Drug war seminar offers ideas of change

By Philip Dalton

Some believe it’s time to throw up the white flags and declare a cease-fire on the war on drugs. A seminar being held next week will offer discussion on the topic of ending the drug war. The seminar will also offer alternatives to the methods the government currently uses to combat America’s drug problems.

The seminar titled “Think Drug Peace not Drug War” is being sponsored by the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education (EPCSE), Health Enhancement, Services and the Graduate Colloquium Committee.

The seminar will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 29 in the Cavan Auditorium, Gable Hall; it will last about an hour. A lecture will be held later in the day from 7:30 to 8:40 p.m.

Speaking at the seminar will be Kennington Wall, director of Public Information of the Drug Policy Foundation in Washington.

EPCSE graduate student Paula Hruby who is involved with the seminar said, “Kennington is a young dynamic speaker who is well versed in the drug war tactics of the Reagan and Bush administrations and will offer many ideas of change.”

Hruby said there are two reasons for inviting Wall, first that the drug war the government is conducting is not peaceful and that it doesn’t touch on the medical and health aspects of drug abuse.

EPCSE Professor Tom Roberts, who teaches classes at NIU on psychedelic mindview and drug legalization research, said the purpose of the seminar will be to “expose people to alternatives to the drug war.” Roberts compared the current drug war to alcohol prohibition and said it fosters inner city destruction and promotes a violent gang atmosphere, much like the mobs which arose out of America’s prohibition years.

Roberts said alternatives to the current drug war need to be looked at. “The purpose of the seminar is so Northern students are aware that there are a number of alternatives. The drug war is more destructive than helpful,” he said.

Hruby elaborated on the drug war alternatives. She stressed health over war and said she felt marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes such as for glaucoma and AIDS.

She said drugs have good purposes and people shouldn’t be allowed to suffer. She said she felt those found selling or in possession of drugs shouldn’t be looked at as criminals and should be allowed treatment on demand.

Roberts encouraged everyone in the community to attend the seminar. “The speeches are of general interest. Anyone can and should attend.”