6.  Set appropriate priorities and achievable social goals

   Remember that there are no magic solutions to the problems of crime,
violence and drug abuse.  The principal immediate goal should be to
reduce the harms from drug and alcohol use and commerce to a minimum.
We must realistically acknowledge that we are not aiming for the
elimination of these problems, but a dramatic reduction in their

Reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases.

  Make clean needle/used needle exchange programs available to all
populations of injecting drug users.  Use such programs to introduce
injecting drug users to health care, drug abuse treatment, and safer sex
practices.  Public health workers with clean needles need to go into
shooting galleries.  Glass crack pipes that break and cut the lips are
spreading HIV as well.  They need to be replaced in crack houses.
Condoms need to be distributed in crack houses and to prostitutes who
are working the streets and crack houses.  Treatment for STDs that cause
sores such as syphilis, herpes and gonorrhea needs to be made available
to further reduce the risk of HIV transmission.  Perhaps prostitutes
should be licensed and subject to daily and weekly examinations by
public health doctors.

Refocus Domestic Law Enforcement.

  All crimes of violence need to be investigated and prosecuted.
Prosecute crime by traffickers and users, with the highest priority
being violent crime (including domestic violence) and burglary.  Street
crime is generally the responsibility of state and local law enforcement
agencies.  Special squads need to be established and given plentiful
resources to investigate crimes of violence such as street robbery, car
jacking, and house invasion with the same intensity of focus that is now
given to homicide or rape.  We can afford such anti-violence measures
when we stop spending so disproportionately to support the prohibition

  Crime Prevention:  Community-oriented policing is an effective way to
make streets safer and prevent crime by involving the community in the
policing effort.  An example is when a local patrol officer gives to
neighbors his or her beeper number to call when a crime is being
committed, not simply an anonymous 911 operator.  Police should
encourage community groups to expand neighborhood watch and citizen
patrol efforts.

  James Q. Wilson in Broken Windows pointed out how the rules of the
street can affect the crime rate.  For example, drunks can sit on a
stoop, but to prevent the climate of disorder that exists when drunks
sprawl on the sidewalk, the police enforce an informal rule that drunks
cannot lie down.  In a similar manner, state and local law enforcement
and prosecutors should concentrate on directing drug trafficking
indoors, off the street and out of residential neighborhoods, commercial
districts during business hours, playgrounds, parks and schools.
Drug-free school zones can be accomplished by sustained enforcement in
and around the schools and by heightened sentencing for sales that take
place at schools as a matter of prosecutorial policy. However, mandatory
minimum sentences are ineffective and unjust.  Enforcement operations
that lure traffickers to school-zones to create longer sentences have
been properly characterized by judges as
 sentencing entrapment  and are unjust and dishonest.

  Corrections:  Corrections policy needs to be reformed.  Repeat,
serious violent offenders need to be incarcerated.  Record keeping must
be accurate to assure that repeat offenders are identified and not
released by mistake.  Records and fingerprint files need to be fully
automated.  Prisons should not be used for simple drug possessors and
users, or for non-violent drug offenders.  Unfortunately, over 20% of
the Federal prison population is now non-violent, first-time drug
offenders.  These offenders should have their sentences commuted to
community supervision.

  Market-place violence:  When drug buyers don t pay the sellers&127;
promptly and in full for the drugs they purchase, there is no legal
recourse.  When drug sellers sell drugs of less than represented purity,
there is no legal recourse.  When one drug seller leaves his employer to
go into business for himself, taking the boss s customers with him,
there is no legal recourse.  Today these examples of normal commercial
problems result in violence because of the prohibition strategy.  Drug
market-related violence will be ended only by legal regulation.

  Drug user violence:  Drug use cannot be an excuse for acts of violence
(see the user accountability principle above).  Those who commit acts of
violence forfeit the privilege of using drugs legally.  Those who commit
crimes under the influence of drugs or to buy drugs must be placed in
drug treatment in connection with the appropriate punishment.

