Pubdate: Sat, 03 July 1999
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 1999 by The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Patrick Froehlich
Note: Original:


"Drug addiction fuels murderous trend" is a misleading title, which gives
the impression that drug addiction itself causes violence. In fact, nearly
all drug-related murders can be attributed to the underground economy based
around their sale.

The black market for illegal drugs operates in the same manner as any other
black market. People cannot buy illegal drugs with checks or credit cards,
so large amounts of cash are involved. Drug dealers are prime targets for
rip-off artists.

Since legal authorities can't be called in, drug disputes must be settled
with violence. This endangers users, dealers and others who just happen to
be in the area when shots start going off.

The illegal drug trade requires three things to exist: a supply of drugs, a
demand for drugs and laws prohibiting their sale and possession. Removing
any one of these would cause the black market to disappear.

Many years of drug prohibition have failed to eliminate them or even reduce
demand or supply.

It's long past time for our leaders to quit pretending they can eliminate
the drug market and start regulating it.

Patrick Froehlich, Richmond, Va.

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