Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2012
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2012 The Edmonton Journal
Page: A19
Author: Ronald G. Rowswell


Re: "Drug war lost, new tack needed," Editorial, April 19.

The flaw in Richard Nixon's war on drugs was the fact that it 
concentrated on heroin, cocaine and marijuana - the drugs used by 
minority groups - and ignored alcohol and tobacco, the drugs used by 
most people.

The British medical journal Lancet published a comparison of the harm 
done by all these drugs on Nov. 6, 2010.

It ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug, at 72 points, followed by 
heroin at 55, crack cocaine at 54, tobacco at 26, and marijuana at 20.

The high ranking for alcohol was not only because of the harm done to 
the user, but also the harm done to others, such as fetal alcohol 
syndrome disorder and deaths due to drunk driving.

The Journal's editorial states 50,000 people have died in Mexican 
gang wars during the last six years. Deaths due to tobacco-related 
illnesses during that same time were 222,000 in Canada, 2,658,000 in 
the United States and 30 million worldwide.

When President Barack Obama said, "I don't think that legalization of 
drugs is going to be the answer," he ignores the fact that in 1933 
the U.S. government did legalize and regulate alcohol, the most 
harmful drug there is. The government was glad for the taxes it generated.

Obama should remember that prohibition fostered organized crime, 
government and police corruption and social instability.

The U.S. government, the main force behind this war on drugs, has to 
step back and look at all the drugs, not just a select few.

Ronald G. Rowswell, Edmonton
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