Media Awareness Project
Kurt Schmoke, then and now the Mayor of Baltimore, astounded the country
by calling for a debate on alternatives to the war on drugs, including
legalization of currently illegal drugs. Mayor Schmoke has posed three
questions to his constituents; their answers don't express confidence
in existing policy.
questions are: Do you think we've won the Drug War? Do you think we're
winning the Drug War? If we keep doing what we're doing now, in 10 years,
will we have won the Drug War?
same spirit, we invite legislators and policy makers to address the
following questions regarding the "War on Drugs."
- We spend
$50 billion per year trying to eradicate drugs from this country.
According to DEA estimates we capture less than 10 percent of all
illicit drugs. In this regard, I have a two part question 1) How much
do you think it will cost to stop the other ninety percent? 2) Does
$50 billion a year for a 90% failure rate seem like a good investment
people buy most of the illegal drugs in this country. Yet, seventy
four percent of those receiving prison sentences for drug possession
are African-American and other minorities. Is race a factor in the
enforcement of drug laws, and if not, how can we prove that to skeptics?
the cost of the War on Drugs in terms of billions of dollars, blighted
lives, jammed prisons, intensified racism, needless deaths, loss of
freedom etc., produced any significant change in drug availability
or perceived patterns of drug use?
once said "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that
it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and make crime
out of things that are not crimes." How do you respond to this
is estimated that 45 million U.S. citizens have tried an illicit drug
at least once. How many of the 45 million drug users do you feel we
must incarcerate in order to win the war on drugs?
does the FDA stand up for the right of adults to smoke tobacco, which
is highly addictive and causes over 400,000 deaths per year, while
decreeing that adults have no right to smoke marijuana, which is non-addictive
and kills no one?
use is an acknowledged fact of life in every prison in the country.
If we can't stop prisoner' use of drugs, how can we rationally expect
to stop average free citizens from using them?
signatures from 85 prominent groups and individuals, why has the Hoover
Resolution (a call for an independent panel to revue existing drug
policies) not been considered, accepted, or initiated?
lessons from alcohol prohibition lead you to believe that the current
drug war will end in victory?
federal judges, the district attorney of San Francisco, The mayor
of Baltimore, the vast majority of prison wardens, and numerous other
respected officials consider the war on drugs an abject failure. More
than a few important Americans are opposed to the drug war. Since
no other US laws or policies are inspiring such resistance, shouldn't
we be listening to the many voices which are saying that continuing
the war on drugs may be a grave threat to the long-term health of
a time when working people are being asked to tighten our belts in
order to help balance the budget, how do you justify increasing the
funding to the drug law enforcement bureaucracy? Explain why supporting
a failed policy of drug law enforcement has a greater priority than
student loans or drug education programs.
do you conclude from the experience of Holland--a country where drugs
fall under the jurisdiction of health agencies, not law enforcement--which
hasseen a decline in chronic use of hard drugs and casual use of soft
drugs since de-criminalization?
illegal drugs are so obviously harmful to people's health, why is
it necessary to put so many American adults in prison to prevent them
from using these drugs?
drug policy discussions we hear a lot about the "message"
that certain policies may send to children. What message is sent to
inner city children who witness illegal drug sales on their way to
school each day?
modern drug war began in the 1960s, and for thirty five years it has
failed to reduce drug access to school-aged children. Which is better
for America during the next 35 years, prohibition with continued school-aged
access to drugs OR reform policies that ease prohibition but reduce
prohibition has been one of the biggest U.S. domestic policy failures
of the late twentieth century. Why is a perpetuation of this failure
more desirable than serious consideration of alternative policy options?
should 270 million citizens continue to pay $50 billion per year to
try to change the habits of 20 million people, considering that this
policy has not been able to change those habits in 82 years and at
a total cost of nearly one trillion dollars?
the Media Awareness Project