LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST DRUG PROHIBITION-Andrew Stelzer

09/22/04

A representative of Law Enforcement against prohibition, or LEAP, is spending the week in the Tampa bay area; this afternoon, he was at the Columbia restaurant speaking to the Ybor City rotary Club about what he says is a failed US policy—the war on drugs.

ACT you can get over an addiction, but never a conviction.�

Jack Cole retired as a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police. For twelve of those years Cole worked as an undercover narcotics officer.

ACT “By the year 200 ad every year since, we have arrested 1.6 million everyone of those lives is crippled,

Cole founded LEAP two years ago, he is one of about 1800 active and retired police officers, sheriffs, judges, and prosecutors all over the world who are members of leap because they feel that drug policies which criminalize the drug user do more harm than good.

ACT ‘We want to lower the instances of death, disease, crime and addiction—all 4 are made worse by the war on drugs.

In 1984, Cole stopped working in narcotics, because he saw the price of hard drugs like heroin falling, and their potency rising, as a result of their greater street value. This leads to overdoses. Cole said he began working in law enforcement when the war in drugs was just beginning, and it came to be for political reasons.

ACT ‘The war on drugs was created by Nixon in 1968. it had nothing to do with drugs, etc. when we hit the street …our bossed didn’t have any concept of how to fight the war on drugs, but they knew they had to milk the cash cow, and they had to pay their salary. And how do you do that ..you had to make the war in drugs look like they were a necessity…

ACT DEA was create din 1973, by 2001 it had tripled, although they tripled their staff, the budget go 20 time as large…1.5 billion a year to fight a failed war on drugs. I used to say give us all police..weve been giving em more police and money for 30 years and it gets worse.�

Cole said that keeping drugs illegal creates a financial incentive for dealers to continue selling them, and feeds the culture of violence and death, which surrounds drugs.

ACT ‘Between where they’re grown in Colombia and NYC the value increases by 17,000 percent..how about that for business…you only work 2 years..that’s exactly what one of these drug dealers believes. Whole armies of police offices can’t arrest ..when a uniformed police officer arrested someone for rape, that helps, when I arrested drug dealer, I was job opener.

Cole asked the audience of about 40 people to think about the role drugs has played in their own lives.

ACT “What I would ask you to do is think back to how many people you personally know that used drugs then went on to have a personally good life. I can think of some in politics, …Bill Clinton, I had perpetrated his friendship group, ad I’m not just pickin on democrats, what about Bush…vice president, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, the line is too long to enumerate, they also had something in common—selective amnesia, they forgot where they came from and suddenly they are telling the offices to ruin peoples lives so they cant get in positions of power.�

Cole has given hundred of speeches this year, he travels the country as one of the members of the LEAP speakers bureau. Most of the talks the leap speakers give are to groups such as rotary, and tiger bay clubs—places where people wouldn’t normally be exposed to the ideas of ending the drug war.

ACT ‘Instead of spending 69 billion a year, lets legalize drugs and spend the money on programs that you talk about in your rotary—education, healthcare, housing, jobs..can you imagine how that would reduce drug use?�

Cole spoke about Switzerland, where the government allows addicts to come into counseling centers for herion injections 3 times a day. Crime has dropped by 60 percent, aids and hepatitis dropped to lowest rate in Europe. He also mentioned successful drug legalization programs in the Netherlands. Two members of the audience challenged Cole, saying that The Netherlands is a filthy country. Cole responded that he had been to the Netherlands himself, and disagreed, he also pointed out that in Amsterdam, often seen as the haven of legalized drugs, the most rampant crime is bicycle theft.

ACT ‘In the Netherlands they have 20 percent of the murder rate per capita, percent of drug use rate..Kids don’t try marijuana, they did the same study—41 percent of our kids had tried it—they talked to the drug car in Amsterdam—they treat it as a health issue not a crime issue, we’ve managed to make pot boring, young people know that hen they are an adult and because they can buy hash they dont start at 14 years old, and if they don’t start in that 4 years they got a lot smarter an they don’t try it.�

WMNF asked some rotary club members what they thought about the ideas presented by Jack Cole.

ACTS

Jack Cole will be speaking at the Tampa downtown daybreak rotary Thursday morning at 7:15, and at the Temple Terrace Rotary at noon. For more information, lo on to www.leap.cc

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