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DEA Don Dismisses Ecstasy Rave Connection

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Ex US Drugs Enforcement Agency boss Robert Bonner announced this week that ecstasy is no longer primarily found at clubs and raves in America, significantly departing from the stance maintained by his former employers.

"In the past, ecstasy was most commonly associated with the big-city club scene and popular all-night dance parties known as raves. This is no longer the case," Bonner declared. "Ecstasy use has spread to bars, college campuses, and high schools and junior high schools across the country." (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The former secret police chief urged his successors to take even harsher measures against drugs, in stark contrast to business guru Christopher Farrell who this week called for a "new kind of drug war'.

"It's time to consider a dramatic shift in policy, Instead of the battle cry 'war on drugs,' let's try the mantra 'legalization, regulation, and taxation'," Mr Farrell suggested in his column in Business Week. "We should regulate narcotics just as we do cigarettes and alcohol, restricting sales to minors and imposing steep excise taxes."

"Indeed, the model for dealing with alcohol is instructive," he continued. "Banning alcohol outright in the US was a public policy disaster. Ending Prohibition quickly cleaned up the liquor industry. Gangsters were denied a lucrative source of income, and violent crime associated with the business fell," he pointed out.

His suggestions echoed the stance taken by the even more respected publication The Economist who several years ago compared the US authorities' current approach to a "medieval witch hunt'.

"The Economist has long argued that drugs should be decriminalised," the magazine declared in 2001.

"But a policy of increased repression will surely result in thousands of people being thrown in prison for sins that are little worse than those alleged of the youthful George Bush: being young and irresponsible," the magazine presciently predicted.