Pubdate: Tue, 03 Nov 2009
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Kirk Tousaw


Dear Editor,

Ms. Huziak [Legal drugs would add crime, Oct. 27 Letters, Langley 
Advance], who took anti-prohibitionist Mr. Harvey [Law puts money in 
thungs' pockets, Oct. 16 Letters, Langley Advance] to task for 
"fallacious" statements, needs to look in the mirror and give her 
head a shake. Her letter was filled with myths, assumptions, and 
outright falsehoods.

Drugs - all of them - were legal prior to prohibition, just like 
alcohol. Plus, like it or not, the desire for drugs exists now, 
despite (and maybe in part because of) prohibition. There is 
absolutely no evidence that ending prohibition will increase usage. 
Indeed, usage of cannabis in the Netherlands, where it is legal, is 
significantly lower than here where it is illegal. [Editor's note: In 
fact, cannabis is not technically legal in the Netherlands, but laws 
prohibiting its use are not enforced.]

Peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that use rates exist independently 
of legality. We have been successful in reducing alcohol-impaired 
driving through public education and changing mores, not through 
criminalization and incarceration.

The idea that there will be more illegal dealers post-prohibition is 
laughable. Right now, high school students report that it is much 
easier to obtain illegal drugs than alcohol. And teenage tobacco use 
is down, not up. Again, this is due to public education and changing 
mores, not criminalization and incarceration.

There will be no increase in crime if drugs were made legal. Just the 
opposite. Where legal heroin trials have been tried, for example, 
drug-seeking crime by addicts was reduced dramatically. That's 
scientific fact. And you don't see alcohol sellers shooting each 
other over booze turf, because it is a regulated market. They used 
to, however, during prohibition.

Finally, drugs are illegal because of racist and hysterical policies 
enacted 100 years ago, not because of an honest assessment of harm. 
The hysteria is echoed by Ms. Huziak, who apparently thinks that 
people struggling with addiction - a disease - are "drug-crazed 
addicts" instead of human beings. And if she thinks addiction doesn't 
exist in her neighbourhood, she needs to drop her class bias and wake 
up to reality.

Addiction is not a disease affecting only the DTES.

Kirk Tousaw, Vancouver
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