  Some drug user violence is committed in the course of obtaining money
to buy drugs.  Drug addicts often have a great need for money because
they have developed a tolerance and because the drugs are expensive as a
result of prohibition.  (Indeed, before the wholesale failure of our
drug strategy in the 1980s DEA measured its success by the increased
price of illegal drugs.) Some of this crime will be eliminated when
addicts have a legal source of drugs.  (Of course many robbers who use
drugs are simply robbers and must be targeted and treated as robbers).

  Except for alcohol and PCP very little drug user violence is a result
of the mental effects from the ingestion of the drugs.

  A great many drug users are not committing robbery, burglary or other
crimes.  Some want drug treatment, but many drug users do not.  As we
have witnessed in public health campaigns addressing tobacco, alcohol,
and physical fitness, well-designed education and social controls are
very effective over time in changing the self-destructive behaviors of
many persons.

  Anti-crime efforts generally:  Leaving behind the prohibition-based
stereotypes of young men as dope dealers and bad guys will improve
police-community relations in a critical segment of the population.
Replacement of open-air drug markets with carefully- regulated clinics
and other access systems will help make streets safer and allow
residents to feel safe walking in their communities, leading to more
retail businesses that provide more jobs.  Capital will not go to drug
dealers, but will stay in the community.

Strengthen International Law Enforcement.

  The U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments should concentrate on the
highest-level and international traffickers, arms dealers and money
launderers whose violence and corruption is undermining governments and
the global financial system.  These are complex cases requiring the
reassignment of law enforcement agents and prosecutors away from minor
level offenders.  Right now, the majority of the productivity of U.S.
law enforcement is the imprisonment of street-level dealers, bodyguards,
mules and couriers (55.2%), and only a very small fraction are
high-level dealers (11.2%) or international scope traffickers (23.7%).

  The current prohibition strategy has boosted revenues of organized
crime all over the world, increasing their ability to buy weapons, bribe
government officials, take over news media outlets, and corrupt
legitimate business.  The criminals will profit from the opportunities
created by the prohibition-based Strategy much faster than the Strategy
will bring them to justice or confiscate their revenues.

Raise revenue from important economic sectors; reduce the financial
power of criminals and drug, alcohol and tobacco organizations.

  Another goal is to obtain revenue from the commerce in drugs and
alcohol to cover the social costs as much as possible.  Federal alcohol
taxation now raises some $11 billion per year.  Alcohol and tobacco
taxes should be substantially higher, but at rates that do not
substantially increase the problem of cigarette bootlegging.  Excise
taxes, occupational taxes, and user fees on marijuana alone could raise
$10-20 billion yearly for state and Federal governments.  Such taxes
should initially be set at low levels to draw buyers from the criminal
markets, which will help eliminate such markets, but enforcement will
certainly be required.  After the black market infrastructure has
decayed, taxes should be steadily raised to discourage use. 

Expand prevention programs and efforts targeted at youth.

  Experimentation with drugs, alcohol, tobacco and inhalants has
increased in recent years.  Families, communities and schools need to
identify and concentrate prevention efforts on the kids who are at high
risk for becoming seriously involved in drug use.  What is needed is not
simply an anti-drug program, but a comprehensive effort that: (1)
provides counseling around the problems from which drugs are often an
escape;  (2) provides stimulating curricula in schools;  (3) provides
peer group activities that are constructive and safe;  (4) provides
opportunities for athletics, recreation, and socializing across the wide
variety of interests that kids have;  (5) effectively intervenes in
cases of domestic violence;  (6) effectively promotes and supports teen
pregnancy prevention; and (7) promotes non-violent dispute resolution. 

Offer economic alternatives and build effective schools.

  The opportunities of drug trafficking offer enormously tempting routes
to reach the American dream of prosperity.  Ending prohibition will
close off much of the huge underground economy.  Training in the
legitimate tools of entrepreneurship must be offered to our children,
and economic opportunities need to be created to provide real
alternatives to crime for the young.  In addition to an education that
prepares our youth for the workplace of the 21st century, youth must
learn that for them opportunity truly exists. 

