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San Francisco Examiner: Shift Resources to Prevention in Drug War


February 1993

President Bill Clinton should shift resources from law enforcement to prevention, which has been grossly underfunded, according to the San Francisco Examiner (Editorial, "Drugs and the Wisdom of Owls," San Francisco Examiner, 1/6/93, A14).

The Examiner editorial suggested that "prevention should get at least a 50-50 split with enforcement, which hasn't proved a cure of any sort." At present, about 70 percent of federal drug funds go to enforcement.

The editorial observed that massive increases in penalties and arrests for drug-related crime during the 1980's have amounted to "hideous failures that nonetheless drain tens of billions of dollars from the nearly empty treasuries of local, state and federal governments."

The outcome, it noted is that "today, drug-related murder and mayhem are worse than ever. Courts are jammed. Prisons are filled. In spite of multibillion-dollar enforcement campaigns, the ugly truth is that anyone with $50 might need up to 25 minutes to find a connection in San Francisco for rock cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or almost anything else. In the law-abiding suburbs and farm country, such a search might take a few minutes longer."