Pubdate: Mon, 04 Apr 2005
Source: Edson Leader (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Edson Leader
Author: Robert Sharpe 


To the Editor:

Re: Editorial, Keep up the fight (March 28)

How should Alberta respond to the growing use of methamphetamine?

Here in the United States, New York City chose the zero tolerance
approach during the crack epidemic of the '80s. 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 methamphetamine. 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:

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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