Pubdate: Wed, 26 Aug 1998
Date: 08/26/1998
Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada)
Author: Gil Puder
Section: Letter of the Day

In a Dec. 31 Forum article, I stated that the clarion call for
decriminalization of drugs can be found in the ludicrous nature of the
arguments its opponents advance. I'd like to thank James Murray
(Letter of the day) and Denny Boyd (War, political waffling will sink
free heroin notion) for proving my point on Aug. 22.

Mr. Murray's chicken-little ranting about free cars for thieves and
money for bank robbers ignores the rationale behind heroin
maintenance. Using medicine instead of criminal law attracts chronic
addicts into treatment, saving that money Mr. Murray is so concerned
about. They are "given" nothing other than health care.

Methadone and counselling programs need priority and overdue support.
Yet heroin maintenance has clearly worked for addicts not reached by
these interventions. Yes Mr. Murray, many do find jobs and pay taxes.

Denny Boyd's fear-mongering about doctors giving out overdoses and
bringing on lawsuits would be funny if it weren't so sad. I guess I
have much more confidence in our physicians than with a 70-year law
enforcement disaster called prohibition.

Since Messrs. Boyd and Murray want to enforce health and morality,
respectively, they might consider that obesity kills many more people
than narcotics. Are they ready for police roadblocks at the
drive-through window, and just maybe getting caught themselves? If so,
when it comes time for sentencing, I want first chance at enforcing
their fitness routines.

Gil Puder