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War on Drugs

June 12, 1988

Most of my law enforcement colleagues with whom I speak are shocked by the April 20 Times editorial ("Good Cause, Wrong Target"). You leave your readers with a dilemma--too many drugs and the inference that nothing can be done about our predicament.

Last year in Orange County, there were 180 cocaine- or heroin-related deaths. How many were there throughout the United States? How many are there that we don't discover? Where's the sensitivity for the people who have died from drugs?

Your editorial expresses concern about the cost of the "war on drugs" approved by the Senate on April 19. It's important to consider the total cost of the drug epidemic for the United States. In Orange County last year, the regional narcotic suppression program made up of federal and local law enforcement officers confiscated enough cocaine to get nearly every man, woman and child in California loaded.

The cocaine seized by this small, elite squad of men and women represented 29 million lines of cocaine. Additionally, they confiscated 2.5 million injections' worth of heroin and enough marijuana for 1 million cigarettes. There was also lots of hard cash laying around--$13 million of dope money. Remember, this is just what the one group of law enforcement officers uncovered in one county in one year.

We surely need to turn off the faucet of our drug consumption as you so clearly point out. There are many efforts under way to do just that, both from an enforcement perspective and a drug education perspective. But the faucet leads to the other end, the reservoir of supply. To be effective against drugs you have to work on both ends, and that's what the senators are trying to do.

The effort has to be within our own country and against countries such as Colombia and Mexico that only minimally seek the eradication of drug smuggling.



County of Orange

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