The Book of Ron Paul
1998 Ron Paul Chapter 46

Wasting Money On War On Drugs

5 May 1998

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Congressional Record (Page H2762)   Cached

1998 Ron Paul 46:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, as I said, in most of our history, the control of drug abuse has never been a Federal issue. This is only very recent. This doesn’t diminish one’s concern. It’s respecting the Constitution, and it’s also emphasizing the fact that the more we have centralized our control and the more that we have tried to enforce the thing at the national level, the worse the problem has gotten.

1998 Ron Paul 46:2
I’ve many conservatives say we have an educational problem, and all they want to do is throw more money at it. I can’t see how this is any different. Yes, we have a major problem. But it gets worse, and all we do is throw more money at it with exactly the same programs.

1998 Ron Paul 46:3
My goal today is just to suggest, just to bring it to the Congress’s attention, that possibly we are not doing the right things. And if we would ever come to admitting that, then maybe we will not have to suffer the abuse of how the war on drugs goes awry.

1998 Ron Paul 46:4
For instance, we have had this war on drugs, and there is no evidence even that we’ve been able to keep drugs out of our prisons. So maybe there is something we are doing wrong. Maybe we are treating a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. Maybe the cause is not legislatively correctable. That’s a possibility. Obviously there is a problem there, but we need to think about it. We need to take a consideration, and not ever to write off those of us who might say we don’t endorse the current approach as being one that might not be concerned about the issue.

1998 Ron Paul 46:5
Obviously I am concerned. I have five children, I have 13 grandchildren. I’m a physician. I have a great deal of concern. But I have also been involved and I have seen people who have suffered, and, therefore, I have probably a slightly different approach to the problem.

1998 Ron Paul 46:6
But I do think that we ought to look for a minute at the harm done with the war on drugs. So often there are victims from the war on drugs that go unnoticed. How often have we seen on television, how often have we read in our newspaper of a drug bust with hooded FBI agents and hooded DEA agents barging in to the wrong apartment and really tearing the place up, confiscating property of people who’d never committed a crime?

1998 Ron Paul 46:7
Why are we at the point now that we permit the war on drugs to be fought without due process of law? All they have to be is a suspect. All you have to do is have cash these days, and the government will come and take it from you. And then you have to prove your innocence. That’s not the Constitution. We have gone a long way from the due process. Our job here is to protect the civil liberties of individuals. Yes, we ought to try to influence behavior. And yes, we ought to make laws against illegal behavior; national, when necessary, but local when the Constitution dictates it. But at the rate we are going, we are making very, very little progress.

1998 Ron Paul 46:8
I have a suspicion that there are motivations behind the invasion of privacy. Because government so often likes to know what people are doing, especially in the financial area, this has been a tremendous excuse to accuse anybody who spends anything in cash of being a drug dealer, because they want to know where the cash is. This is part of the IRS collection agency, because they’re worried about collecting enough revenues.

1998 Ron Paul 46:9
And yet we carelessly say, well, a little violation of civil liberties is okay, because we are doing so much good for the country and we are collecting revenues for the government. But we can’t casually dismiss these important issues, especially, if anything I suggest, that this war on drugs is, or the problem of drugs in perspective is not nearly what some people claim it to be, and that many people are dying from other problems rather than these.

1998 Ron Paul 46:10
I would like to suggest in closing some of the things that we can consider. First, let’s consider the Constitution, for instance. We have no authority to create a Federal police force. That’s not in the Constitution.

1998 Ron Paul 46:11
So we ought to consider that. It’s a State problem. It’s a State law enforcement problem. Most of our history, it was dealt that way.

1998 Ron Paul 46:12
I think education is very important; people who know what is going on. We should, if anything, be emphasizing the educational process. Possibly my medical background influences me into what I am going to say next; and that is, could we conceive of looking at some of this problem of addiction as a disease rather than a criminal act? We do this with alcohol. Maybe that would help the problem.

1998 Ron Paul 46:13
But is it conceivable that we are looking at a symptom that the drug problem, the drug craze, is a reflection of moral values in the society?

1998 Ron Paul 46:14
You know, we can’t get rid of teenage illegitimacy by writing a national law against teenage pregnancy. And we’re not likely, we haven’t been able to get rid of drug usage, teenage drug usage, by writing national laws and coming down with the armed might of the Federal Government. So I do not think the current process is going to work.

1998 Ron Paul 46:15
Kids go on drugs because they’re seeking happiness, they are alone, they are in broken families. And this is a problem that will not be solved by more laws and a greater war on drugs. We have 80,000 Federal policemen now carrying guns. Character is what is needed. Laws do not create character. This does not dismiss us from expressing concern about this problem, but let’s not make the problem worse.

1998 Ron Paul 46:16
In 1974, Switzerland passed a law that said that the doctor could prescribe medication for addicts. I, as a physician, if an addict comes into my office and I agree to give him drugs which would support his habit, because I figure for him to go out on the street and shoot somebody for it is a little worse than me trying to talk him into a program by giving him drugs for a while, I am a criminal. I am a criminal today if I decide that somebody should use or could use marijuana if they are dying with cancer or AIDS and they are dying of malnutrition because they can’t eat. There should be a little bit of compassion in this movement.

1998 Ron Paul 46:17
Again, we cannot distract from the serious problem of the drug war, but all I do is I beg and plead for my colleagues to just say, let’s look at the truth. Let us read the news carefully, let’s look at the Constitution, like we do when it is convenient, and let us consider another option. It can’t be any worse than what we are doing.

1998 Ron Paul 46:18
We have too many people on drugs, and this resolution makes my point. The war on drugs has failed. Let us do something different. Let us not pursue this any longer.

1998 Ron Paul 46:19
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


1998 Ron Paul 46:1
Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Here, Ron Paul starts using time he reserved in 1998 Ron Paul 45:29.

1998 Ron Paul 46:15
Here, Congressional Record makes a big misquote, writing carrying drugs where Ron Paul says, carrying guns.

1998 Ron Paul 46:19
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. Ron Paul continues using this time in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 47.

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