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July 4, 2004 - The Pacific Daily News (Guam)

No Evidence Backs 'War On Drugs'

By Chris Curran Dombrowski

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

In the June 9 edition of the Pacific Daily News' Opinion section was a quote from former drug czar, retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey. In his quote, he stated that it would be "irresponsible" not to have the criminal justice system involved in the treatment of substance abuse and drug addiction.

Why? Please cite your sources.

Ever since the criminal justice system began its "war on drugs," the drugs themselves have gotten cheaper, more potent and widely available.

Now we have documented cases of 9-year-olds experimenting. What can you show us that treatment and harm-reduction hasn't already?

Several days after Sept. 11, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft stated on CNN's Larry King Live: "I want to model the war on terrorism after the war on drugs."

Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet will be able to discover that the war on drugs has been a total failure and is worsening the human condition.

(Studies show) that the pathways to easing the "drug problem" are decriminalization and medicalization (treatment upon demand/harm-reduction).

Can you, Gen. McCaffrey, or anyone else in the criminal justice system, show us one shred of evidence that the criminal justice system has achieved any substantial effect, besides funneling individuals into treatment, that works?

As a physician and an experimental research scientist, the criminal justice system's approach to solving the drug problem comes across to me as fascist in nature, especially when you compare our programs to those of Russia and western Europe.

My father was a Marine in World War II. He taught me how to "question authority."

I also learned that if you can't defend your position, then you don't have one. So I ask you, General, with all due honor and respect, in light of all the evidence, how can you defend your position?

I truly revere your service to our country, just as I do my dad's.

But it seems to me, from my own personal and professional perspective, that what is missing from your rhetoric is a good dose of compassion and love.

It appears that you have forgotten what you fought for, and that is the universality of liberty and freedom.

Sen. John McCain, former POW, writes in his latest book, "Why Courage Matters," that "We're all afraid of something. Some have more fears than others.

The one we must all guard against is the fear of ourselves. Don't let the sensation of fear convince you that you're too weak to have courage.

Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice. No one is born a coward. We were meant to love. And we were meant to have courage for it."

So be brave, General. The rest is easy.

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