End Failed Drug War: Go After Kingpins

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2009 3:27 PM CDT
A Santa Muerte, or Grim Reaper pendant is displayed next to guns and ammunition magazines seized by the Mexican Army.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The "war on drugs" has been an abject failure—crowded jails and a still-thriving narcotics trade prove that—and it's time for some "visionary" thinking, writes Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The nation's not ready for legalization, but how about some concrete steps: Stop going after "penny-ante dealers and users," rescind draconian drug laws, and direct the money saved toward rehab for addicts and a fight against the kingpins.

Eric Holder should order the feds to "focus on the most violent drug offenders and the most profitable drug enterprises," writes Tucker. "No more drug busts that make evening news but only reel in low-level dealers. If the feds were to lead the way, local police authorities might get the message and redirect their resources as well. And we might finally have a policy that puts fewer people in prison while still keeping our streets safe."