  Ending drug prohibition is the key to sharply reducing the violence
and crime that make business investment in inner cities such an
infrequent reality.  The elimination of prohibition-related crime will
draw manufacturing, research and development, retail, and housing into
communities with readily available labor that are already equipped with
the infrastructure of rental buildings, public utilities, and

  7.  Be honest and self-critical

  In September 1994, the Research Triangle Institute (a highly-respected
research institution hired by the National Institute of Justice to study
high school drug abuse prevention programs) reported that D.A.R.E.  --
the largest drug abuse prevention program in the country -- was
ineffective in reducing drug use among teenagers.  The Justice
Department chose not to publish the study, and D.A.R.E.  America
attempted to intimidate the American Journal of Public Health when its
editors decided to publish these important conclusions.  If policymakers
were really concerned that a large percentage of teenagers were truly
becoming much less fearful of cocaine use, they would to take action to
protect children from the inadequacies of drug prevention programs that
receive over $400 million in Federal funds annually. 

  8.  Respect other peoples, other nations and other cultures

  It is pathetic for America to blame other countries for our drug
problems.  Government corruption is a global epidemic that is spread by
drug prohibition, and tragically such corruption exists in many places
in the United States.  America s failed domestic drug policies aggravate
the corruption problems in many other societies. 

  Careful economic research has shown that there is no crop eradication
strategy and no military operation overseas that can substantially
reduce the availability of drugs in the U.S.  The notion that it is more
efficient or more economical to stop drugs at the source has been
conclusively shown to be false.  To deploy military or paramilitary
forces against peasants who grow coca or opium not only wastes money, it
politically strengthens anti- Western, anti-government political
insurgencies.  To incarcerate mules who are at the bottom of the
distribution organizations is a waste of very expensive prison space. 

  Indians in Peru and Bolivia chew coca leaf, and professionals drink
coca tea -- these are harmless practices.  Those practices are the
business of those societies, not ours.  It is silly that coca users in
Peru and Bolivia are international outlaws in violation of the Single
Convention on Narcotics.  Under regulation and genuine control, coca
growing will be less profitable than it is now. 

  U.S. anti-narcotics policy now includes a variety of economic
development schemes for the Andes.  Andean economic development must be
sustainable; it will never succeed dependent on gimmicks, subsidies, or
price supports.  As long as prohibition remains in place, legitimate
economic development can never be an effective anti- narcotics strategy
because the legitimate economy can never be more profitable than
prohibition-induced drug trafficking or cultivation. 

  In our own country, peyote (which contains the entheogenic alkaloid
mescaline) is the sacrament of the Native American Church.  The use of
peyote by members of the church has been protected under Federal law
(but not state law) since 1965.  There is no evidence of a peyote abuse
problem, but Indians and non-Indians are prosecuted for their possession
of peyote.  With the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom
Act Amendments of 1994, Native Americans will no longer be subject to
criminal prosecution and religious persecution by various states for
possession or use of peyote for bona fide traditional ceremonial
purposes in connection with the practice of a traditional Indian
religion.  Spiritual peyote use is no more drug use than sacramental
wine consumed at Communion is drug use, and thus religious peyote use
must be protected.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms
that all people are free to be religious seekers.  Peyote use by
non-Indians is not a social or public health problem.  All Americans
should be free to use peyote in a religious manner, without regard to
their race or parentage. 

  9.  Recognize that drugs are a major commodity in international trade

  Drugs have been a part of international trade since coffee, tea and
spices were introduced to Europe centuries ago.  This trade has never
been stopped by banning it, and it can t be.  Take control of this
enormous trade away from criminals and corrupt customs officials by
regulating it and taxing it. 

  What the world community needs from the U.S. is a substantially
intensified fight against the enormous power of prohibition-based drug
trafficking cartels.  The legitimate elements in Colombia and Mexico,
for example, are continually being subverted by prohibition-financed
corruption.  The U.S. should deploy its largely incorrupt Justice and
Treasury Departments against the highest level drug traffickers, and
after prohibition is ended, continue the fight against other criminal
subversion of legitimate governments and the global economy. 

