Pubdate: Sun, 30 Jul 2000
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Amarillo Globe-News
Contact:  P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166
Fax: (806) 373-0810
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Author: Arthur Cole


Is drug legalization cost-free? Of course not. It will take money, resources
and foresight so we don't foster the kind of nightmare scenarios forecast in
John Kanelis' July 16 scare-column.

But let's get to the heart of the issue. Prohibition supporters argue that
the resulting crime, addiction, death, etc., caused by drug legalization
would be too much for society to bear. But all of these concerns stem from a
single overriding belief: that legalization will result in more users.

This, of course, is hogwash. Try to imagine the typical, hardworking,
non-drug-using American citizen. If you're having a tough time with this, go
look in the mirror. There you'll see someone who is not abstaining from
drugs because of fear of arrest or imprisonment, but someone who avoids
drugs because they are dangerous, addictive and can lead to a life of

So if drugs are legalized, will you run down to your local clinic and stock
up on heroin or cocaine? Of course not, and neither will anyone else who is
already leading a clean lifestyle.

So the end result of legalization will be that the people who abstain from
drugs will continue to do so, and the people who use them will continue to
do so. In the meantime, we take away the profits of drug dealers and thugs
who are tearing our cities apart.

And what about the kids? Will legalized drugs be easier to get? Most kids
will tell you that it's easier to buy a joint than a bottle of beer. Why?
Because drug dealers don't check IDs.

The answer is clear. A legalized, highly regulated, even government-run drug
industry in this country will do more to curb drug dependency, end
drug-related violence and preserve the health and welfare of our young
people than our current law enforcement-dependent policies can ever hope to

Arthur Cole, Hope Valley, R.I.
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