Pubdate: Sat, 20 Aug 2005
Source: St. Albert Gazette (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 St. Albert Gazette
Author: Robert Sharpe


How should alberta respond to the growing use of crystal methamphetamine?

Here in the United States, New York City chose the zero tolerance approach 
during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Meanwhile, Washington, DC Mayor 
Marion Barry was smoking crack and America's capital had the highest per 
capita murder rate in the country. Yet crack use declined in both cities 
simultaneously. The decline was not due to a slick anti-drug advertising 
campaign or the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Simply put, 
the younger generation saw firsthand what crack was doing to their older 
siblings and decided for themselves that crack was bad news.

This is not to say nothing can be done about methamphetamine. Access to 
drug treatment is critical for the current generation of users. To protect 
future generations from hard drugs like meth, policy makers need to adopt 
the Canadian Senate's common sense proposal to tax and regulate marijuana. 
As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like 
meth. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. 
Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe,

MPA, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, DC
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom