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Drug Czar's Office Admits that Drug Enforcement Can't Be Proven to Work

Submitted by smorgan on
In a superb column at AlterNet on our nation's world-leading drug use rates, MPP's Bruce Mirken calls attention to this shocking concession from the Drug Czar's office:

Trying to find a link between drug use and drug enforcement doesn't make sense, said Tom Riley, spokesman for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington. "The U.S. has high crime rates but we spend a lot on law enforcement and prison,'' Riley said yesterday in a telephone interview. "Should we spend less? We're just a different kind of country. We have higher drug use rates, a higher crime rate, many things that go with a highly free and mobile society."

It is just an incredibly strange argument to emerge from the very people who've tirelessly defended the efficacy of law-enforcement as an essential component of our drug policy. I mean seriously, what on earth is he trying to say? Moreover, who are they to boast about our "highly free and mobile society" presiding as they do over our nation's largest campaign to reduce American freedom? There's no freedom or mobility for the 500,000 Americans they've banished behind bars for drug crimes. We wouldn't even have the "higher crime rate" he speaks of if we didn’t make crimes of things that shouldn’t be.

When I first learned of the new World Health Organization data showing that Americans use marijuana and cocaine at dramatically higher rates than the Netherlands, I asked myself how the Drug Czar's office could even begin to respond. It's a point they've been dodging for decades, thrust suddenly upon them in the form of a credible study that focuses directly upon that which they've sought so desperately to disregard. Nonetheless, I am honestly surprised that, in their infinite slipperiness, they couldn't come up with something better than this.

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