Pubdate: Mon, 27 Mar 2000
Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Copyright: News Limited 2000
Author: Paul M. Bischke
Related: and


In the Judaeo-Christlan tradition, the standard of good conscience regarding
pleasure drugs is temperance, not abstinence.

Brian Watters seems unable to grasp this (Daily Telegraph, March 22).
Temperance means that when pleasurable drugs are used, they must be used
wisely and with situational appropriateness.

For minors and folk who can't handle drugs such as cannabis, temperance
means abstinence. For the great majority of adults. however, temperance
allows for moderate use.

Conscience concerning drug policy is certainly a neglected issue. Many
governments around the world have foltowed the lead of the US in enacting
patently unjust draconian laws to enforce abstinence. An examination of
conscience is needed.

The US is now waging an unconscionable abstinence-enforcement war in
Colombia. Many governments, following the US lead, have indulged in
drug-scare propaganda. This has caused citizens to favour disgracefully
harsh drug-abstinence law's on false premises.

Thus, these governments have corrupted the conscience of their citizens
(this distortion of conscience is very evident in the US, which now leads
the world in incarceration because of its abstinence-enforcement laws).

Yes indeed. Mr Watters, Australia and the world need an exam:natlon of
conscience on drug matters.

But good conscience means abiding by the broad concepts of temperance and
justice. What it does not mean is the narrow and myopic notion of

Paul M. Bischke, Drug Policy Reform Group of Minnesota
St Paul, Minnesota, US
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MAP posted-by: Don Beck