.

    I know that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but if you have never tried it then how can you really know the effects of what drugs will do to people lives by making it legal. Drug addiction is just the symptom we need to get to the root cause of why people turn to drugs. And trust me there is always a root cause. I teach a class called Overcomer’s. It is a bible based program that teaches user’s how to live life and overcome the things that keep them bound and in bondage to their drug of choice.

    Legalizing drugs would be one of the gravest injustice in my opinion that has ever taken place in the history of mankind. If there is any doubt look at what happened when we legalized alcohol.
    S. Poe

  18. Let me begin by congratulating you on successfully overcoming your addiction and allowing others to benefit from what you have learned. You have demonstrated a great deal of character and compassion by turning your life around.
    I am afraid you misunderstood many of th points in my article. For starters, legalizing or decriminalizing drugs should not imply to anyone that it is okay to make easy money. As a matter of fact legalization would mean that it would be impossible to make any money at all selling drugs, easy or otherwise. Let me explain. If the state assumed the role of distribution and control, the price of these substances would be so low that selling drugs would no longer be profitable. And that alone would be enough to drive drug dealers to find some other way to make money because drug traficking would no longer be profitable. And without the lure of easy money, students might just stay in school long enough to graduate and find a way to may an earnest living. Imagine that?
    The effect of “drugs on people’s lives” is quite different from the effect of “legalization of drugs” on people’s lives. I’m not sure which of these you meant, so I’ll address both.
    Because I understand the law of gravity, I don’t have to jump off a cliff to know that I could be injured or killed by doing so. I have never used illegal drugs because I don’t want to become addicted. I don’t have to experience thirteen years of addiction to know that drug addiction is not how I want to live my life.
    Experience is not the only teacher. And in the case of dangerous or fatal behaviors, experience is not even the best teacher. Smart people learn to make good choices not only based on their experiences, but also from the experiences of others, history, scientific data, their own intelligence and their own moral compass.
    Now, when it comes to the impact of legalization of drugs on people’s lives, we can also learn from the experiences of other countries that have tried it, and frankly, we improve on those models and avoid making the same mistakes. Many books have been written on the subject, proposing thoughtful solutions. Legalization would take a great deal of planning and thoughtfulness from individuals, lawmakers, public policy experts, etc. It is not an enterprise to be entered into lightly.
    If you think that legalization would be worse than three centuries of African American enslavement, the Jewish holocaust, or the genocide of Native Americans, then I suppose I should quit while I’m ahead. I believe that the drug war is one of gravest human rights issues of our time.
    Since you mentioned Alcohol Prohibition, think about what happened during that dark period in American history. During Alcohol Prohibition the United States saw an increase in death from poisoned liquor, crime, violence, corruption, and homicide. There was also a substantial increase in alcohol consumption during this period. And federal spending for law enforcement increased over five times. One of the most amazing things that happened when Prohibition was repealed is that the homicide rate dropped for eleven consecutive years. Would like to see the return of Alcohol Prohibition?
    Finally, I think you may be missing the important matter of personal responsibility. As an individual, there are some things I must do for myself without government interference. I don’t want my government intruding on my personal decisions. If I make a mistake, then I need to suffer the consequences. But sending me to prison because I’ve made a poor choice about what I chose to put in my own body is not a reasonable consequence. If you think it is reasonable to send drug users to prison, then why not send alcoholics, smokers, people addicted to prescription drugs, and overeaters also? There is absolutely no moral difference between a addiction to an illegal drug and addiction to a legal one. Of course, there may be a grave difference in legal consequences, but there is no moral difference.
    Joy Strickland

  19. The Dallas Morning News printed a rebuttal to my op-ed piece written by Drug Enforcement Agent James Capra. Below is my respons to Mr. Capra’s rebuttal.

    Links to my original article and Mr. Capra’s rebuttal, and the response below have also been published at http://mccoolportraits.com/mccoolcomments.htm#MATV

    LEGALIZING POT IN NO WAY MAKES US SAFER—A REBUTTAL
    By Joy Strickland
    CEO, Mothers Against Teen Violence

    James L. Capra, a Dallas Drug Enforcement Agent, asserted in his article last week, “The United States has had tremendous success in our fight against drug use and abuse.” Anyone vaguely familiar with the war on drugs will concede that Mr. Capra holds what is arguably a fantastic notion of success. His agency’s outdated arguments and misleading statistics are self-serving at best. Indeed, a DEA agent promoting the drug war is perhaps less remarkable than a ringmaster promoting the circus. Still, Mr. Capra’s arguments warrant a rebuttal.

    Firstly, Mr. Capra refers to the specter of prisons filled with drug users as an “illusion”. Although an entire communtiy of African American men in Tulia, Texas and the Hispanic men victimized by the fake drug scandal here in Dallas could liken their experience to a bad dream, sadly these shameful stories are very real. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) reveal that drug law violations skyrocketed to nearly 2 million in 2006, of which: 82.5% were for possession of a controlled substance; only 17.5% were for the sale or manufacture of a drug; 43.9 per cent were for marijuana; and 39% were for marijuana possession alone, shattering the myth that the drug war primarily targets drug smugglers and king pins. We cannot separate the rise of the prison industrial complex from our outdated an irrational drug laws.

    Secondly, Mr. Capra inferred that favoring decriminalization and control could be construed as favoring underage use. Nothing in the original article warrants this disturbing inference. Perhaps the point that Mr. Capra missed can be clarified by posing the following questions: If a youth should exercise poor judgment by using a controlled substance, should he be barred from obtaining a federal loan for college? Should he be incarcerated? If he has a life-threatening reaction, should his friends risk letting him die because they fail to seek medical attention, fearing their own arrest? It must not be that the cure is worse than the ailment.

    There is no accounting for those “studies” showing the harmful effects of marijuana on the body, since Mr. Capra cited no sources. There is ample evidence, however, that marijuana is less dangerous (to adults) in many respects than nicotine. In 2006 the largest case-controlled study ever conducted concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. Donald Tashkin, a pulmonologist at the University of California at Los Angeles has studied marijuana for 30 years. FDA officials have widely used his previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous. Tashkin had hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin.

    Finally, Mr. Capra alluded to the Netherlands as evidence that liberalized drug policies increase rather than reduce crime. A better informed DEA agent would know that marijuana remains illegal in the Netherlands. Large-scale dealing, production, import and export of all illegal substances are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The fact that Dutch policymakers make a distinction between hard drugs and soft drugs is a step in the right direction. This distinction has led to dispensing marijuana in coffee shops because a policy of non-enforcement has become common. The problem is that there is no way for coffee shops to access a legal supply of marijuana. By pursuing a schizophrenic policy coupling non-enforcement with the failure to control cultivation and distribution, the Netherlands has allowed illegal drug trafficking to remain a profitable venture—and that is the source of the criminal activity.

    In the information age, drug war opponents and advocants alike could benefit from a public debate based on facts instead of fiction or scare tactics. Anything less is a disservice to the DEA and the citizens it purports to serve and protect.


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