Outgoing Drug Czar John P. Walters claims that the U.S. "war" on drugs is working ("Our Drug Policy Is a Success," Dec. 5), but that's true only if one redefines success.Wouldn't it be refreshing if the current administration actually came clean on all the messes they caused? Let's hope at least they are confessing their sins to Obama, but my intuition tells me they are hard at work setting land mines and traps so that Obama has to fall on one to save our country but it works in turn to destroy his political career.
Here's the reality: Illegal substances -- from marijuana to cocaine to heroin -- are more potent and more available than at any time in history. Deaths from illicit-drug overdoses are at an all-time high, and most illicit substances are cheaper than ever before.
Thanks to the strict enforcement of America's drug laws, which primarily target nonviolent drug offenders, police now arrest some 1.8 million citizens every year for drug crimes -- over 800,000 for minor marijuana offenses alone. As a result, the U.S. has earned the unique distinction of jailing a greater percentage of its population than any other industrialized nation.
If this is Mr. Walters definition of "success," then I shudder to think what he would consider to be failure.
On a final note, just think of the additional revenue that could be gained if we started taxing even just marijuana after it has been decriminalized, not to mention the savings of not having to incarcerate your grandmother because shes growing some plants in a hot house. Last I checked we could use some additional tax revenues that boost the economy rather than tap it dry for a failed enforcement policy.