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U.S. Drug Policy

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Jan.23, 00
Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2000 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Alan M. Perlman
U.S. DRUG POLICY HIGHLAND PARK - Thank you for your courageous editorial condemning the TV networks' collaboration with the government's drug war ("Just say 'no' to Big Brother,' " Jan. 18). Thank you especially for pointing out one of numerous ways in which the drug war violates our constitutional rights. Others include asset forfeiture (seizing Americans' property on merely the suspicion of a crime), threats to free speech (such as the government's threat to arrest any doctor who even mentions medical marijuana to a patient), and gross violations of privacy, including the very kind of unwarranted search and seizure tactics (e.g., breaking down doors and entering violently without warning or evidence of a crime) that drove our founders to revolution. No one wants kids using - or adults abusing - drugs. But there are viable and constructive alternatives to a policy that is clearly not working. Other government programs are stupid, wasteful and pointless. The drug war is all of these - and evil. It is arbitrary morality, maintained by lies and enforced by violence. It is government at its worst. Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once estimated that the drug war results in 5,000 to 10,000 violent deaths each year. Some of that blood is on the hands of every politician who defends this disastrous policy.