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January 2011
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Thank you Froma Harrop

Outstanding and passionate OpEd by Froma Harrop: Waging war against war on drugs

She starts by welcoming Pat Robertson to the discussion in the hopes that other conservatives will follow.

Where are the foes of big government in this? They should note that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s budget has more than quadrupled over the decade to $2.6 billion — without making a dent in the quantity of illegal drugs sold in this country. (The narcotics, meanwhile, are more potent than ever.)

But the DEA bureaucrats know how to expand a mandate. The agency now operates 86 offices in 63 countries and runs a shadow State Department that at times mucks up American diplomacy. It employs nearly 11,000 people.

And the DEA is but one expense in the drug war. Add in the costs of local law enforcement to round up suspects, courts to prosecute them and jails to hold them, and the war on drugs weighs in at about $50 billion a year. States and municipalities bear most of the costs.

Here’s one paragraph that really hit home.

No one here is advocating drug use. I have never touched hard drugs, but the “war” against them lost its romance the day that a drug addict pointed a knife at my gut, demanding money for a fix that should have cost him no more than a head of celery.

The reflexive non-thinking approach to that situation is to say “More laws, tougher sentencing.” But Froma is smart and realizes that it’s the drug war that created the situation to begin with. And…

Then there’s the rank hypocrisy. President Obama admits to having “tried” cocaine, and President George W. Bush all but did, refusing to answer questions about his previous drug use. Yet we still ruin the lives of teenagers caught using or dealing in far less dangerous marijuana.

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3 comments to Thank you Froma Harrop

  • kaptinemo

    Froma Harrop has always been light-years ahead of the pack on this. I’d sent her kudos in the past for her ‘authentic journalism’ as Al Giordano puts it.

    But I didn’t know that some of that passion had come from a personal experience at the results of drug prohibition. She never mentioned it in her brief acknowledgment of said kudos. I gather that she wouldn’t as she seems more interested in getting the facts out than beating her own drum.

    We need more like her, and not just in the matter of drug reporting, but the media in general. Like I said, she’s an ‘authentic journalist’, not the ‘cut-and-paste’ type we’re plagued with nowadays…

  • Common Science

    It’s unfathomable to imagine that there could ever be as many untaxable pure drugs available in the increasing quantities that now reach their destination in, if NO money was ever allotted the DEA.

    From their bell curve started fourty years ago, this opulent agency has always been absolved for never achieving any of their stated objectives (except for hamstringing the sick by interrupting medical marijuana supplies). In fact they are inexplicably ‘rewarded’ as if they were a scientific team that repeatedly conquers various diseases for mankind.

    Isn’t there a more appropriate word to describe their pathetic existence other than omnipotent?

  • Duncan20903

    Take it for what it’s worth, but based on 33 1/2 years in the Potheads things are different in the past year. In the ’80s and ’90s there were a cohort of re-legalization lobbyists and of course libertarians (small l, not the political party) that would argue in favor of common sense and freedom. It was all just preaching to the proverbial choir and it was pretty predictable which people were arguing in favor. The differences that I’m seeing in the demographic is just how many people we have supporting a return to sanity. My dictionary picture example for what I’m observing going on is a portrait of Pat Robertson. You know I wouldn’t be shocked if the wall collapses before the end of the year. I’m not expecting it, but it wouldn’t shock me.