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Drug Czar Leaving Post

Sources at the Washington-based Drug Policy Foundation have reported that Lee Brown, Director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy ("Drug Czar,") will announce his resignation today, Monday, December 12th. Brown will leave Washington to join the sociology faculty at Rice University in Houston. Brown is a former Houston police chief.

Within the last year, Brown's press coverage has increased markedly; the administration's goal, reportedly, has been that every household in America would have heard of Lee Brown and therefore consider President Clinton to be "tough on drugs." Brown's departure just prior to election season would therefore seem to undermine Clinton's political strategy.

According to informal reports, Brown was in favor of the Sentencing Commission's recommendation to lower crack cocaine penalties to the same level as powder cocaine, and asked the President not to sign Congress's bill which kept penalties the same. Brown's resignation may be in part due to anger over the President's actions. Such anger would be justified, since it was actually the Department of Justice under Janet Reno that authored the legislation and found Representatives and Senators (Republicans) to sponsor it. The crack powder has been widely criticized as being blatantly racist.

Gallup Poll on Drug War

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION Contact: Dave Fratello or Rob Stewart at (202) 537-5005

NEW GALLUP POLL ON DRUG WAR `THIN GRUEL' DPF `Shocked' at 73% Support for Using Military Domestically

WASHINGTON, December 12 -- A new Gallup poll on the drug war is too general to be useful in the drug debate, the Drug Policy Foundation charged today. That poll indicates relatively high levels of support for most aspects of current national drug policy, with high marks for anti-drug education, law enforcement and treatment efforts.

DPF Executive Director David C. Condliffe said, "This poll illustrates the depth of American fears, and the lack of creative leadership we have had on drug policy. I am absolutely unimpressed with this poll. It is thin gruel, because it is mainly a popularity ranking for various components of the drug war."

Condliffe continued, "What we need is a thorough, honest look at what Americans would do differently when they realize that drug prohibition has failed to control illegal drugs. That will require some tough questions, and there are no such animals in this Gallup poll."

DPF President Arnold S. Trebach said, "I was shocked to see that 73 percent of those polled support using the U.S. military within this country to fight drugs. We have the strongest, most capable military in this world. Are we Americans really so frustrated with prohibition that we would turn that army on ourselves?"

Trebach added, "This result underscores a key problem with the new poll. The popularity of anti-drug measures is ranked without any indication as to their track record in controlling drugs. I believe we would see very different results if the people being polled had some basic facts about the last 20 years of the drug war."

The Gallup poll also found low levels of support for legalizing drugs. Noting that the Drug Policy Foundation promotes alternative drug policies including forms of legalization, Condliffe said, "this poll makes no effort to define legalization or to explain why people support moving in that direction. Gallup just threw the word out there and got a response."

Condliffe continued, "Considering how demonized the concept of legalization is, I'm pleasantly surprised that it registered as high as it did -- 14 percent. Still, the result Gallup found is practically useless. We need a lot more education about alternatives to drug prohibition. This poll doesn't do it."


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