Pubdate: Tue, 04 Mar 2003
Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Copyright: 2003sPeoria Journal Star
Author: Jim Nelson
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


I believe the Journal Star's position on charging methamphetamine lab 
operators whose actions harm other people with murder or arson is 
well-intentioned, but wrong.

As the Feb. 26 editorial acknowledged, increasing the penalty for operating 
a lab is unlikely to be a deterrent, so why would tacking on other charges 
make any difference? It's time to acknowledge that no matter what we do to 
stop them, addicts are going to get their drugs, often using means which 
put the lives of innocent people, including police officers, at risk.

There is only one action that can be taken which will put these labs out of 
business, and that is legalization. I know that this is an option which 
many people find difficult to accept, but for lack of a better alternative 
it deserves consideration.

Legalization would allow the drug to be created by safer means, under 
professional conditions, and would end the threat to police officers and 
other innocents of being killed in an explosion. Further, it would save 
valuable law enforcement dollars in a time of deficit.

At some point, the drug prohibitionists will have to acknowledge that their 
policies place all of us in greater danger. Ending those policies would 
save money and, more importantly, save lives.

Jim Nelson

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