Pubdate: Mon, 20 Mar 2006
Source: Daily Targum (Rutgers, NJ Edu)
Contact:  2006 Daily Targum
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the March 8 Point/Counterpoint article "Should drugs be
legalized," there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and
blanket legalization. Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has
been shown to reduce disease, death and crime among chronic users.
Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero tolerance laws
that restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing
crimes if not for artificially inflated black market prices.

Heroin maintenance pilot projects are underway in Canada, Germany,
Spain and the Netherlands. If expanded, prescription heroin
maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This
would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future
generations addiction. Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like
alcohol, only without the ubiquitous advertising.

Separating the hard-and soft-drug markets is critical. As long as
marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime,
consumers of the most popular illicit drug will continue to come into
contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.
Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no
sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized
crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Students who want to help
reform harmful drug policies should contact Students for Sensible Drug
Policy at


Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC 20012
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