Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jun 2001
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2001 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding ("OxyContin abuse a death sentence", June 3), Danna Droz,
chief of the Drug Control Branch at the Kentucky Department of Public
Health states "OxyContin has made people realize some prescription
drugs are dangerous." Granted OxyContin is potentially deadly, the
legal status of any given drug is not necessarily determined by danger.

The goal of a "drug-free" America that so many politicians claim to be
working toward applies only to certain drugs. Specifically, natural
drugs that cannot be patented by the pharmaceutical industry, one of
Washington's most powerful lobbies and the principal founder of the
"Partnership for a Drug-Free America." New lifestyle drugs routinely
are granted fast-track approval by the Food and Drug Administration,
while marijuana, which has been used medicinally and recreationally
for thousands of years, allegedly requires further research. In the
short time the blatantly recreational drug Viagra has been on the
market, it has already killed more people than marijuana, a relatively
benign drug whose pharmacological qualities have never been shown to
cause a death. Nationwide, cancer and AIDS patients are being locked
up at taxpayers' expense for using medical marijuana, while
2-year-olds are prescribed Ritalin and anti-depressants. So much for
protecting the children from drugs. One need only follow the money
trail to find out why a given policy exists.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.
Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, DC
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