Pubdate: Sat, 14 Apr 2001
Source: Tribune Review (PA)
Copyright: 2001 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Phin MacDonald


I noticed your editors were "glad to see" that penalty guidelines for 
selling ecstasy were recently increased ("Attacking 'ecstasy,' " Apr. 7). 
The purpose of getting tough with drug sale penalties is to make 
politicians and members of the public (like your editorial writer) feel 
relief that something is being done.

Although these tough laws might make people feel good, they will not stop 
drug sales or use. As long as there is a demand for ecstasy, any attempt to 
stop dealers will be about as effective as attempts to crack down on 
bootleggers during Prohibition.

The United States has enacted some of the toughest drug laws in the world. 
Many dealers are serving life sentences, and some people who simply had 
knowledge of a deal are serving 20-30 years. Most of these laws were 
enacted after the crack "epidemic," although some have been around much 
longer. The result of all these laws is that drugs are just as prevalent as 
ever. In fact, drugs such as heroin have increased in purity and dropped in 

Unlike assault or robbery, the selling of drugs is a crime that both 
participants willingly partake in. Would detectives have much luck stopping 
assault if the person being assaulted enjoyed being attacked, went behind 
closed doors to avoid detection, and had no desire to report the attacker?

Only education and treatment will reduce use, as we have seen with alcohol 
and tobacco in the last few decades.

Phin MacDonald, Medford, Mass.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D