Pubdate: Wed, 17 Aug 2005
Source: Castlegar News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Castlegar News
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Now that police and government have suffered embarrassing defeat in the war 
against marijuana, they seem to be turning their focus to crystal meth. By 
increasing the penalties for crystal meth, our government is trying to 
appear "tough on drug dealers," and appease voters. But what they propose 
simply won't work, and will, in fact, further subsidize organized crime.

As we all know by now, when you make something more illegal, you increase 
it's commodity value.

We could implement the death penalty for manufacture and trafficking of 
meth, and all it will do is further increase gang profits and gang 
violence. These people are motivated by money, and they know that the odds 
of getting caught are slim.

But unlike marijuana, you won't see happy meth users coming to the defence 
of methamphetamine in public rallies or political parties.

Meth is incredibly dangerous to make, and to use. All the horror stories 
about this poison are true, and no exaggeration is necessary.

That said, tougher sentences can only make things worse. Just like alcohol 
prohibition in the last century, drug prohibition today is causing far more 
problems than it is solving.

The answer to the meth problem is simple: regulate it. If we gave out free 
meth, coke, and heroin at clinics, then street dealers would go out of 
business and property crime would decrease almost immediately.

Once we steal all their customers, there will be no need for street 
dealers, and no illegal supply needed. We would still bust the remaining 
street dealers and suppliers, but we need to set up a safer alternative to 
the black market to help the addict move away from it and move toward harm 
reduction programs. These people are controlled by the drugs, and the drugs 
are controlled by criminals. Wouldn't it be better to have compassionate 
nurses in charge of those drugs instead.

Not even a hardcore junkie is going to go out and steal or prostitute 
themselves, to get money to buy poison from some creepy street dealer who 
encourages more use, when they could get clean drugs and gear for free, 
from a clinic that encourages rehabilitation and harm reduction.

Sure, with this policy we'd still have addicts. But we would have fewer 
addicts. It would also cost much less and be more effective than the 
failing "cops, courts, and cages" system that we have now. Why can't people 
see this simple logic

Russell Barth

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