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May 2007
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History lesson in Hawaii

Hawaii has been going overboard in its drug war zeal — the most recent addition being random suspicionless drug tests for all teachers.
Rich Figel has a nice history lesson and challenge in Sunday’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He talks about the parallels to alcohol prohibition:

…we’re committing the same mistakes all over again. During the past 30 years, hundreds of billions of your tax dollars have been spent in a futile strategy that has backfired. Just as Prohibition created conditions for moonshiners, bootleggers and the mob to prosper, the War on Drugs has only benefited organized crime, drug dealers and prison contractors. As long as the profit motive exists for black market goods, there will be suppliers who will step forward to fill the need.

and then he issues a challenge:

Let’s start an island-wide discussion about dealing realistically with our drug problem. In future columns, I’ll be writing in more detail about the history of drug use in the United States, the current state of affairs and alternatives worth considering.
I’m inviting members of government, law enforcement, the prison system and addiction experts to share their views. I want you to tell us what you think. There are no easy solutions. But I believe the majority of Americans are pragmatic people, and once we get past certain emotional issues, we’re capable of finding common ground.
Or would you rather let Big Brother call the shots? Because that’s where we’re heading, unless we change course.

I’ll be very interested to see what happens.

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