Source: Irish Independent 
Pubdate: Tue, 28 Jul 1998
Note: Our newshawk writes: "The newspaper somehow managed to turn the first
two lines of my name and address (Martin Cooke, Corcormick) into "Martin
McCormick" "

Letters to the Editor



As reports come in that the country's problem with heroin and other
dangerous drugs is beginning to be felt in provincial towns and rural
villages ('Shooting up in rural Ireland', "Focus"), one must wonder just
what can be done to stop our young people from starting to use these
dangerous substances.

Earlier this month in the United States, the Office of National Drug
Control Policy announced a $2 billion anti-drug media campaign. At the
ceremony heralding its launch in Atlanta, President Clinton told students,
"These ads are designed to knock America upside its head and get America's

Meanwhile in Britain, the Home Office spend on anti-drug education has just
been increased by UKP188 million in a much-trumpeted strategy to educate
schoolchildren as young as five years of age on the dangers of drugs.

Whilst such strategies may make parents feel that at least their
governments are doing something to tackle the problem, they are likely to
cause more harm than good in the long run, if only because of the natural
tendency of young people to ignore or even actively oppose the threats and
moralising of their parents' generation.

But the very fact that we should even need to consider committing such vast
sums of public money raises a larger and far more important question: Just
why are these dangerous substances so far outside the control of
responsible society that we cannot keep them out of the hands of our children?

The answer is that drug prohibition has failed our children, and failed
them spectacularly. Drug prohibition, far from being a form of drug
control, is nothing more than the surrendering of the control of these
dangerous and addictive substances into the hands of criminals. These
so-called "Controlled Substances" are, in reality, completely outside any
form of control whatsoever.

The whole root of the problem lies in the very fact that these drugs are
illegal in the first place. This very illegality gives them a value far
above their true cost. Indeed they have become so valuable that, as we have
seen in Ireland time and time again over the past twenty years or so, all
attempts to incarcerate the criminals involved in their distribution only
result in other greedy individuals stepping in to fill the void that is

Prohibitionists often speak of the 'horrifying' prospect of legalisation,
including "heroin being sold in the corner shop to children with false
identities". But when was the last time that a child in this country,
attempting to buy heroin, was asked for identification, false or otherwise,
under the present system? Indeed children are advantageous customers to the
pushers, as they are very unlikely to be either undercover gardai or
informers. Prohibition does not work. Prohibition never has worked.
Prohibition never will work. And until the world wakes up to this fact we
will continue to see the lives of more and more of our children destroyed
by its effects.


Martin McCormick, Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim. 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake