Thursday, July 28, 2005

Drug czar on tour

Our big boss prohibitionist is on the road again making a stop in Hawaii to survey the damage his drug war is doing.
He says Hawaii's stepped up efforts to intercept methamphetamine, as well as its 18-year program of aerial spraying of marijuana fields offer lessons for the rest of the country.
However, if he really wants to learn something, perhaps Mr. Walters should be visiting Oregon instead. They're not so thrilled with his pronouncements there.
Here's a tip for members of Congress who are frustrated over the White House drug czar's shaky understanding of the methamphetamine epidemic: Make him read The Oregonian's Metro section every morning.

...The common denominator in these depressingly frequent stories is not marijuana use, which Walters' office regards as an epidemic and the nation's No. 1 illicit drug problem. The connecting link is meth use, which Walters' office does not view as an epidemic.

No wonder Congress is riled. When the national drug czar's priorities clash so harshly with a majority of American sheriff's departments, which consider meth the leading drug problem in their counties, something is seriously amiss.

This disconnect has given rise to a House Methamphetamine Caucus, composed of more than 100 members of Congress, including the entire House delegations of Oregon and Washington. Its goals include securing adequate funding for local law enforcement efforts against meth and educating the federal bureaucracy about the scourge.

Funny, but you'd think that would be the drug czar's job. The fact that it isn't suggests that the White House has been out of touch, even as the meth epidemic has spread eastward from the West Coast to afflict almost every state.

Part of the problem is that Walters' office measures its success by reductions in use of all illicit drugs. That means meth automatically gets less attention than marijuana because millions more people are using pot.
Not to mention consuming it responsibly. It's not that difficult to figure out how he gauges his priorities. If the ONDCP was actually targeting dangerous drugs, he'd have to spend his time touring inner cities and trailer parks instead of Hawaiian islands.


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