Pubdate: Wed, 23 Nov 2005
Source: Nanton News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Nanton News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

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 eighties.
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 meth. Access to drug
treatment is critical for the current generation of users. In order to
protect future generations from hard drugs like meth, policymakers
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.

The following U.S. Department of Justice research brief confirms my
claims regarding the spontaneous decline of crack cocaine: , or the Canadian
Senate report:


Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC 
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