Maryland#DC Reports Illustrate Failure and Harm of Drug Prohibition 11/3/00

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A tragic shooting of a Maryland state trooper in northeast Washington this week has awakened DC metro residents of the dangers facing drug law enforcers. Edward Toatley, posing as a drug buyer as part of an undercover investigation by a joint task force of the FBI, Maryland State Police and Prince George's County police had given money to a drug seller and was waiting in his car for him to return with drugs. The seller instead returned with a gun and shot Toatley in the head.

A Washington Post editorial commented on the dangers police face in their work, but failed to note that the drug trade violence which poses danger to police, drug buyers and sellers and bystanders, is a consequence of prohibition. Drug prohibition creates an economy governed by violence instead of regulation and law.

The September 2000 issue of the Drug Early Warning System newsletter, tracking emerging drug trends in Maryland, demonstrates that Toatley's sacrifice was in vain. According to DEWS News (http://www.cesar.umd.edu/dews.htm):

  • "In Frederick County, marijuana can be easily obtained."
  • "Most of the youth interviewed had not even heard of ecstasy as little as six months to a year ago. They now feel the drug is easily popular in Frederick County."
  • "Many of the youth identified [LSD] as being easily available.
  • "One youth reported that heroin is available for as little as $5, sometimes with a second hit free."
  • "Ecstasy use in Cecil County, according to the youth interviewed, is widespread among the adolescent population."
  • "[C]rystal meth does appear to be emerging within [Cecil County]."
Is a prohibition that fails to stop the drugs worth the loss of life?

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Issue #158, 11/3/00 Initiative Endorsements: YES on 3, 5, 8, 9, 20, 36, B, G | Drug Policy in the 2000 Elections: The Dog That Didn't Bark and Races of Note | Reformers' Dilemma: Frick, Frack, or a Prophet from the Wilderness? | Cannabis, Free Speech Issues Converge in Florida, Massachusetts | Follow That Story: Justice Department to Investigate Tulia, Civil Rights Complaint Filed | Hawaii Inches Forward on Medical Marijuana, Rejects DEA Eradication Funds | Municipal Drug Testing On the Way Out in Washington State | Maryland/DC Reports Illustrate Failure and Harm of Drug Prohibition | The Reformer's Calendar | Editorial: Different Ideals, Same Conclusions
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