Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jun 2005
Source: Daily Republic (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Daily Republic
Author: Robert Sharpe


Randy Carlson's June 4 column was right on target. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs while

demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug
trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices
leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed
desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.
With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind
drinking unregulated bathtub gin.

While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical precedent,
European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health
alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse and
prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop
the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard
and soft drug markets and treatment alternatives that do not require
incarceration as a prerequisite.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels many U.S.
politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes
organized crime.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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