COMMENTS: This Is Your Brain On Drugs

CBS led with the Homeland Security press conference touting its success in the War on Drugs. Anchor Katie Couric praised the Coast Guard as "the good guys." Its agents seized 21 tons of cocaine from a freighter traveling from Colombia to Mexico. The raid happened in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panama. Bob Orr's unidentified sources explained why US authorities got involved: if the cocaine had managed to arrive in Mexico, it would have been transported overland by narcotraffickers, who would then try transship it out of Gulf of Mexico ports to the southeast coast of this country. "There is no evidence that the demand for drugs here in the US is dropping."

CBS followed up with a survey of the general domestic state of the War on Drugs. Byron Pitts found out that illegal drug use is changing from narcotics (3m cocaine users nationwide) to pharmaceuticals (6m abuse prescription drugs). After the FBI shifted its focus to counterterrorism, "violent crime fueled by drugs has spiked in many parts of the country," Pitts observed. Yet narcotics still account for a minority of cases: in New York City, for example, 26% of homicides are drug-related. Pitts wanted the city's Police Commissioner to call it a scourge: "For you, the War on Drugs is the War on Crime," Pitts proposed. It is "a War on Crime," the top cop Raymond Kelly demurred.


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