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Drug prohibition increases violence

January 19, 2007

Re "Calderon's war," Opinion, Jan. 16

Denise Dresser has it all wrong. Drug trafficking did not spawn Mexico's organized crime networks. Just like alcohol prohibition gave rise to Al Capone, drug prohibition created the violent drug-trafficking organizations blamed for killing 1,500 people a year in Mexico. From a political perspective, Mexican President Felipe Calderon stands to benefit from the violence. The drug war is perpetuated by the mainstream media's complicity in refusing to put so-called drug-related crime in context. U.S. politicians have proved particularly adept at confusing the drug war's collateral damage with drugs themselves. Drug prohibition funds organized crime at home and terrorism abroad, which is then used to justify increasing drug war spending. It's time to end this madness.

ROBERT SHARPE

Washington

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.

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