Article Comment 

Robert A. White: War on drugs a failure




The city is experiencing a increase in crime, and burglary is just one aspect. I attended the Jan. 17 city council meeting. Police Chief McQueen is concerned about the level to which crime in the city has risen. He suggested higher bail and fines for burglary are needed. Apparently, there are repeat crimes by early releases. It appears we need to visit our statutes to see if they are adequate. 


Furthermore, I feel your article on the meeting did not go far enough. I think the crux of the problem is this area's drug problem. I will not go into details but the crime rate is rising for those seeking money to buy drugs . This is a worldwide concern.  


I think if we can get the drug problem under control we can restore domestic tranquility. We need to take a new look at how we deal with the drug problem. The so-called War on Drugs has been lost even though huge amounts of money have been thrown at the problem. 


When I was young, this state still had a prohibition on spirit sales. The sale of spirits was criminalized. One could purchase spirits, however almost everywhere in not-so-secret locations. Lots of money was made. If anything it increased consumption. There were always rumors of corrupt officials and "officials looking the other way." The problem was solved by decriminalizing the sale of sprits. The positive effect was money flowed into the state treasury and prosecution costs were diminished. 


Some countries had decriminalized the sale of certain drugs with positive effect, such as Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, etc. This has freed up police to work on more serious crimes and more serious highly addictive drugs such as methamphetamine. It has also reduced government costs.  


Decriminalization of certain drugs by making them accessible through prescription is a long avenue to hike, mostly at the federal level, but we should begin the journey now. Worst of all at this moment, little gets done at the Federal level. 


On the other hand, stiffer sentences to drug sellers should be considered. I understand the use of morphine became popular after the War Between the States. It was pushed as an elixir of health. Sales were criminalized and some sellers were publicly hanged. This stiff punishment stopped the problem. Perhaps we should consider the death penalty for sellers of methamphetamine.  


I applaud the young lady who spoke at the end of the Jan. 17 council meeting, and who runs a successful program and home to help female former drug users get back on their feet. She seeks money for a similar home for males. This is a good cause. We need more Avanté houses. 




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