To the Editor:

William Edward’s column (“Why we shouldn’t desert the war on drugs,” 3/19) mentioned that the drug war should not be abandoned because illicit drugs “spawn violent attacks” and “tear families apart.”

Unfortunately, Edwards failed to recognize these same acts resulting from the drug war.

The drug war is just as guilty — if not more — of these offenses as the drugs themselves. Besides the violence depicted between drug enforcement and criminals in the movie “Traffic,” there are too many other examples of violence stemming from the drug war.

Because the illicit drug market has a limited supply combined with a highly inelastic demand, the cost of drugs is significantly high. Far too often, drug users resort to violent crime to obtain the money for their habits.

Furthermore, violent crime is a necessary condition for any underground market, especially the illicit drug trade. The drug war has also torn thousands of families apart by jailing drug users and dealers.

Despite failing to address the flaws of the drug war’s approach on the supply side,

Edwards nobly suggested alleviating the drug problem on the demand side by emphasizing education, treatment and the family. Hopefully articles like this will lead to a new, less violent war on drugs.

Matthew Louchheim ’04

March 19, 2001