Pubdate: Mon, 14 Feb 2005
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2005 The Register-Guard
Author: Allan Erickson


I'd like to thank the editors for their concern about our county and state -
our nation's - methamphetamine problem: "Fighting a meth scourge:
Legislators should make new bills a priority" (Register-Guard, Feb. 2).

The truest part of the editorial was this simple statement: "Law
enforcement officials readily admit they're losing the war against

Well, yeah.

If the term "drug war" is exchanged for "prohibition," the true crux
of the problem is laid bare. Prohibition is a policy doomed to
failure. We proved that with our attempted prohibition of alcohol
early in the 20th century.

Addiction is a medical problem. There is a pharmaceutical form of
meth, Desoxyn, used to treat attention deficit disorder in children.
It sells for about $2 per 5 mg dose. Its constituent ingredients are
regulated to guarantee purity, its sales regulated through
prescription and pharmacies. Meth, however, is as unregulated as it

Prohibition creates a black market commodity and nullifies any
establishment control or regulation, thus creating the criminality it
purports to eliminate.

Our county, state and nation do indeed have a drug problem.
Prohibition is the instigator and can never be the cure.

We have an epidemic of HIV and hepatitis in our prisons and among our
needle-injecting drug users. We have an epidemic of irrational
leadership when it comes to the war on (some) drugs.

What makes Lane County any different?

Allan Erickson

Member Drug Policy Forum of Oregon
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