Pubdate: Wed, 03 Sep 2003
Source: Chatham This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Bowes Publishers Limited
Authors: Alan and Eleanor Randell
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Dear editor:

Re: Search finds grow house and marijuana (Aug. 20, Chatham This Week).

Why do governments prohibit certain drugs? Is it to protect users from harm?

No, that can't be the reason because users suffer more (adulterated drugs 
and jail time) when a drug is banned as compared to when it is legally 

My wife and I became well acquainted with this aspect of government policy 
when we lost our 19-year-old son to street heroin in 1993. Many more people 
died from the effects of bad booze during Prohibition than when alcohol was 
legally available. The harm argument is moot in any event because two of 
our more dangerous drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are legal.

Is it to reduce the crime associated with illegal drugs?

No, that can't be the reason because banning a drug always gives rise to 
more crime (drug cartels, petty crimes by users as prohibition makes drug 
prices much higher, violent disputes between dealers) than when the drug is 
legally available.

Is it a brutal, Hitler-like pogrom to distract and entertain the majority 
by ruining the lives of the innocent minority who ingest or sell certain drugs?


In short, drugs are highly useful, functional and beneficial scapegoats. 
They provide a ruling class with fig leaves to place over the unsightly 
social ills that are endemic to the social system over which they preside 
and they give the general public a focus for blame in which a chemical 
'bogeyman,' or the 'deviants' who ingest it, are the root cause for a wide 
array of complex social problems. Why do we put up with this loathsome program?

Because the media support it.

Why do the media support drug prohibition? Let us count the ways:

1. It provides many "exciting" news stories and pictures about various 
busts, murders and assaults as well as adrenaline-pumping accounts of cops 
battering down doors - usually in the poorer areas of our cities and towns.

2. It enables editors to wax poetic as they pledge their undying support 
for these fascist-like horrors "to protect the children", taking care to 
omit the hell some children are thrust into when their parents are jailed 
for the "crime" of using or selling a drug the majority doesn't approve of.

3. It provides many opportunities to publish "moving" accounts of born 
again former drug users giving their just-say-no nonsense to a roomful of 
children and imploring the kids, "don't do what I did, do what I say" as 
they pocket speaking fees and expenses far in excess of what they could 
earn if they hadn't clambered aboard the taxpayer-funded drug war gravy train.

4. It provides many drug scare stories passed along by the cops who are 
anxious to keep prohibition going because it provides them with bigger 
budgets and more power - not to mention free drugs.

5. Those drug-sniffing pooches are so cute!

6. Misery, suffering and hatred sell more newspapers and produce higher TV 
ratings than happiness, contentment and love. Perhaps the world would have 
been a better place of the mass media had never been invented.

Alan and Eleanor Randell, Victoria, BC
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