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New York Post Columnist: Call Drug War by True Name -- Prohibition


June 1993

Americans must begin to call the war on drugs by its real name -- Prohibition -- writes columnist Sidney Zion in a May 24 column (Sidney Zion, "Call Antidrug War By Its Real Name," New York Post, 5/24/93, p. 18).

Writes Zion: "Prohibition turns 80 next year. I say we give her a dinner and a pair of golden handcuffs and send her off to a nice country house where she can remember her noble intentions -- and pray forgiveness for the devastation she has wrought on the nation." Zion goes on to excoriate the critics of legalization, noting that even at its worst, alcohol prohibition never caused the harm caused by drug prohibition.

Those opposed to decriminalization charge that the English tried it and it didn't work, but, writes Zion, "the truth is, the English tried it and it did work -- until 1971, when they joined us on the Titanic and passed the Misuse of Drugs Act, a replica of what we do here: draconian penalties, search and seizures -- the works, American style."

Thirty years ago, the chief inspector of Scotland Yard, asked about England's drug problem, replied 'What drug problem?' writes Zion. But when Zion went to England a few years ago and asked the same of Scotland Yard, they told him it was their 'number one crime problem.' Unfortunately, writes Zion, nobody said "'America tried Prohibition and it didn't work.'"