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Gravel says he'd end war on drugs, 'savage' of inner cities, children
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday June 28, 2007
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Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel said the issue in America that "enrages me the most" is the war on drugs, which he vowed to end if elected to the White House.

Gravel was speaking Thursday night at a Democratic debate at Howard University in Washington. Addressing a question on racial inequality, Gravel said the war on drugs had a particularly devastating effect on minority communities, noting that 70 percent of the more than 2 million people incarcerated in this country are black.

"If I'm president, I'll do away with the war on drugs, which does nothing but savage our inner cities and endanger our children," Gravel said.

Gravel, who receives around 1 percent support in opinion polls, said he would treat drug use as a public health issue, not a crime.

The long-shot candidate returned to criticizing the war on drugs in response to a later question about the prevalence of AIDS among African Americans.

"If they really want to do something about what's happening to the health of the African American community it's time to end this war," Gravel said of the other candidates. "All it does is create criminals out of people who are not criminals."