  Simultaneously, the U.S. should renounce increasing cigarette exports
as a principal objective of U.S. trade policy.  It is not criminal,
simply despicable, to push an addictive and dangerous drug on others. 
Americans, pushing tobacco in Asia, are as contemptible as the British
when they forced China to accept Indian opium in the 19th century. 

  10.  Be creative and flexible to meet our goals

  Through regulation, encourage means of drug administration that are
less harmful and easier to control -- physically, socially, culturally,
and legally.  Be restrictive of more harmful means, or means that are
harder to control.  For example, try to limit smoking of drugs --
nicotine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana -- which gives intense rushes but
which is much more harmful and harder to control than other forms of
ingestion.  Smoking can be discouraged.  Oral ingestion is less intense,
less habit-forming, and less harmful, and perhaps can be encouraged as
an alternative when appropriate. 

  11.  Turn down the volume on drug messages  

  Drugs should neither be promoted, nor hysterically attacked.  Prevent
drug advertising from being aimed at youth, for example, via Spuds
MacKenzie (the dog promoting Budweiser) or Camel cigarette s Joe
Camel/Smooth Character, or in youth- oriented media. 

  Keep anti-drug messages in front of children but keep them reasonable
and truthful.  The This is your brain, This is your brain on drugs, Any
questions?  TV spot featuring a skillet and frying eggs is an example of
a ludicrous anti-drug message.  Its dishonesty and exaggeration invited
contempt.  Some young people asked friends to get stoned by saying,
 Want to fry an egg?  To bombard children with the message that the most
important thing in world is that you shouldn t do drugs inevitably is an

  TV PSAs that show realistic scenarios affirming kids who decline drugs
offered by friends are important.  Anti-drug messages should be
interspersed with appropriate messages regarding safer-sex and pregnancy
prevention practices, staying in school, non- violence, etc.  TV PSAs
should be part of community-wide, integrated anti-drug programs such as
Project STAR, developed with NIDA assistance. 


  Whatever we do about drugs, sadly there will continue to be drug use
and drug abuse.  By thinking about drug use as a moral crusade, and
maintaining prohibition and
 zero tolerance, we exempt the drug trade from any regulation and
control.  Prohibition maximizes the violence and disease associated with
drugs.  Prohibition keeps drugs inordinately profitable and continuously
tempts people -- all over the world -- to sell them for easy money. 
This proposed anti-prohibition strategy is not for legalizing drugs for
 legalization s sake -- ending prohibition is simply the recognition
that legal markets are more easily controlled, regulated, and
effectively policed, more humane toward those who are ensnared in the
miseries of drugs, and ultimately cost-effective. 

  Those who propose that the fight against drug abuse can only take
place if there is an enforced consensus and no debate or discussion of
the issues are ignorant of history.  The existence of facts is not
determined by a vote.  Those who believe that only prohibition can
reduce drug use ignore the 44 million Americans who have quit smoking

  Those who favor prohibition who refuse to talk with those who
criticize prohibition demonstrate to the world that they lack confidence
in their position.  If those who promote the current strategy were
confident that it was effective, they would welcome debate, not fear the
criticism implicit in the advocacy of legalization. 

  James Burke, the Chairman of the Partnership for a Drug Free America,
is concerned that allowing discussion of legalization demotivates the
anti-drug warriors.  That is probably true, but that is not the fault of
the legalizers, it is the fault of the drug war strategy, for the
Strategy is failing and the few successes are insignificant.  If those
in the trenches fighting the drug war believed they were successful,
they would not be
 demotivated by anything said by the relative handful of legalizers.  If
they are demoralized probably it is because, in their hearts, they know
they are not succeeding.  If the chairmen of Ford, Chrysler or General
Motors said that Toyota and BMW should not be allowed to advertise, or
Saabs and Hondas should not be reviewed in Car and Driver because it
demotivated their workers, it would appear they were afraid of the
marketplace and we would consider them unfit to lead their corporations. 

