Drug museum: Just say no 

Step right up, folks, for the thrill of a lifetime! You won't believe what you're gonna see inside this tent -- it walks, it talks, it smokes, it snorts! It's all part of the brand new museum built by the Drug Enforcement Agency. And the best part of attending this carnival sideshow of the "war on drugs" is that you paid for it!

Yes, indeed, the Drug Czar's Museum and Visitors Center, on the main floor of the DEA's national headquarters building, is another example of your tax dollars at work -- $350,000 of our dollars, to be exact.

And for $350,000 you get to see exhibits like these: old photographs of junkies shooting up, a $35,000 chrome Harley-Davidson motorcycle taken from a Hell's Angel now doing prison time for peddling drugs; and a photo gallery of rock stars like Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain who were killed by heroin. Well ... actually, Cobain killed himself with a shotgun blast to his head, but the DEA says it was heroin-related, so it counts. Funny, though, the museum doesn't include photos of prominent nonmusicians like Kitty Dukakis and Betty Ford -- but, hey, they were addicted to legal drugs.

One of the ironies of the drug czar's museum is that it highlights the awful fact that in 1900, one out of every 200 Americans was addicted to cocaine or heroin. The irony is that, today, three out of every 200 Americans is addicted. Hello. After 100 years of anti-drug wars, after hundreds of billions of our tax dollars have been spent, after millions of arrests, after a whole bookshelf of liberty-infringing laws have been written -- we have three times as much drug addiction as in the bad old days.

The drug czar's museum is a tribute to his own incompetence! Here's an idea: Let's make his whole agency a museum.

To help stop the DEA's multibillion-dollar waste, contact the Drug Reform Coordination Network at (202) 293-8344.

Jim Hightower is an author, radio commentator, public speaker and political sparkplug from Austin, Texas. For more populist commentary, visit his website.

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