Pubdate: Fri, 26 Sep 2008
Source: Nanaimo Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Nanaimo Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


When it comes to drugs, mandatory minimum prison sentences are proven
failures. If harsh sentences deterred illicit drug use, Canada's
southern neighbour would be a drug-free America.

That's not the case. The U.S. drug war has done little other than give
the former land of the free the highest incarceration rate in the world.

The drug war is a cure worse than the disease. Drug prohibition
finances organized crime at home and terrorism abroad, which is then
used to justify increased drug war spending. It's time to end this
madness and instead treat all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as
the public health problem it is.

Thanks to public education efforts, tobacco use has declined
considerably in recent years. Apparently mandatory minimum prison
sentences, civil asset forfeiture, random drug testing and racial
profiling are not necessarily the most cost-effective means of
discouraging unhealthy choices. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is

Robert Sharpe

MPA, Washington, D.C.
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