Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2004
Source: Cumberland Times-News (MD)
Copyright: 2004 Cumberland Times-News
Author: Kirk Muse


To the Editor:

I'm writing about Jeff Alderton's story "Drugs Spurring Violent Crime
Here" in the Jan. 12 Times-News. I disagree that drugs are causing
violent crime.

Almost all of the problems our country and our society have with
illegal drugs are because certain (politically selected) drugs are
illegal. Because certain drugs are illegal, they are of unknown
quality, unknown purity and unknown potency. This is the cause of most
of the deaths from recreational drugs.

Because drugs are illegal, they are untaxed, unregulated and
controlled by criminal gangs -- just like alcohol was when it was
illegal. When all types of recreational drugs were legally available
in local pharmacies for pennies per dose, drug dealers as we know them
today, didn't exist. Neither did drug lords, or drug cartels or the
term "drug-related crime."

These were all created by our drug criminalization policies -- not

Are recreational drugs harmful? Certainly some are. Illegal drugs kill
about 15,000 Americans every year. But this pales in comparison to the
400,000 Americans who die from tobacco products or the 300,000 who die
from obesity or the 100,000 who die from alcohol abuse.

Many prison wardens have said that 70 to 90 percent of our violent and
property crime is "drug-related." Actually almost 100 percent of our
"drug-related" crime is caused by our drug prohibition policies -- not
drugs. When Coca-Cola contained cocaine instead of caffeine and sold
for 5 cents a bottle, drug users and drug addicts didn't have to rob,
steal or commit acts of prostitution to obtain their drugs of choice.
And drug dealers didn't settle their disputes with each other with gun
battles in the streets.

Alcohol prohibition didn't work and drug prohibition isn't working
either, except to provide for full employment for those doing the
prohibiting. It's time to do something different - substantially different.

Kirk Muse,

Mesa, Ariz.
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