Pubdate: Thu, 21 Aug 2008
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re Kingsley Guy's column, "Drug policy has failed": There is a middle 
ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalization. Providing 
addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting eliminates many 
problems with heroin use. 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.

Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without 
the ubiquitous advertising. As long as marijuana distribution is 
controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into 
contact with sellers of addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes 
no sense to waste scarce resources on failed policies that finance 
organized crime and facilitate hard drug use. 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, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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