Pubdate: Thu, 17 Oct 2002
Source: Johnson City Press (TN)
Copyright: 2002 Johnson City Press and Associated Press
Author: Robert Sharpe



The work of the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force is no doubt 
well-intended, but ultimately counterproductive.

So-called drug-related crime is invariably prohibition-related. 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 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. Sooner or later the 
self-professed champions of the free market in Congress had better learn to 
apply basic economic principles to drug policy. The drug war fuels 
organized crime and violence, which is then used to justify increased 
drug-war spending.

It's time to end this madness and begin treating all substance abuse, legal 
or otherwise, as the public health problem it is. Drug policy should focus 
not on reducing the total number of people who use drugs, but rather on 
reducing the death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drug 
use and drug prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.,

Program Officer Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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