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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Is the War on Drugs the Social Equivalent of an Autoimmune Disorder?

From The LA Times:

Let those dopers be

A former police chief wants to end a losing war by legalizing pot, coke, meth and other drugs

By Norm Stamper
Norm Stamper is the former chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is the author of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing" (Nation Books, 2005).

October 16, 2005


Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle's police department. But no, I don't favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD.....

...In declaring a war on drugs, we've declared war on our fellow citizens. War requires "hostiles" — enemies we can demonize, fear and loathe. This unfortunate categorization of millions of our citizens justifies treating them as dope fiends, evil-doers, less than human. That grants political license to ban the exchange or purchase of clean needles or to withhold methadone from heroin addicts motivated to kick the addiction....

...But wouldn't regulated legalization lead to more users and, more to the point, drug abusers? Probably, though no one knows for sure — our leaders are too timid even to broach the subject in polite circles, much less to experiment with new policy models. My own prediction? We'd see modest increases in use, negligible increases in abuse....

...They're not about to stop, no matter what their government says or does. It's time to accept drug use as a right of adult Americans, treat drug abuse as a public health problem and end the madness of an unwinnable war.


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