Pubdate: Wed, 24 Aug 2005
Source: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)
Copyright: 2005 Evening Post Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


South Carolina's methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of the exploding 
liquor stills that sprang up during Prohibition.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have created a 
youth-oriented black market. Drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do 
recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the 
children. Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to 
limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only make 
drug trafficking more profitable.

For addictive drugs like meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate 
addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug 
war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as organized 
crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into 
contact with sellers of hard drugs like meth.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. Given 
that marijuana is arguably safer than alcohol -- the plant has never been 
shown to cause an overdose death -- it makes no sense to perpetuate failed 
policies that finance organized crime and facilitate hard-drug use.

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

Arlington, Va.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman