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The Washington City Paper (“Magic Pill,” 10/26) abandons objective journalism by accepting Alan Leshner’s lies, dissembling, and propaganda for drug prohibition at face value without the withering criticism that such nonsense deserves.

What Leshner seeks to hide is the fact that drug use caused no societal problems worthy of mention before the drug laws went on the books. No one was robbing, whoring, or murdering over drugs when addicts could buy all of the heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium, and anything else they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner pharmacy. When drugs were legal, addicts held regular employment, raised decent families, and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors. Overdoses were virtually unheard-of when addicts used cheap, pure Bayer heroin instead of the expensive toxic potions prohibition puts on the streets. (See The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/ Library/studies/cu/cumenu.htm.)

Where drug crime was once unheard-of we now have prisons overflowing with drug users. Where addicts once lived normal lives, we have hundreds of thousands of shattered families. Where overdoses were once extremely rare, we have tens of thousands of drug deaths every year. The addiction rate is now three times greater than when we had no laws at all.

Alan Leshner and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) do not want people to know that virtually all of the “drug problems” we currently have are the direct result of drug prohibition, not the drugs themselves. Never in its entire history has NIDA accomplished a single thing that lowered drug abuse, so Alan Leshner is nothing more than a propaganda agent with a bag of harmful deceptions to inflict on society.

The universally bad results of drug prohibition mark it as a destructive policy that should be abandoned.

San Francisco