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'Cocaine Nation' A Case For Legalization

Jul 20, 2010 (Talk of the Nation)

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In his book, Cocaine Nation, Tom Feiling traces the growth of the cocaine industry worldwide, from Latin American coca fields to America's inner cities.

Feiling argues that the so-called war on drugs has been an abject failure — and that it's time to take decriminalization seriously.

Though Feiling has friends who have suffered from cocaine addiction, he doesn't think that the marginalization and criminalization of their behavior helps them in any way.

"A lot of people will regard that as somehow being a message of promiscuity, or saying yes to drugs when we should be saying no," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. But "this is not a moral judgment one way or another on drug consumption," Feiling says.

"I'm talking about from a law enforcement and public health point of view, how do we manage drug abuse if it's the case that there's no chance of living in a drug free world?"

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