Pubdate: Thu, 27 Feb 2003
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2003 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Dave Michon


The "Dark Side of Addiction" (News-Sentinel, Jan. 12) could just as well be 
titled "The Dark Secret of the Drug War." The story, with its horrific 
account of Canadian youngsters sniffing gas, makes clear that the long, 
sought-after drug-free America is a myth.

While expensive drug squads target cannabis connoisseurs or hapless 
addicts, many retail establishments offer intoxicants more dangerous than 
anything on the streets. We cannot imprison gas station and hardware store 
owners, but we should not ignore the fact that they sell the dangerous 
intoxicants without Food and Drug Administration or Drug Enforcement Agency 

For instance, we would obviously accomplish nothing even if we somehow 
eliminated all illegal street drugs. In fact, people are driven to more 
dangerous substitutes as their drug of choice is made scarce.

Intoxication has been called "the fourth drive," and we had better find new 
ways of dealing with it since the old prohibition way is a proven loser. 
This is the 21st century, and we have given drug prohibition a try, which 
failed; now it's time to try a new approach: regulation. This would give 
concerned professional medical people far more control over what is 
ingested in this country - an attainable goal.

Does this mean giving drugs to kids or letting them sniff gas? Of course 
not. It does mean that we can begin to change our society's entire approach 
to and relationship with the fourth drive.

That is, of course, if we really care about kids but not if the drug war is 
about something else entirely.

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