Pubdate: Tue, 23 Aug 2005
Source: Lindsay This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 Lindsay This Week
Author: Russell Barth


To the editor:

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 it's commodity value. We could implement the death penalty
for manufacturing 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.

An addict is much like a horse that is led by a carrot. We just need
to dangle a bigger, cleaner, free carrot in front of them to lead them
in a new direction. These people are controlled by the drugs, and the
drugs are controlled by criminals. Wouldn't it be better to have
compassionate nurses in charge of those drugs instead?

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.

Sure, with this policy we'd still have addicts. But we would have
fewer addicts, they'd be under medical

supervision, and they wouldn't be mugging people, stealing cars,
breaking into homes, and selling their bodies

for drug money. 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


- ---
MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFlorida)