Guest Opinions

The real U.S. failure is the War on Drugs, not the legalization of pot

Brad Bristol
Brad Bristol

Ms. Elisha Figueroa, the Idaho Drug Czar, wrote a Guest Opinion (Aug. 25) that is a one-sided mishmash of misinformation and downright baloney.

I strongly believe that any clear-thinking person would agree that the real ongoing failure of policy has been the “War on Drugs.” The longest War in American history, fought against the American people by the American government, has failed. The use of drugs has skyrocketed since 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared this war — which was bound to fail from the start. It failed just as alcohol prohibition failed.

I guess Figueroa must be reading the Twilight Zone news, because I follow the news every day and have not been “assailed” by news articles “with stories of marijuana’s ability to rescue state economies and its power to heal.”

However, I have been assailed by articles that talk about the failed War on Drugs, the overflowing prisons, backed-up court systems, corrupt government officials and the reduction of all Americans’ personal liberties. Not to mention the millions upon millions of lives all across the world that have been destroyed directly by the American government’s “War on Drugs.”

Figueroa stated that drug use among teenagers has increased in Colorado after legalization. That doesn’t square with reports in Scientific American, Reuters News Service and the Colorado Department of Public Health, which say drug use by high school students in Colorado has dropped, not increased.

A simple internet search will show an article published in June 2016 by, which stated that a study by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed the percentage of high school students indulging in marijuana in Colorado was smaller than the national average among teens, and that marijuana use by high school kids in Colorado was actually dropping. Let me repeat that: Use by high school students was actually dropping.

Here are a couple of points from the study done by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health that contradict the Idaho Drug Czar’s statements: The Colorado study shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally; 21.2 percent of Colorado high school students surveyed in 2015 had used marijuana during the preceding 30 days, down from 22 percent in 2011.

The Colorado study had over 17,000 Colorado students polled for the data. The federal study that Ms. Figueroa cites did not interview a single high school student.

Idahoans are not served by bureaucrats who mislead, who give us only one side of the story.

Brad Bristol is a third-generation Idahoan who said he wrote this because he wants his grandchildren to grow up in “a better Idaho.”