Pubdate: Tue, 27 Jul 2010
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the editorial "Failed drug 'war'" (July 19 and 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 illicit 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
organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will
continue to come into contact with sellers of addictive drugs like

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol -- the plant
has never been shown to cause an overdose death -- it makes no sense
to waste tax revenue 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

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy
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