Pubdate: Thu, 11 May 2000
Date: 05/11/2000
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Author: Robert Nicholson

Not since Trainspotting, the movie about the drug scene in Edinburgh,
have I seen such common sense about recreational drug use as in Betsy
Powell's Life section article, They just won't fade away - They're
illegal, but drugs are simply a part of life or the social scene for
people of all kinds.

Powell says it all and says it well.

Obviously, illicit drug use is a societal and medical problem, rather
than a financial problem. But the inescapable fact is that legalizing
drugs would save us a fortune, probably on the order of $20 billion a

In this largely law-abiding society, 80 per cent to 90 per cent of
police work, other than writing traffic tickets, seems to be

If we made the hard stuff available by prescription, and marijuana,
etc., available through LCBO outlets, we probably could disband half
our police forces.

The corollary to the increased right to obtain drugs would be the
diminished right to medical treatment; a concept difficult to
implement but one that could profitably be expanded to smokers,
drinkers and overeaters.

Why should we have to pay for damage that's essentially

To provide users with a powerful incentive to quit, the right to
purchase drugs and the entitlement to welfare should be mutually
exclusive. More money would be saved.

Robert Nicholson,