Pubdate: Sun, 10 May 2009
Source: Reporter, The (Vacaville, CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Reporter
Author: Robert Sharpe


There is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket
legalization ("Time to end war on drugs? Let the discussions begin,"
May 4). 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 heroin maintenance pilot 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, such as
cocaine and meth. Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal
alcohol, it makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana
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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