Pubdate: Tue, 11 Aug 2009
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2009 The Oregonian
Author: Richard Shepard


Richard Cockle's article "Killings, but not drugs, stun northeast
Oregon," (Aug 9) is another sad reminder that no matter how much money
and effort we throw at the so-called "war on drugs" we are bound to
lose it.

Too infrequently there are reasoned calls to legalize all drugs,
regulate and tax them. This makes social and economic sense.

I don't know if it is possible to calculate a reasonably accurate
dollar value for the direct and indirect costs of illegal drug use,
but I am sure the amount would be staggering.

We already regulate and tax harmful substances such as alcohol and
tobacco, so doing the same thing for marijuana, cocaine, heroin,
methamphetamine and other chemicals would not be novel. Heck, we even
regulate state-sponsored gambling which also has its addicts and abusers.

It's time to start a serious and open discussion about legalizing
these drugs before they cripple the entire economic and social
structure of our state, if not our country.

While there are certainly vested financial interests -- criminal and
otherwise -- in keeping these drugs illegal, the rest of us have
vested financial interests in cutting the human and dollar costs.

Richard Shepard

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