Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2009
Source: El Paso Times (TX)
Copyright: 2009 El Paso Times
Author: Robert Sharpe

Editor's note: The Times received many letters concerning the City 
Council resolution including language about discussing legalization 
of drugs. Some of these were written before the resolution veto was upheld.


Regarding your Jan. 8 editorial, there is a middle ground between 
drug prohibition and blanket legalization.

Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has been shown to reduce 
disease, death and crime among chronic users.

Providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting 
eliminates many of the problems associated with heroin use. Heroin 
maintenance pilot projects are under way 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 and spare future generations 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 is controlled by 
organized crime, consumers of the most popular illicit drug will 
continue to come into contact with sellers of addictive drugs.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes 
no sense to waste tax dollars 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
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom