Pubdate: Sun, 21 Aug 2005
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2005 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst
Author: Jerry Epstein


The editorial on cough syrup was well-intended, I'm sure, but still
largely misguided. Drug problems have very little to do with any
specific drug, but are rooted in the psyches of the individuals who
abuse them.

No single illicit drug (other than marijuana) was used in the past
month by as much as 1 percent of our population. Thankfully,
government statistics have recently begun to delineate problematic use
(as opposed to simple frequency of use), so facts can be more easily
seen, although it remains politically incorrect to point them out.

In our society, alcohol is the default drug. Over 80 percent of our
youth will break the law and use alcohol by age 18. Unless a
persuasive case can be made that people deprived of this drug, that
drug or another one will prefer lemonade to alcohol (or some of the
thousands of possible alternative drugs), we have gained nothing.
Indeed, over half of the small number who are dependent on illicit
drugs are also dependent on alcohol; there is no drug more dangerous.

The prohibition against drugs only makes the drugs themselves more
dangerous through lack of regulation, the abuse of drugs more
difficult to treat, and society in general more at risk of harm from
the networks of the drug cartels.

Jerry Epstein, board of directors

Drug Policy Forum of Texas

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