Pubdate: Mon, 28 Jun 2004
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Gainesville Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding The Sun's editorial titled "Narco-State" (June

Afghanistan profits from heroin trafficking because of drug
prohibition, not in spite of it. Attempts to limit the supply of drugs
while demand remains constant only increases the profitability of

The various armed factions waging civil war in Colombia are
financially dependent on the drug war. Here in the United States, the
drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make an
easily grown weed like marijuana literally worth its weight in gold.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind
drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While our politicians ignore the
drug war's historical precedent, European countries are embracing harm
reduction, a public health alternative based on the principle that
both drug abuse and prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include 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 as a prerequisite. Unfortunately, fear of appearing
"soft on crime" compels politicians to support a failed drug war that
ultimately subsidizes organized crime. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug
war is worse.

ROBERT SHARPE, Policy Analyst, Washington, D.C. 
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