Speaker offers ways to curb drug use, trade

The Common Sense for Drug Policy concurred that the U.S. government has spent more than a trillion dollars on efforts to terminate drug trade in America. More importantly the money has been used towards tactics that have not worked.

Thursday at “Reconsider: A Forum on Drug Policy,” held at the FAMU Federal Credit Union, Kevin Zeese president of CSDP, discussed the racial injustices current drug policies have on blacks and latinos.

“The drug war has an incredible racial disparity in every step of the process,” Zeese said. “There are seven times as many white drug addicts than blacks, yet one out of two black men in urban areas will be arrested.”

According to Zeese, one out of four blacks in the nation will be incarcerated-all in the name of the national fight against the war on drugs.

He said the Reagan administration’s tactics of using armed forces to control borders and stop drugs from coming into the country actually caused “a glut of cocaine use” in the 80’s.

Zeese said he would like to see more minority support and leadership concerning changes to national drug policies.

He believes that drug education through programs like the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program does not curb drug use, but has reverse effects on youth.

“These programs show an increase in curiosity, which encourages adolescents to experiment,” Zeese said.

He pointed out that economic development and emphasis on public health are key alternative ways to curb drug use and trade.

Using the Swiss Experiment as an example, Zeese concluded that government sponsored systems which legalize the use of drugs are what should happen in the U.S.

However, he does not believe that the United States will adopt such a plan.

“American society is moralist based and opposed to pragmatic solutions,” Zeese said.

Gordon Radney, a senior computer information system student from Amberg, Germany agrees.

“It’s best to take a positive approach rather than take away choice and force people to get off drugs,” said the 21-year-old.

Olivia Rico already has found ways to get the word out about changing drug policies.

Rico, 23, a member of the board for Normal at Florida State University, helps organize events and protests against national policies on the war on drugs.

The senior sociology student hopes to organize a chapter for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SCDP) on FSU’s campus.

Zeese said he would like to see more minority support and leadership concerning changes to national drug policies.

“We need the voices of blacks to lead this program,” Zeese said.

If not, he can see that it’s going to come down to one of two situations:

“Drugs being controlled by criminals or (drugs) regulated by the government and taxed.”

Gabrielle Finley can be reached at Gabrielle_finley@hotmail.com.