Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

June 5, 2004 - The Amarillo Globe-News (TX)

Guest Column: War On Drugs Is A Losing Battle For America

By Billy Mosteller

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Amarillo is searching for a new way to fund its drug enforcement division after the city had to pay those who were wrongly accused in the Tulia drug sting and after dropping out of and effectively dissolving the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force.

Perhaps now is a good time for the people of the Panhandle to think about the war on drugs, since it will most likely affect their taxes in the near future.

Many drugs that are illegal are very dangerous substances. But why are they so dangerous? With most drugs, they are dangerous or they are made more dangerous because of their illegal status. Let's consider methamphetamine, for instance.

Were meth labs as common in the 1970s as they are today? No, because methamphetamines were easier to come by. But as laws changed in an attempt to reduce meth use, more inventive and dangerous ways of producing it were put into practice.

Also, users of meth and all illegal drugs must deal with the black market, which is a danger in itself. Meth is more dangerous today both for users and non-users because of legislation meant to reduce its use.

American drug laws are often unfair and unreasonable. For example, the drugs nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are permitted but marijuana is restricted, even though marijuana has a much lower rate of addiction than the other three, fewer health risks than cigarettes and alcohol and virtually no withdrawal symptoms.

People often think that a drug's legal status has some connection with its health risk, but this is not the case.

Marijuana was outlawed in the 1930s because newspapers in the South published false information about people smoking marijuana and turning into homicidal maniacs, and because it was popular with Mexican immigrants and jazz musicians, two groups that were not well liked in the 1930s.

It has remained illegal for nearly 70 years because the government does not want to admit it was wrong.

It is difficult for marijuana users to find jobs because of drug screening, and there is a constant risk of getting caught and having to pay heavy fines or serve time. It is time we looked at the war on drugs for what it is: a war on the poor and a vehicle for social discrimination, fueled by propaganda and the ignorance of the American people.

The U.S. spends billions of dollars a year fighting this war. If we would stop treating addicts like criminals and try to create fairness in our legal system, the lives of drug users and non-drug users would be improved. Several European countries have legalized marijuana and other drugs with no significant increase in drug use resulting.

What about the drug trade that helps fund things like terrorism and puts drug pushers on our streets? The drug trade is only profitable as long as the drugs being traded are illegal. If they were legalized, legitimate businesses could reap the profit, and that legitimate profit would be taxable.

The U.S. can continue to throw away billions of dollars ever year in a futile attempt to stop drug use. It can continue to treat the addicted like criminals and persecute the millions of Americans who use illegal drugs.

Or the U.S. can save the money normally used to fight the war on drugs, make money by taxing new legalized drugs, use that money to help those affected by drug addiction and eradicate the illegal drug trade by forcing drug lords to compete with legitimate firms in the marketplace.

Decide which option is best, then call your representatives and let them know what you think.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact