Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jul 2009
Source: Didsbury Review, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Didsbury Review
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor:

Dan Singleton makes the common mistake of confusing drug-related 
crime with prohibition-related crime in his July 14 column (p. 4 
Didsbury Review). Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while 
demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug 
trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street 
prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed 
desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

The good news is that Canada has already adopted many of the common 
sense harm reduction interventions first pioneered in Europe. The bad 
news is Canada's southern neighbour continues to use its superpower 
status to export a dangerous moral crusade around the globe. The 
United States provides tragic examples of anti-drug strategies that 
are best avoided.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control researchers estimate that 57 percent 
of AIDS cases among women and 36 percent of overall AIDS cases in the 
U.S. are linked to injection drug use or sex with partners who inject 
drugs. This preventable public health crisis is a direct result of 
zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes. Can 
Canada afford to emulate the harm maximization approach of the former 
land of the free and current record holder in citizens incarcerated?

Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC
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