DEALogo DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Briefing Book

A Word About Drug Legalization

DEA Statement Response
So many challenges face federal, state and local law enforcement as we deal on a daily basis with the crime and violence drug trafficking breeds. There are days when the odds seem enormous. The situation, however, is never so bleak as to justify the legalization of drugs.


The DEA says this, and even has "demand reduction" agents whose job it is to convince other people that legalization is a bad idea.  Yet they will never show up for any kind of debate or open discussion in which these issues can be honestly examined. 
Many people contend that the legalization of drugs will solve our current crime problems, reduce drug abuse, and lessen the violence and profit associated with drug trafficking. They are simply wrong and uninformed. Legalization of drugs would be a disaster of the highest order. The arguments for legalization are a sad and bitter offering to the most vulnerable segment of our population.


Legalization would increase risks and costs to individuals, families, and communitiesindeed to every part of the nation without compensating benefits. Greater availability of drugs would lead to greater use and more overall problems associated with drug abuse. Society would contend with more transportation crashes and more industrial accidents due to impaired judgment, more educational failures, more homelessnesss, more destroyed careers and families, more child abuse and domestic violence, more AIDS, and more babies born addicted or retarded. This is an oft-repeated claim with no concrete basis in fact.
But, above all, legalization would send our children the wrong message. Our children are our most precious natural resource and they deserve better from us. How many people do we have to throw in prison to send the right message to our children?  Anyone who thinks that throwing people in prison in massive numbers is a good way to communicate with children needs a basic communcations class.
We must not abrogate our responsibility to ensure that they have the safest, healthiest possible environment to grow up in; and a healthy environment certainly does not, cannot, include deadly drugs. By the Federal Government's own surveys, teens report that it is easier to obtain illegal drugs than the legal drug, alcohol. By the word of our own teenagers, the DEA has obviously failed in this goal.
Legalization is a simplistic response to a complex problem which took years to develop, and which requires some time to fix. In responding to this proposal, here are compelling reasons why legalization is a dangerous and foolish idea. The DEA has obviously failed to read any of the Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.
Crime, violence and drug use go hand-in-hand:
It is the experience of many local police officers that crime is not only committed because people want to buy drugs, but more often because people use drugs. Drug use changes behavior and exacerbates criminal activity.
The DEA fails to note that most drug-related violence is due to alcohol.   See Psychoactive Substances and Violence, by the US Department of Justice.
Legalization would lead to increased use and increased addiction levels:
Legalization sends a message that drug use is acceptable, and would encourage use among groups who do not use drugs now. When drugs have been widely available in the United States as morphine was at the time of the Civil War and cocaine was at the turn of the century both use and addiction rose.
Health and societal costs would increase:
Any tax revenues reaped from legalizing and taxing drugs would soon evaporate into drug treatment costs, health care costs for drug-related disease, and the myriad costs associated with the increased family violence that would result.
This simply isn't true.  See, for example, the Federal Financial Analysis of the Legalization of Drugs.  For the complete version of the DEA's claim, along with the rebuttal, see Claim III.
There are no compelling medical reasons to prescribe marijuana to sick people:
Despite claims to the contrary by proponents of legalization, marijuana has not been clinically proven to relieve pain and suffering. Not one American health association accepts marijuana as medicine.
Marijuana is most certainly medicinal, as shown by the fact that its primary active ingredient, THC, is a prescription medicine.  See the Marinol Brochure.

In addition, the latest reports from the National Institute of Health shows that the NIH panel believes it does have medicinal properties -- directly contradicting the DEA.

Even if there were no medical uses for marijuana, there are no compelling reasons why we would have to punish sick people for trying to relieve their own suffering with marijuana.

For a more detailed examination of these points, see the DEA's full Claim V

Despite our daily frustrations at the enormity of the drug problem in our nation, and indeed, around the world, we cannot afford to diminish our efforts to improve the quality of life for all Americans. As long as drugs are widely available, and organizations such as the Cali mafia continue to live off the misery of thousands upon thousands of people, the DEA will work every day to make communities safer by dismantling the most violent and highest-level drug trafficking organizations around the world.  



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