Pubdate: Fri, 15 Sep 2006
Source: Corvallis Gazette-Times (OR)
Copyright: 2006 Lee Enterprises
Author: Jeff T. Barrie, Philomath, OR


As someone with a history degree, it is embarrassing to admit that I 
learned something new in my research into the history of drug 
prohibition. Contrary to assertions by drug policy reformers, 
prohibition was a response to abusive drug addiction problems, not 
the other way around. It occurred simultaneously in Europe and the 
United States when soldiers returning from war became addicted to 
morphine used to treat their injuries. Morphine was called the 
"scourge of war" and was banned long before the turn of the century 
in Europe and here.

In fact, heroin  and later, methadone  were developed as 
alternatives to these "drug scourges."

Today, we are acutely aware of "Post Traumatic Stress" syndrome, or 
PTS. It is a disorder unique to the battlefield and is a natural 
result of the horrific nature of war and results in a soldier 
becoming socially disconnected. Those soldiers with more solid 
support networks have easier times re-connecting. If only the phrase 
"Support our troops" involved diversion of resources to re-connecting soldiers

Even in lab rats, research has shown that socially integrated rats 
have far fewer problems with abusive drug addictions than isolated 
rats. Criminalizing drug use is the equivalent of throwing water on 
gasoline fires. (Ask your fire marshal about that.)

It's not surprising that the incidences of abusive drug addictions 
and corresponding crime occur disproportionately in socially 
marginalized communities and households. And the drug war just makes 
the problem worse. Those who do not know their history  keep messing up.
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