Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 2003
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Section: Nation/World, Pg. 18
Copyright: 2003, The Tribune Co.
Note: Limit LTEs to 150 words


Regarding "Iorio Ready To Declare East Tampa Crime War" (Nation/World, May 11):

Does moving open-air drug markets from one Tampa neighborhood to the next 
constitute drug war victory? Attempts to eliminate 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. Drug prohibition fuels organized crime and violence, 
which is then used to justify increased drug war spending.

It's time to end this madness and instead treat all substance abuse, legal 
or otherwise, as the public health problem it is. Thanks to public 
education efforts, tobacco use has declined considerably in recent years. 
This raises serious questions about the war on some drugs. Apparently, 
mandatory minimum sentences, civil asset forfeiture, random drug testing 
and racial profiling are not necessarily the most cost-effective means of 
discouraging unhealthy choices.

Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.
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