Pubdate: Fri, 21 Dec 2007
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2007 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Allan Erickson


Near the end of his column "Making drugs legal not a fix, say 
ex-users" (Dec. 12), Jay Hancock responds to comments about the 
inability of drug legalization to solve problems associated with 
illegal drug use from recovering addicts at Man Alive's Lane 
Treatment Center by saying, "Any nation trying it would encounter 
devilish complications."

Switzerland has proved that this statement is not necessarily true.

Through their current Heroin Assisted Treatment program, the Swiss 
have drastically reduced drug-associated crime, reduced new addiction 
and positively increased the health and social situations of heroin addicts.

The program has made dramatic changes in the relationship of drugs to crime.

While the proportion of patients who obtained their income from 
illegal or borderline-illegal activities at the time of enrollment in 
the program was 70 percent, that figure declined to 10 percent after 
18 months of the HAT program.

There are alternatives to drug prohibition, and I hope that Mr. 
Hancock and The Sun will continue to cover this issue.

Allan Erickson Eugene, Ore.

The writer is a media specialist for the Drug Policy Forum of Oregon, 
a group which advocates the legalization of drugs.
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