Letters to the Editor

Lane Tracy: Drug war profits

Arthur Benavie’s arguments for “Putting an end to drug war profits” (Aug. 5 Point of View) were solid, but he left out important details.

Many people, including blacks, believe that drug abuse occurs more frequently in black communities than in white communities. But studies have repeatedly shown that the percentage of drug abusers in these communities is about the same. So the police are actually short-changing themselves when they target black communities.

They would do better in the pursuit of profits from Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and forfeitures of property if they concentrated on drug abuse in white communities.

So is it stupidity or prejudice that causes them to focus on black communities?

Benavie also does not mention the fact that the war on drugs has flooded our prisons and triggered a whole new source of profits derived from privately built and operated prisons. But these drug war profits go to corporations, and the contracts require that we keep the cells filled or pay a penalty.

Thus the drug wars have resulted in America becoming the world leader in percentage of citizens incarcerated. Is that how we wish to prosper?

Lane Tracy