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San Francisco's Big Newspapers Highlight Declarations of Drug War Failure


June 1993

The May 11 issues of the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner highlighted a declaration from the mayors and police chiefs of the Bay area's three largest cities that the war on drugs has failed (Marc Sandalow, "Bay Cities Say Drug War Failed: S.F., San Jose, and Oakland Want New Emphasis On Prevention," San Francisco Chronicle, 5/11/93, A1; Rachel Gordon, "Mayors, Police Chiefs Say War On Drugs Failed: Bay Area Big-City Officials Unite In Seeking New Strategy Stressing Prevention, Not Jail," San Francisco Examiner, 5/11/93, A2).

The officials from San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose united in declaring the nation's drug war a resounding failure and calling for a less punitive, more health-oriented approach. The officials noted that the billions of dollars spent yearly on arresting and imprisoning drug dealers and users could be better used for education, health, and prevention programs.

The officials signed a resolution written by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and former San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara. The resolution did not endorse legalization. In supporting the resolution, the signers highlighted both the high costs of arrest and imprisonment, and the failure of punitive efforts to sufficiently deter drug trafficking.