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Bob Curley Criticizes National Drug Control Policy


November 1995

The editor of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, Bob Curley, suggests that we need to adopt a more sophisticated national drug control policy (Bob Curley, "America's Drug Policy Fairy Tale," Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, August 7, 1995, p. 8).

Curley points to recent public statements by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, and Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Lee Brown to argue that America's drug policy is hypocritical. More attention and money need to be spent addressing the nation's legal drug problem, he writes. Exclusive attention to illegal drugs sends children the wrong message:

How can we even talk about the "mixed messages" in harm reduction when our current policy is completely undermined by this good drug/bad drug dichotomy? Kids, the main target of our prevention messages, aren't stupid. They know that just because a drug is legal does not make it good. They also know that just because a drug is illegal does not make it bad -- just illegal. ... We need a drug policy that does not insult the intelligence of our increasingly savvy, sophisticated youth.

Curley suggests that government officials spend less time attacking groups that propose drug policy alternatives are more time concentrating on what he calls the "legal drug cartels."

[To contact Bob Curley, write to Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly at P.O. Box 9758, Providence, RI 02940-9758.]