Former Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief On The Need For Drug Legalization
Joe | Jun 19, 2012 | Comments 0
“When I started, the show-and-tells for the media were a kilo or two, a couple of handguns and a few thousand dollars in cash,” Downing wrote [to the L.A. Times], referring to the news conferences called by the LAPD to celebrate its busts. “Today it’s warehouses full of dope, pallets of cash and tens of thousands of war level weapons. That alone should tell us something about failed policy.”
When Downing talks about legalizing drugs, he means we should “legalize, regulate and control” illicit substances. But he isn’t referring only to marijuana, even though he finds it illogical that marijuana is illegal while alcohol and tobacco — proven killers — are perfectly legal. He’s talking about legalizing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, the whole underground kaleidoscope.
With all those drugs, Downing said, “prohibition is not the answer and it will never be the answer, because it does not and will not work.” About five years ago he was recruited by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates for drug policy reform that would treat addiction as more of a health issue and divert savings to better uses.
“We have bravely fought the war on drugs for more than 40 years — arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning at ever-increasing levels,” reads a statement on the group’s website. “We have spent well over a trillion dollars and made more than 39 million arrests of nonviolent drug users. Ask yourself this simple question: Has it worked? As most of us can answer from experience: No.”
Those who see the folly of marijuana prohibition have to see the failure of prohibition of all illicit drugs. Wouldn’t it be better to legalize and regulate hard drugs, while spending law enforcement and prison savings on rehab and education programs? Put more simply, will hard drug addicts fare better in drug treatment programs or prison?