Pubdate: Fri, 27 Apr 2001
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Your excellent April 20 editorial ("Amtrak turns narc for the extra cash").

Amtrak's decision to climb aboard the drug war gravy train is the latest 
erosion of civil liberties forced upon taxpayers in the name of the war on 
some drugs.

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, alcohol 
would be illegal and marijuana would not.

Americans are finally beginning to realize that drug laws pose greater 
societal threats than drugs. The crime, corruption and overdose deaths 
attributed to illegal drugs are all direct results of drug prohibition. 
With Prohibition repealed, alcohol producers no longer gun each other down 
in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking bathtub gin.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant 
only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. In terms of addictive 
drugs like heroin, a temporary rise in street prices leads desperate 
addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

Make no mistake. The drug war doesn't fight crime - it fuels crime.

This is not to say that all drugs should be legalized. Taxing and 
regulating marijuana would separate the hard and soft drug markets and 
eliminate the "gateway" to drugs like heroin. Establishing strict age 
controls is critical. Right now, kids have an easier time buying pot than beer.

ROBERT SHARPE, Program Officer

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation

Washington, D.C.
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