Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jan 2003
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2003 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


According to a recent Sun article on Baltimore's intensive anti-drug 
campaign, "Some experts say that temporary stepped-up enforcement in 
certain areas simply shifts crime from one part of the city to another" 
("Intensive campaign by city police yields short-term success," Dec. 29).

Does moving open-air drug markets from one neighborhood to the next 
constitute victory in the war on drugs? Attempts to limit the supply of 
illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profits from 
drug trafficking.

And, in the case of addictive drugs such as heroin, a spike in street 
prices only leads desperate addicts to increase their criminal activity to 
feed their habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Drug policy should focus not on reducing the number of people who use 
drugs, but on reducing the amount of death, disease, crime and suffering 
associated with drug use and drug law enforcement. Drug prohibition fuels 
organized crime and violence, which is then used to justify increased drug 
war spending. It's time to end this madness.

Robert Sharpe, Washington

The writer is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance.
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