Thursday, October 18, 2007

Enough with the America's wars-- including the War on Drugs

Saturday, October 20th, Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse will hold a day long conference and banquet celebrating 25 years of education on marijuana policy and harm reduction. This seems like a good moment to look at America's other war front.

The "War on Drugs" has been waged for more than thirty years. And like the U$' other failed war efforts, this war has devastated lives, and left the coffers dry.

Over 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated in this country. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars.

One organization that sees the effects this miserable policy, and works to counter the gross misprioritization of resources, is Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. According to their website, the U$ has just over 4.5 % of the world's population, but 22.5 % of the world's prisoners. And yet, they note, prohibited drugs today are cheaper, and easier to get than they were thirty-five years ago, at the beginning of the so-called "war on drugs".

Howard Wooldridge is LEAP's Education Specialist, working in Washington, DC. He is visiting Portland to speak at the MAMA conference this weekend. He will be taking time to join us in the studio, Friday morning, 7:30 - 9 AM, for Positively Revolting Talk Radio.

As a young officer, Wooldridge quickly caught on to the fact that alcohol killed and injured more people than all the illicit drugs combined. His efforts to combat drunk drivers earned him recognition from MADD. He was bothered by priorities that didn't work to save lives, and saw that the drug war was not about reducing harm to society. In 2003 and 2005 Wooldridge rode his horse 6,400 miles from coast to coast to deliver an antiprohibition message in 22 states, to some 13,000,000 Americans.

The "War on Drugs" has been around for more than 30 years. The mantra that "drugs are bad, m'kay?" has become so much background noise. Against this hum, it seems anathema to talk unapologetically about being against prohibition, and yet that is exactly what this former police officer does.
I look forward to speaking with him-- I hope you have a chance to listen to the show.

It's time to end all of the wars this country, at home and abroad. It's time to embrace peace, value life and create beauty. Let's make it so.

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