  The American people give the Federal government failing grades in the
fight against drugs and they know that our current strategy is not
working.  But they are tired of being afraid of being robbed or burgled
or shot at, and seeing kids on drugs, and they want changes and positive

  When Americans are asked if they favor legalization, they dissent
strongly.  What models of legalization have they had the opportunity to
consider? They don t want crack sold in the Safeway or heroin sold like
popcorn.  For good reason they don t want drugs (and alcohol and
tobacco) sold to their kids. 

  But is the only drug policy choice one between the current, failed
approach of prohibition or the pure, unregulated free-market that
actually exists almost nowhere in the American economy?  Is the world of
drug policy somehow uniquely only black or white? The reality is that
there is a middle ground of regulation and control, consistent with
traditional American values and capitalism, that offers us hope of
helping more people, reducing crime and violence, preventing disease,
and protecting individual privacy. 

  The Atlanta Resolution says that legalization is a simplistic
solution, and thus should be rejected.  In reality, legalization is much
less simplistic than prohibition, zero tolerance or just say no.  To
reject all proposals, even the sophisticated ones, without reading them
and critiquing them, is evidence of fear, not confidence in the
correctness of the Strategy of prohibition. 

  To remotivate America to fight drugs requires an effective,
sophisticated, non- prohibition strategy that is free of the hypocrisy,
exaggeration, viciousness, divisiveness and partisanship that has
characterized the war on drugs. 

  What America could use is a good dose of fair and honest discussion
about drug policy.  If we won t talk calmly with each other about one of
our nation s most serious problems, then truly, our democracy is likely
to fail and fade away. 

                          ERIC E. STERLING
     Eric E. Sterling is the President of The Criminal Justice Policy
  Foundation.  His analysis of criminal justice issues is regularly
  sought by top Federal officials and the national news media.  He
  frequently lectures at colleges and universities, and to professional
     Mr. Sterling served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives
  Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989.  On the staff of the
  Subcommittee on Crime, (Rep. William J. Hughes (D-NJ), Chairman), he
  was responsible for many issues including drug enforcement, gun 
  control, money laundering, organized crime, pornography, terrorism,
  corrections, and military assistance to law enforcement. He was a
  principal aide in developing the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of
  1984, the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988. 
     Since 1981 he has worked closely with the nation s police to blunt
  attacks on the 1968 Gun Control Act, and to more effectively control
  armor piercing ammunition, plastic firearms, machine guns, assault 
  weapons, and explosives. 
     Mr. Sterling was an adjunct lecturer at The American University,
  School of Justice.  He is admitted to the Supreme Court of the United 
  States and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  He is a member of the
  American Bar Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the
  American Public Health Association.  Mr. Sterling has been honored by
  the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Postal
  Inspection Service for his assistance to their law enforcement 
     A criminal justice system that is honest, fair and effective is
  one of America s most important institutions.  The character of our
  national life depends upon our safety and our liberty which depend 
  upon the integrity and effectiveness of our justice system.  It was
  an awareness of the grave threats to the American criminal justice
  system that inspired Boston-businessman and philanthropist Robert C.
  Linnell to establish The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in 1988.
  The foundation is a non-profit educational tax-exempt charity under
  section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 
     The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation promotes innovative
  solutions to problems facing the criminal justice system. The 
  foundation assists policy makers, criminal justice professionals,
  and the public to prevent crime and improve the quality of justice
  by disseminating information through education programs,
  publications, and the news media.  The foundation also provides
  advice regarding legal organization, outreach, research, media
  relations, legislation, and coalition building.  The foundation
  provides speakers to all types of organizations. 
     The foundation is collaborating with other foundations, the
  National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and the Office of Juvenile
  Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department on Justice, in
  sponsoring a National Forum on Youth Violence, May 31 - June 2, 1995. 
     The foundation supports the educational work of the National Drug
  Strategy Network (NDSN).  The Network distributes a comprehensive
  monthly newsletter, NewsBriefs and meets periodically in Washington,
                  For more information, contact:
             The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation 
                  1899 L Street, NW, Suite 500 
                   Washington, DC 20036-3804  
                      phone: 202-835-9075.