Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is drug enforcement making us safer?

As reported by Martha Mendoza, Associated Press reporter in Mexico City, published in the Los Angeles Times on April 26, 2010, scientists associated with the International Centre For Science in Drug Policy have issued a meta-analysis of studies that examined the linkage between intensified drug enforcement and violence. They hypothesized that more drug enforcement would reduce drug trafficking related violence, but they found that the studies showed the opposite result. They evaluated 15 studies published between 1989 and 2006.

The U.S. Drug Czar continues to reveal his cluelessness, as reported in this story:

U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, asked about the findings, said the U.S. government is shifting its emphasis toward prevention and treatment of drug abuse, but he said the prohibition on drugs must remain and enforcement must continue.

"I don't know of any reason that legalizing something that essentially is bad for you would make it better, from a fiscal standpoint or a public health standpoint or a public safety standpoint," he said.

The "shift in emphasis" Kerlikowske asserts is illusory. Look at the anti-drug budget he issued in February. The percentage of the Federal anti-drug budget devoted to "demand reduction" that was 35.0 percent in FY 2010 would increase to all of 36.0 percent in FY 2011, if the President's request is enacted. This percentage does not include the costs of the Federal prisons and other other enforcement expenses.

Bush Administration "Drug Czar" John Walters said the violence is between traffickers, and therefore indicates success! I guess innocent bystanders caught in the cross-fire should be thankful.

Follow-up 24 hours later---

The New York Times
World Briefing | THE AMERICAS
Mexico: Gun Battle Outside School
Published: April 28, 2010

Three people were killed in a drive-by shooting in front of children playing outside during recess in a kindergarten and elementary school in the border city of Ciudad Juárez on Wednesday, a local newspaper reported. Gunmen in one car opened fire on another as it traveled past the school, killing two men and a woman inside, the paper, El Diario de Juárez, reported. Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen burst into a bar in the city, took eight men or boys out to the parking lot and executed them, the Chihuahua State prosecutor’s office said. Despite the presence of more than 10,000 soldiers and police officers in the city, violence continues unabated.
A version of this brief appeared in print on April 29, 2010, on page A12 of the New York edition.

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