Pubdate: Fri, 19 Aug 2005
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2005, The Detroit News
Author: Stephen Heath


While The News' observations have laudable intent, I humbly submit the
most urgent question for Michigan policymakers should be: Will placing
limitations on the sale of cold medicines do anything to reduce the
amount of methamphetamine abuse within our state? ("Allergy medicine
restrictions are necessary," July 20).

My personal experience, along with that of the drug abusers I've
worked with in treatment and recovery settings, suggests the answer is
a resounding "no."

Even with commercial obstacles to ingredients (which, of course,
unduly inconvenience non-meth makers) and regardless of how many
Americans police arrest and incarcerate for meth-related offenses, not
a single addict is any closer to true recovery. And no one in Michigan
or anywhere else who wants illegal amphetamines will have much trouble
scoring. The priority should be to reduce demand, not to waste time
jailing users and futilely attempting to inhibit distribution.

The urgent priority should be to reduce demand for illegal
amphetamines. We need to increase access to strong stimulants so the
illegal market cannot compete. And we need to transfer the monies
currently used to incarcerate drug abusers into programs which allow
treatment on demand for any drug abuser who wants it.

Such treatment should be available regardless of the drug of abuse --
whether that drug be meth, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine or opiates.


Public Relations Director

Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater, Fla. 
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MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFlorida)