Letter to the Editor

Real problem

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Dear Editor,

The response of Owen McPhillips perfectly illustrates the real drug problem in the U.S.

First, he starts with false assumptions. Let me assure Mr. McPhillips that I do not earn my living as an activist on any issue. In fact, I work a regular job like anyone else. Some of us just have an honest interest in a better approach to a major social problem, and we are willing to put some of our own time and money into the effort.

My particular effort was to go to university libraries and find the best research available and put it on the web, in full text, where everyone could read it and make their own decisions about what it meant. Nobody paid me to do it. I just figured that education is a good thing.

Mr. McPhillips response is typical of those who support prohibition. He isn't interested in reading anything and, when confronted with facts, he resorts to schoolyard name-calling. This kind of mindless bigotry is the real heart of prohibition.

In 1973, President Nixon's U.S. National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse completed the largest study of the drug laws ever done. At the end of their study they said that the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of the people who had never bothered to read the most basic research. In a perfect illustration of their point, Nixon refused to read his own report.

More than 30 years later, Owen McPhillips proves their point is still true -- and that's the real drug problem.

Clifford Schaffer

Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy

Agua Dulce, Calif.

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