Bill Steigerwald

Of 17 countries surveyed, China and Japan had the lowest rates of drug use and the United States had the highest rate -- by far.

Obviously, culture, economics and politics play important roles, but WHO's researchers found that there's no relationship between a country's strict anti-drug policies and its levels of drug use.

Maybe it's unfair to dump on the DEA, especially on its birthday. It may be the most un-American federal agency this side of the IRS, but it's only following orders.

It's not the DEA's fault that for 35 years Congress and seven presidents haven't had the brains or the political courage to decriminalize marijuana or at least work to humanize America's drug policy. Or that neither McCain nor Obama has promised to scale back a dirty war on the individual liberties of Americans that the Taliban would support.

So happy birthday, DEA. But not many happy returns.

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..