Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drug Legalization Would Be 'Catastrophe', Says Ex-White House Drug Spokesman Bob Weiner; Drugs Have Not 'Won The War'; Op-ed Letter in New York Times

/PRNewswire/ -- Former White House Drug Policy Spokesman Robert Weiner is attacking the arguments of the most recent drug legalization advocates: "They invite a catastrophe of greater drug use, car crashes, school and work dropouts, hospital emergency room cases, and crime including domestic violence and date rape."

Weiner, the spokesman for the White House National Drug Policy Office from 1995 to 2001, states in an op-ed letter today in the New York Times:

"Legalization would be a catastrophe. (Some) use the analogy of legal alcohol. But we have an estimated 15 million alcoholics in this country and 5 million drug addicts; do we want the 5 to become 15?

"Parents, police and the American people know that taking away the incentive of the normative power of the law would increase drug use and related car crashes, school dropouts and work absences. That is why the law has remained in place.

"Hospital emergency rooms would be flooded, and crime would return to the crisis levels of the 1970s and '80s, when drug use was at its highest. Domestic violence and date rape would be substantially higher. The majority of arrestees in 10 major American cities recently tested positive for illegal drugs, a remarkable indicator of a link between drugs and crime.

"I disagree with those who assert that drugs have 'won the war.' With a comprehensive anti-drug strategy in place, involving foreign policy, enforcement, education, treatment, prevention and media, America's overall drug use has declined almost by half in the past three decades -- from 14.1 percent of the population in 1979 to 8.3 percent now -- who used drugs in the past month. In addition, cocaine use, including crack -- the source of much of the former record-high violent crime numbers -- is down 70 percent. Want to go back?

"The new director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske, and another recent drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, are both correct that we must remove the phrase 'war on drugs' and fight drugs like a cancer, which can be managed and treated."

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