Pubdate: Mon, 27 Jun 2005
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Copyright: 2005 San Antonio Express-News
Author: Jerry Epstein


Re: Luisa Inez Newton's online letter "Five reasons to legalize drugs"
(June 20,

Here are five more.

Historically, when all these drugs were legal, it worked better.
Though cocaine and heroin were widely advertised and commonly used
medicines, there were lower addiction rates than today. Doctors often
suggested that "hopeless alcoholics" switch to heroin to stop the
anti-social behavior so common with alcohol abuse. I prefer what works
to what doesn't.

Ending alcohol Prohibition meant no more Al Capone types. I prefer a
world without drug lords and drug dealers.

Our government now estimates more than a million teens sell illegal
drugs. That's prohibition, the teen employment bureau, in action. This
commonly makes illegal drugs more available to teens than legal
alcohol. We can't do worse. I prefer drugs behind a prescription
counter to drugs around every schoolyard.

Recently, the No. 1 medical journal, The Lancet, wrote: "From the
perspective of health, the problem of illicit drug use, which is
nurtured by stringent laws, is pragmatic. How can one treat a patient
who may not admit to an illegal addiction? Or conduct research into
management of conditions resulting from habits that the law urges
doctors to oppose? ... Doctors remain starved of the knowledge
necessary to cope with the acute and long-term effects of drug use." I
prefer research to hunches.

Some 70 percent of the drug war is about one drug - marijuana -
which is markedly less dangerous than alcohol. I prefer common sense
to hypocrisy.


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