Pubdate: Wed, 18 Sep 2002
Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
Copyright: 2002 Honolulu Weekly Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: This is Robert's 761st published letter that we know of. Review them 
For: Robert's tips on writing LTEs see


The expansion of the drug war gravy train described in your Sept. 4
article is tantamount to a taxpayer-funded price support for organized
crime (Community, "Ice show," HW). 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
meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase
criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.  With alcohol
prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun each other down
in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking unregulated
bathtub gin. While U.S. politicians ignore the historical precedent,
European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public-health
alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse and drug
prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop
the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users, marijuana regulation
aimed at separating the hard and soft drug markets, and treatment
alternatives that do not require incarceration as a

Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels many U.S.
politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes
organized crime.

Robert Sharpe,
Drug Policy Alliance,
Washington, D.C.
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