Pubdate: Mon, 02 Dec 2002
Source: Springfield News-Leader (MO)
Copyright: 2002 The Springfield News-Leader
Author: Robert Sharpe


Missouri's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of the
deadly exploding liquor stills that sprung up throughout the nation
during alcohol prohibition. Drug policies modeled after alcohol
prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only
increases the profitability of drug trafficking. In terms of addictive
drugs like methamphetamine, 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.

There are cost-effective alternatives. In Europe, the Netherlands has
successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana
prohibition with adult regulation.

Dutch rates of drug use are lower than U.S. rates in every

Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age
controls for marijuana has proven more effective than zero tolerance.

Here in the United States marijuana provides the black market contacts
that introduce consumers to addictive drugs like meth. This "gateway"
is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Marijuana may be relatively harmless -- pot has never been shown to
cause an overdose death -- but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

program officer
Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C. 
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