Pubdate: Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Source: Prince George Free Press (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 BC Newspaper Group
Author: Kirk Tousaw



I agree with Arthur William's main sentiment; that we need immediate
and major increases in the amount of drug rehabilitation services
available in B.C. We also need significant investment in housing and
other anti-poverty measures.

I disagree, however, with the idea that "drugs are the cause of the
battle and the fuel" that keeps the turf wars going. It isn't drugs
that the gangs want. It is money. He had it right when he said the
fights are over the right to sell drugs, with sell being the operative
word. We used to see similar turf wars over the right to sell booze
when it was illegal. Those went away when prohibition was repealed.

Right now we spend 75 per cent or more of our "drug" budget on the
criminal justice system. Rehabilitation spending is paltry, comprising
a minute percentage of the remainder. We need to get over our
addiction to police, prosecutors and prisons and start treating
addiction like a disease, not a crime. Ending prohibition will not
solve our drug problems but it will allow us to begin to actually work
on them. We can take the money we save and make a real investment in
our communities.


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