Pubdate: Sat, 28 Dec 2002
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Jerry Epstein


Re: "Bush girls should be thankful for drinking laws," Viewpoints, Dec. 14.

The Steve Chapman column on teen driving and alcohol was fine. It was also 
instructive for what it implies about our policy on other drugs.

* Regulated alcohol is more difficult for teens to get than illegal drugs.

* Teens value their driver's license more than the booze. Think how much 
more adult addicts would value a license to purchase now illegal drugs and 
how they would shun sales to the young rather than use those sales to 
finance their purchases as they do now under unregulated prohibition, the 
drug war.

* The figures cited on reduced use of alcohol since 1979 far exceed any 
reductions [mostly mythical] in illegal drug use. And we didn't have to 
threaten the entire adult population of drinkers - or the brewers or the 
bar maids - with prison to accomplish that.

* The 1,000 or so lives saved are tiny compared to the number of lives that 
could be saved if illegal drugs were regulated - alcohol Prohibition is a 
classic example.

This is a minor example of the massive costs of a drug war that has no 
positive benefits. Regulation plus social pressure saves money and lives 
and slashes crime - prohibition kills.

Jerry Epstein, president, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Houston, Texas
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