War on drugs needs intensity, not quitters

After reading Keith J. Powell’s column entitled “Canadians may give into war on drugs” I was appalled.

First, calling the war on drugs a “quagmire” and comparing it to Vietnam is just ridiculous and is a poor attempt to stigmatize it with harsh liberal undertones. Keith compares the war on drugs to someone “fighting the ocean” and suggests that we should just give up, “We can’t win and it makes the people fighting look foolish.” Should giving up be the answer to a problem that has plagued the United States? I don’t think so. The solution is to fight harder.

Should we just give up on fighting crime altogether, too? We have thousands fighting it, and there is still crime. Another ridiculous portion of the column is dedicated to the description and endorsement of “monitored” drug use rooms.

These rooms are just a safe haven for criminals who can shoot up and not have to worry about the police kicking down the door, or a nosy neighbor calling the authorities. Mr. Powell implies that they are safe because the heroin users are monitored by what he considers a “nurse.” What kind of nurse would let a person pump a harmful and addictive substance into their body? Heroin isn’t safe because the needle is clean.

I also wonder how these people are getting back to their homes when they are high. Is their a drug bus that takes them back, or are they to drive while under the influence of heroin and/or crack?

The last fallacy of Mr. Powell’s column that I would like to mention is his twisting of crime statistics. He claims that rehab programs are working because of a decrease in the prison population of 30 percent in 2001. Of course there was a drop in the prison population, because they were put into rehab instead. Prison population statistics are not a valid resource in figuring out if more or less people are doing drugs, or if rehabilitation is even working.

Now, one might say that it is working because supposedly less people are failing rehabilitation programs, but this is judged by a parole officer or a parole board. Numerous studies have shown that neither are effective in judging if a person is rehabilitated.

If you want actual crime statistics, consult the Universal Crime Report or the National Crime Victimization Survey. One shouldn’t base their opinion on prison populations because they just tell you why people are being sent to jail, not what crimes are being committed. You’re just looking at the punishment of prison, not the increase or decrease of any crime, or the success of any rehab program.

As a final message, if we want to fight a war on drugs, then let’s fight it. If we are serious about it, then it’s time to get serious by spending more money and expanding the fight, just like the war on terrorism.

David A. Scharfeld