Pubdate: Sun, 23 Jul 2000
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Amarillo Globe-News
Contact:  P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166
Fax: (806) 373-0810
Author: Andy Smoother


In his July 16 column, John Kanelis takes the usual black-and-white,
extremist position regarding illicit drugs, which is typical of the
prohibitionist mentality. He uses sweeping statements as absolute
truths, even when his assertions have no basis in reality.

Legalizing heroin would increase use only if it was accompanied by the
kind of blanket mass advertising and promotion presently used by the
U.S. alcohol industry to the tune of $25 billion per year. No one is
suggesting that drugs would be advertised like alcohol.

Kanelis must be joking when he asserts that legalized drugs would be
easier to access. How could it be easier than it is now? All
prohibition does is encourage dealers to sell drugs to kids because of
the profits to be had from the prohibition-inflated prices. You should
have learned from your alcohol prohibition, when kids would reel home
from school drunk after picking up an illegal, unregulated dose of
bathtub gin.

When you take control of drugs away from the government and give it to
organized crime, criminals will flood the community with drugs,
especially targeting children as future consumers. If Kanelis thinks
this is a preferable to controlled government regulation, where the
black market is all but destroyed and underage people are banned from
buying, he should ask himself: What would happen if alcohol and
tobacco were criminalized tomorrow?

There's plenty of precedent to tell us exactly what would happen.
Overnight we would have these two previously legal drugs being pushed
to kids vigorously at inflated prices, and all the usual side effects
of death, corruption of police, enrichment of crime cartels, huge
public taxes to pay for prisons and hospital treatment, and more
addicts than we started with!

Roselands, Sydney,
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