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Elders Stands Her Ground

The following article was sent to me by Dale Greer ([email protected]), a subscriber to DRCNet. I have included his own remarks at the end.

Surgeon General still wants study on drug policy 15 January 1994, Reuters, New York

U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders said Friday that after reviewing a raft of studies, she remains convinced that the legalization of illicit drugs should be actively examined.

Dr. Elders raised a storm of controversy in mid-December after saying in response to a question that drug legalization should be studied.

Speaking Friday at a lunch organized by _Redbook_ magazine, she admitted that at the time of her original statement "the person asking the question obviously knew more about the question than I did."

But she said that after reading numerous studies, she stood by her views. "After reading most of that...I realized I probably made a more honest, above-board statement than I knew I had made," she told the group.

The administration has disavowed Dr. Elders' statements on drug legalization, saying President Clinton is opposed to the concept. There was no immediate White House or congressional reaction to her latest statements.

Dr. Elders said she did not know how drug legalization can be carried out. But she said she did not see how it could be condemned "until you do the study."

She said that if the government refuses to do the research, "I suspect I'll be going around to talk to major foundations, major universities, to really get them to do a solid, basic study to really look at that kind of issue."

The criminalization of drugs breaks down along racial lines, she said, with blacks 14 times more likely to be jailed for a drug offense than whites. Her son was arrested on a drug possession charge in Arkansas soon after her original remarks.



Sounds like she was winging it, popping off, speaking off the top of her head the first time! Apparently, this was no trial balloon, but an unpremeditated response.

But now she seems determined to see it through, even to the extent of rounding up private funding. Let's see now, how can *we* help?

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