Megan Harrington" />
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Saturday, September 23, 2023


GUEST COMMENTARY: War on drugs a bad approach

Every commercial and talking crime dog has told us since we were little kids vegetating in front of the television, that drugs are bad. They tell us that if you do drugs, you will ruin your life – you will overdose, and you will die. We are given all of these images of what drugs might do to us that the only assumption to make is that drugs ruin lives, and elimination of the element is the only option. It seems, however, another option exists, but remains well hidden. What if, throughout the course of the "War on Drugs," we have failed to realize that every anti-drug commercial is nothing more than propaganda to distract us from the real problem?

The drug war has been raging for nearly 35 years, and, in all of this time, nothing has really been achieved, save overpopulated prison systems and much stronger drugs. We are still in the same position, if not worse, than we were when we decided that drugs were "bad." The taboo that comes with drugs creates only more incentive for people to try them, which has led to more drug usage.

This leads us to question what is genuine in this sea of misinformation that we have been fed, and what truth we should believe. Do drugs need to stay illegal, or is their ban leading to more drug usage?

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an organization of men and women who have seen firsthand the effects of drug wars, on international and domestic grounds, and, after all they have seen, believe there must be some better way to approach the narcotics industry. They aim to educate others by using officials who have dealt with fighting drugs and have seen faults in the system to tell us why these wars have been ineffective.

Most people have a deluded idea of the true effects of drugs and its history. We are fed these ideas about what drugs are and what they do, and just assume that it’s accurate. LEAP members inform people of the real consequences of drugs, and they also show our drug policy is creating less control, instead of more.

From 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UH will host an event with a prominent member of LEAP, Terry Nelson. He will speak in the UC Caribbean Room about the effects of drug wars, especially on the borders. According to his biography, Nelson held qualms about whether prohibition was necessary, and after 30 years in the field and seeing the same busts over and over, he started to question the validity of the current process.

For Nelson, drug policies could be broken into basic science. In chemistry, would you continue to try the same experiment over and over again after it had continually proved to produce faulty results? It’s not likely. Nor would it be logical to see the same conflicts, happening repetitively for 35 years, and not try to tweak the method a bit.

The main goal of Tuesday’s presentation is to lay out all of the facts, and then, after you have seen both sides of the argument, make a decision on what should be done.

To many, the final call will be simple. But for those who still straddle the fence, just think that if law officials are united in saying that drug policies are faulty, then what are you trying to convince yourself to believe in?

Harrington, a biomedical engineering freshman and director of media relations for Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UH, can be reached via [email protected]

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