Pubdate: Sat, 13 Jan 2001
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2001 The Vancouver Sun
Contact:  200 Granville Street, Ste.#1, Vancouver BC V6C 3N3
Fax: (604) 605-2323
Author: Alan Randell,


Gerry Marsden is tragically mistaken (Stiffer penalties for
traffickers, Letters, Jan. 9). Increasing the sentences meted out to
drug dealers will have no effect whatsoever on the amount of illegal
drugs sold and consumed in Vancouver.

It might lead to more police officers being murdered as dealers become
more desperate to escape arrest, but it won't do a thing to reduce the
toll exerted on users and non-users alike imposed by our current drug
prohibition policies.

Allowing users to legally purchase clean, cheap supplies of their
drugs of choice at the corner store as tobacco users do, will do more
to solve our drug problems than building a hundred detox centres or
hiring a million cops.

My wife and I lost a son to drugs too. So I have some appreciation for
what Mr. Marsden is going through.

Furthermore, the death of RCMP Constable Barry Schneider proves that
heroin users are able to carry out the responsibilities of a demanding
job (Veteran drug-enforcement officer dies of heroin, cocaine
overdose, Jan. 5).

Some day soon, God willing, the courts will force the federal
government to legalize all drugs and fewer users will die as Schneider
did and my son did.

Alan Randell

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