For your liberty!
James Eyer
Candidate for U.S. Congress District 9

Talking Points: Drug War


  • Libertarians and I reject the notion that possession or sale of drugs is a crime, per se. Instead, anyone who engages in drug use that leads to physical harm or material damages, or that even endangers others (negligence), must be held accountable.
  • The war on drugs in the United States is a failure, a waste of taxpayer’s money, a source of significant infringement on individual liberty.
  • 85% or more of "drug-related" crime is associated with the following:
  1. possession of small amounts of drugs

  2. drug enterprises exist because there is a black market for drugs, so drug prices are high, profits are big, and the incentive to use violence is significant

  3. drug users commit criminal acts to get money to pay for high priced black market drugs
  • Initially the war on drugs was driven in mostly by racism. Today, most "collateral damage" from the war on drugs is inflicted upon people of color, especially among the poor.
  • The drug war industry employs tens of thousands of people many of whom have a built-in conflict of interest -- perpetuation of the war on drugs is in their professional, career, and monetary interest. Examples: local and state law enforcement, prison guards, DEA, prosecutors, military personnel, FBI.
  • Many parents want to share parental responsibility with government; especially that related to drug use.
  • Using the U.S. military to wage the war on drugs (in Columbia, for example) seems especially imprudent given needs for defense and security
  • Inconsistent punishment for drug-related offenses, especially in "minor" cases, engenders disrespect for the legal system overall. Persons without enough resources to pay for legal representation are the most likely to be punished more harshly.

Policies and Actions

  • We must remove black market profits from drugs - the problem.
  • Drug-users that cause harm to non-users or who endanger other people should be punished in a fashion similar to alcohol-related offenses or other forms of negligence.
  • We should stop incarcerating non-violent "drug offenders" and focus on ways to enable them to become productive citizens.
  • We must be more careful about eroding liberty and privacy in the name of any social issue.
  • A key element of a holistic drug policy is increased auto traffic safety law enforcement.
  • Perhaps the most important way to keep children and teens from drugs is for caring, loving, engaged parents to take responsibility.
  • Use resources from the war on drugs for:
  • positive, community based "diversions" for young people
  • drug treatment on demand (this is not based on compassion, it makes economic sense)

rev 7/14/04