Pubdate: Mon, 07 Jul 2003
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2003 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Ethel Rowland


By "dipping more into a grab-bag of denials, restrictions, bans and
just-say-no's that began with Prohibition and ends (for now) at
homeland security," we are handing over our humanity to government. I
disagree that Prohibition was the beginning.

The beginning of this spiral was formalized for the modern
international community by the Hague Opium Convention of 1912, and for
the United States by the American Harrison Narcotic Act of March 1,
1915, (approved 1914), which was passed to fulfill the U.S.
obligations under the Hague Convention.

Since then, doctors have endured growing constrictions on their
ability to prescribe, addicts have been stigmatized as criminals,
addicts and casual/social users have had to turn to an illegal
marketplace, the potency of drugs being pushed has risen because of
higher profit and the establishment asks for and gets an ever larger
sum of money to fight a war.

Drug experimentation, use, abuse or avoidance is a personal choice.
The choice of which drugs are acceptable may be influenced by one's
religious beliefs, peer pressure, availability, cost and understanding
of the drug's affects. The potential for addiction is hardwired into
some people and not all of those people are susceptible to the same
drug; for some it is nicotine, for others it is opiates or alcohol.

Our humanity is not best served by the criminalization of an ever
growing fraction of our community. Yesterday it was opiates, alcohol
(for a short time) and marijuana. Today it is nicotine. Tomorrow will
it be caffeine?


Fort Pierce
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