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Six  years in the making, Drug Crazy offers a gripping account of the stunning violence, corruption, and chaos that have characterized America s drug war since its inception in 1914.

Weaving a provocative analogy between the drug scene today and the failure of alcohol Prohibition in the 1920's, Drug Crazy argues that the greatest danger we face is prohibition itself. While the target of our nation s controlled substance laws may have shifted from hooch to heroin, the impact on society discriminatory policing, demonization of the users, graft and grandstanding among law makers and law breakers is an instant replay. Instead of Al Capone, we have Larry Hoover of Chicago's Gangster Disciples running a multi-million dollar drug syndicate out of his prison cell in Joliet.

In a riveting account of how we got here, conventional wisdom is turned on its head and we find that, rather than a planned assault on the scourge of addiction, the drug war happened almost by accident, like a trunk tumbling downstairs, kicked along by political opportunists. From the explosive opening montage of undercover cops caught in a shoot-out on Chicago s south side to a humid courtroom in Malaysia where a young American faces death by hanging for possession of marijuana, Drug Crazy takes us to the front lines of the war on drugs and introduces us to a cast of villains and heroes, profiteers and victims. Among them:

  •  Pauline Morton Sabin, a Republican aristocrat who administered the coup de grace to Prohibition by leading a million women into the arms of the Democrats.
  • Harry Anslinger, a former railroad cop who guided theBureau of Narcotics through five administrations and engineered some of the most enduring and pernicious myths of the drug war.
  • Pablo Escobar Gaviria, the Colombian kingpin who nailed asuspected informer with a bomb killing him along with a hundred innocent airline passengers.
From the men and women in the forward trenches, Drug Crazy brings back a grim report: the situation is deteriorating on all fronts. In a sobering tally of the cost in crime, human suffering, and cold, hard cash, it documents the failure of crop eradication in the source countries, the hopeless task of sealing the border, and the violent world of the major players. We see the steady erosion of the Bill of Rights and a grinding criminal justice mill so overwhelmed it s running a night shift.

We also get a glimpse of a way out of this swamp. Lessons from Europe and from our own experience are pointing us toward higher ground.

In Drug Crazy, Mike Gray has launched a frontal assault on America's drug war orthodoxy, and his frightening overview of the battlefield makes it clear this urgent debate must begin now.



Updated: 8 Apr 2005 | Accessed: 29330 times