Pubdate: Sat, 18 Mar 2006
Source: Pacific Daily News (US GU)
Copyright: 2006 Pacific Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe, MPA, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Vern Perez makes the common mistake of confusing drug-related crime
with prohibition-related crime in his March 5 article. 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With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun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. Drug abuse is bad, but
the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.
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