Pubdate: Fri, 08 Apr 2011
Source: Santa Maria Times (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Lee Central Coast Newspapers
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your recent editorial on the border issue, 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 come into contact with sellers of 
addictive drugs like cocaine. This gateway is a direct result of 
marijuana prohibition. 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
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