Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jul 2002
Source: Cambridge Reporter, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 The Cambridge Reporter
Author: Robert Sharpe


This is in response to the editorial 'Crack cocaine easy to demonize' 
(Reporter, July 9).

How should Canada respond to the growing use of crack cocaine?

Here in the United States, New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani chose the 
zero-tolerance approach during the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry was busy smoking crack and 
America's capital had the highest per capita murder rate in the country. 
Yet crack use declined in both cities simultaneously.

The decline was not due to a slick anti-drug advertising campaign or the 
passage of harsh mandatory minimum drug laws.

Simply put, the younger generation saw firsthand what crack was doing to 
their older brothers and sisters and decided for themselves that crack was 
bad news.

This is not to say that Canada can do nothing. Access to drug treatment is 
critical for the current generation of crack users.

In order to protect future generations from drugs like crack policymakers 
need to seriously considering taxing and regulating marijuana.

Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly. 
As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana currently provides the black 
market contacts that introduce consumers to hard drugs.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think the children themselves are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth