A couple of years ago in an interview with CNN, the former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said that the only way the worldwide problem would be solved was if drug consumption in the U.S. and Europe was reduced. In other words, he said the demand in the U.S. and Europe was what influenced the supply in his and other Latin American countries.
He and two other former Latin American presidents – Fernando Cardoso of Brazil and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico – argued that rather than spending $4 billion on sending drug users to jail, the U.S. should “use more of the resources in the health system, in treatment and taking some people out of jail.” They believed that this tactic would save lives both in the U.S. and in Latin America.
Recently, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation that would require adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening. If they test positive for drug-use, they will be denied benefits. Scott says that Florida tax-payers shouldn’t be subsidizing drug addiction. But Representative Corrine Brown is opposed to the legislation and says the testing represents “an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy.”
What do you think? Is all fair in love and the drug war? Is it right to criminalize drug use? Is it right to use it to prevent people from receiving welfare assistance? Or is thinking of drug use as an illness in need of treatment, not jail time, a better way to solve the drug problems in the U.S. and abroad?