Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jun 2006
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2006 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


THERE IS a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket
legalization ("A safer society? Legalize drugs," op-ed, June 6).
Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has been shown to reduce
disease, death, and crime among chronic users. Prescription heroin
maintenance could deprive organized crime of a core client base.
Rendering illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable would spare future
generations from 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 such as cocaine.

Current drug policy is a gateway policy. Given that marijuana is
arguably safer than legal alcohol -- the plant has never been shown to
cause an overdose death -- it makes no sense to waste tax dollars on
failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate hard drug

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like
to think the children are more important than the message.

ROBERT SHARPE, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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