Pubdate: Tue, 03 Mar 2009
Source: Naples Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2009 Naples Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Editor, Daily News:

Re: Ben Bova's Feb. 22 column.

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.

The success of the Swiss program has inspired pilot heroin 
maintenance projects in Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark 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

Staff member,

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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