Pubdate: Wed, 17 Aug 2005
Source: Red Deer Express (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Red Deer Express
Author: Russell Barth
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Heroin)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Now that the police and government have suffered an 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 the 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 
its 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. If we can't even keep drugs out of our jails, how can we 
ever hope to get them off of our streets?

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 the 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.

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.

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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