Pubdate: Tues, 15 Jun 1999
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 1999 The Dallas Morning News
Author: Jerry Epstein


The war on drugs is also responsible for the apparent herion overdose of
Kevin Graves, brother-in-law of radio talk show host Mark Davis, and the
death of retired Dallas Cowboy Mark Tuinei. There has been no indication
that these people hurt anyone but themselves. There has been no indication
that they behaved worse than (or even as bad as) the 14 million addicted to
alcohol. In Switzerland they would be alive and well, having been sold
heroin of known purity by prescription. There have been no overdose deaths
in four years among program participants. We have over twice Switzerland's
hard drug addiction rate.

The surplus heroin (which increases as drug lords easily move to counter our
futile attempts to stop supply) that the illegal market makes available to
children - 34 percent say it is "easy to get" heroin - would not be "easy to
get" from doctors.

There would be no illegal market of consequence just as there is none for
alcohol and tobacco.

Those who claim that people who now use alcohol in a responsible manner
would suddenly run out and get addicted to heroin because Mr. Graves, Mr.
Tuinei and the other 700,000 heroin addicts were treated medically instead
of as criminals make little sense.

The "usual suspects" were cited in your article saying the same useless
things - let's do more of what doesn't work -that have resulted in a more
than 500 percent increase in overdose deaths since 1980.

Kevin Graves, Mark Tuinei and the other dead heroin users have been murdered
by society for the offense of using the wrong brand.

JERRY EPSTEIN, President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Houston

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