Pubdate: Thu, 10 Oct 2002
Source: Arrow Lakes News (CN BC)
Page: 7
Copyright: 2002 Arrow Lakes News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Yvonne Schoff's Oct. 3rd letter to the editor on the growing use of 
amphetamine in B.C. brought to mind the crack epidemic the United States 
experienced during the ' 80s.

New York City chose the zero tolerance approach, opting to arrest and 
incarcerate as many offenders as possible.

Meanwhile, Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry was smoking crack and the U.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 any slick anti-drug advertising campaign or the 
passage of mandatory minimum drug laws. Simply put, the younger generation 
saw firsthand what crack was doing to their older siblings and decided for 
themselves that crack was bad news.

This is not to say that nothing can be done about meth.  Access to drug 
treatment is critical for the current generation of meth users.

In order to protect future generations from drugs like meth policymakers 
need to adopt the Canadian Senate's common sense recommendation regarding 
marijuana regulation.

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.

Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC
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