Arts & Culture

Solving the Drug Problem

I have been on both sides of the drug war and I can tell you that the war has been lost. Today more people use or have used illegal drugs than ever before. It is time to fix this national … Read More

By / November 7, 2008

I have been on both sides of the drug war and I can tell you that the war has been lost. Today more people use or have used illegal drugs than ever before. It is time to fix this national nightmare.

When I was an undercover agent for the Kansas Attorney General, we had meetings with the DEA and FBI about the need to make more drug arrests. Why? To make the streets safer? To help get people off drugs? No–to insure higher caseloads so we had more money coming in from the feds. It was all about Power and Money.

Just like with gambling. Why has the government allowed so many casinos? Our government wants the tax dollars. Same with the lottery–basically a legalized "numbers racket." Yet if you have a poker game at home or as the local bartender you take sports bets, it’s a felony and you can go to prison. The difference? In the activities they allow, the government gets the vig (the percentage a bookie takes). Same with alcohol. The government once tried to ban booze. It didn’t work. So now the government taxes it, takes a cut of the revenues, and punishes any negative behavior (drunk driving, etc.) that may result.

Why not do the same with drugs (and prostitution too)? Tax the product, make the distribution safer, and punish any negative behavior. Also, legal drugs that are safer than heroin, etc., exist today. One element in legalizing alcohol was that it would take dangerous moonshine off the street. There are legal drugs that can take deadly drugs off the street. The government just needs to make those safer drugs more widely available.

The new White House should convene a commission on revamping our entire approach to the drug problem and I’d love to be on it. (BTW, I’m on the board of directors of Renaissance West, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic). If we don’t take a new approach, the drug problem is only going to get worse. Eighty percent of the people in prison are there because of drugs or drug-related crime. I know–I was one of them. Solve the drug problem and you solve our crime problem. It can be done.

Craig Glazer, author of The King Of Sting: The Amazing True Story of a Modern American Outlaw, spent the last week guest-blogging on Jewcy. Want more? Get his book!