Pubdate: Sat, 03 Aug 2002
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2002 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Cinta Porter
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Help me, please. I just don't get it.

Young adults returning from Amsterdam tell me: "It's great. You can get 
anything" -- read drugs and sex -- "you want, and it's all legal." Now, I'm 
sure there are limits to this debauchery in Amsterdam, but the point is 
that I haven't heard of 151 deaths in Amsterdam this year.

But this is what I read in The Sun recently -- 151 persons murdered this 
year in Baltimore, many of them under 18 years old.

And, from sources I trust, I've heard you can buy any drug you want in 
Baltimore. It's just that they're illegal.

So instead of some sort of legal dispensary, illegal hoods are making a 
bundle and killing each other and some innocent bystanders to protect their 

This is where I need help. If you can get any drug in Baltimore and a large 
part of the homicide problem has to deal with drug turfs, drug deals and 
the like, doesn't it seem logical that many of the 151 deaths from homicide 
could be prevented by making illegal drug dealing unprofitable?

It can be argued that if drugs were legal, some people who otherwise would 
be hesitant to try drugs might do so. But would 151 (and counting) people a 
year die from trying the drugs? My guess is no.

I know Baltimoreans have been through this debate scores of times. It's 
just that after years of trying to rid our city of drugs, it's just not 
working -- and people are being murdered at a very alarming rate.

Doesn't it seem logical to revisit this conundrum at least one more time?

Saving lives in Baltimore means legalizing deadly substances.

Cinta Porter, Hunt Valley
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