Pubdate: Sun, 28 Oct 2001
Source: Munster Times (IN)
Copyright: 2001 The Munster Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Letter to the Editor

Targeting rave dance parties will not protect children from drugs. Ecstasy 
is the latest illegal drug to be making headlines, but it won't be the last 
until politicians acknowledge the drug war's inherent failure. Drug 
policies modeled after America's disastrous experiment with alcohol 
prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug 
dealers do not ID for age, but they do push trendy, profitable "club drugs" 
like ecstasy, regardless of the dangers posed.

There are cost-effective alternatives. In Europe, the Netherlands has 
successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition 
with regulation. Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing 
age controls for marijuana has proven more effective than zero tolerance. 
Although pot is arguably safer than alcohol -- the plant has never been 
shown to cause an overdose death -- marijuana prohibition is deadly. As the 
most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black market contacts 
that introduce users to hard drugs like heroin. Taxing and regulating 
marijuana is a cost-effective alternative to the $50 billion drug war.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer, the Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C.
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