Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 2004
Source: Wichita Eagle (KS)
Copyright: 2004 The Wichita Eagle
Author: Robert Sharpe


Mark McCormick's column "Violence, danger not limited to urban areas" 
(April 28 Local & State) confused the drug war's collateral damage with 
drugs themselves.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant 
only increase the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like 
heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase 
criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight 
crime, it fuels crime.

Consider alcohol prohibition: Now that it's repealed, liquor bootleggers no 
longer gun one another down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go 
blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin.

Based on the principle that both drug abuse and prohibition can cause harm, 
European countries are embracing harm reduction, such as needle exchange 
programs to stop the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at 
separating the hard and soft drug markets, and treatment alternatives that 
do not require incarceration.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing soft on crime compels U.S. politicians to 
support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime.

ROBERT SHARPE Policy analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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