Pubdate: Sun, 12 Jan 2003
Source: Galveston County Daily News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Galveston Newspapers, Inc.
Author:  Robert Sharpe
Note: (this appeared ahead of the LTE) "Funding for the Galveston County 
Narcotics Task Force will end on May 31 because the Brazoria County 
Sheriff's Office opted out. Without Brazoria County's participation, the 
task force will not meet the state's requirement of multicounty cooperation."


That funding for the Galveston County Narcotics Task Force is drying up is 
not necessarily a bad thing.

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. With alcohol prohibition 
repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun each other down in drive-by 
shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin.

While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical precedent, European 
countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health alternative based 
on the principle that both drug abuse and prohibition have the potential to 
cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop the 
spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard and soft 
drug markets and treatment alternatives that do not require incarceration 
as a prerequisite.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels U.S. politicians 
to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime. 
Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe
Drug Policy Alliance 
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart