Pubdate: Wed, 02 Feb 2005
Source: Medicine Hat News (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Alberta Newspaper Group, Inc.
Author: Alan Randell


Re: Cop Shares Facts on Street Drug Scene, A3, Jan. 29

I have a few questions for Const. Chris Sheehan of the Medicine Hat Police
Service about his evident support for drug prohibition.

1. Is it not true banning a drug harms users because it forces them to rely
on a drugs whose potency and purity are unknown? Weren't thousands of
alcohol users poisoned and blinded during Prohibition? Didn't the dying and
the blinding stop when alcohol was legalized again? My wife and I became
well acquainted with that aspect of government policy when we lost our
youngest son to street heroin in 1993.

2. If drugs are banned because they are harmful to users, why then are
tobacco and alcohol not banned? Doesn't this seem unfair to those who prefer
illegal drugs? If we ban one harmful drug, shouldn't we ban all harmful

3. Is it not true the violence surrounding the illegal drug trade exists
because these drugs are banned, and if the drugs were legalized the violence
would diminish? Is it not true there was a lot more violence surrounding the
alcohol trade during Prohibition than after it was ended? How does the
violence of the illegal drug trade compare with that of the tobacco trade?

4. Is it not true if meth were legalized, the manufacturing process would be
subject to government safety regulations and would hence be no more
dangerous to the workers, to the neighbours or to the environment than the
average distillery is today?

5. If prohibition is so great, why did America give up on the prohibition of

For me, there is no more reason to punish drug users and dealers today than
there was in the past to hang witches, lynch blacks, incarcerate
Japanese-Canadians or gas Jews.

Drug prohibition is nothing less than a state-sanctioned program directed
against an identifiable minority (innocent drug users and distributors) to
first, ostracize them, and then, to annihilate them.

Alan Randell,

Medicine Hat
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