Pubdate: Wed, 21 Nov 2001
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2001 The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe,
Bookmark: (Heroin)


According to your article "Heroin buy-up mooted to stem Afghan trade"
(Herald, November 19), Britain and the United States are considering buying
Afghanistan's entire opium harvest at black-market prices, on the condition
that farmers then plough up their poppy fields and sow a different crop.
Does anyone seriously believe that one of the poorest countries in the world
will cease producing opium in response to a one-time pay-off? Creating a
global welfare state in which every developing country is paid not to grow
illicit crops is a rather expensive proposition. Drug warriors are going to
have to learn to apply basic economic principles to drug policy. Afghanistan
profits from heroin because of the drug war, not in spite of it. Attempts to
limit supply while demand remains constant only increases the profitability
of drug trafficking.

In South America, the various armed factions tearing Colombia apart are all
financially dependent on the obscene profits created by America's war on
consensual vices. The drug war is the problem, not the solution.

Robert Sharpe, The Lindesmith Centre, Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, DC (US)
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