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Ex-Baltimore officer has unique idea about winning war on drugs

Last Tuesday in Washington, D.C., an event was held that marked the 40th anniversary of the U.S.’ war on drugs. Rather than that meeting being a celebration, it seems to have served as a platform for at least one critic of the program who believes that the war on drugs has been an utter failure.

A former narcotics investigator who worked for Baltimore and Maryland police departments passionately shared his somewhat jarring opinion regarding how to handle illegal drugs in the country.

After working on the force for decades, the retired officer has come up with this suggestion: illegal drugs should be made legal.

“When is enough enough?” asks the former officer. He insists that the pervasive violence on the streets is largely caused by the system’s approach of addressing drug crimes. He thinks that too many people are put in jail, which doesn’t help the drug crime problem in the long run.

The officer says, “You can get over an addiction, but you will never get over a conviction.” With the system the way it is, drug crime offenders come out of prison still unequipped to lead law-abiding lives. By legalizing drugs, the priority becomes teaching people how to make wise, safe decisions.

Of course, there are a lot of people who disagree with the former officer’s ideas. A former drug addict and now drug expert in Baltimore argues, “Drug legalization is just feeding into the existing monster we already have, which is addiction. We don’t need more addiction.”

He believes that more money should be put toward creating more drug and alcohol treatment opportunities for illegal drug users. Fewer officers would be needed on the streets if people’s addictions could effectively be treated.

What is your take on the war on drugs? Would legalizing substances like marijuana and cocaine make sense?


Wbaltv: “Narcotics Officer Says End War On Drugs,” 14 Jun. 2011

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