Pubdate: Wed, 27 Dec 2000
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2000 News World Communications, Inc.
Contact:  202-832-8285
Author: Chris Buors


I take umbrage with Robert Sharpe, program officer with the Lindesmith 
Center-Drug Policy Foundation of Washington ("U.S. war on drugs only feeds 
problems in Colombia," Letters, Dec. 22). Mr. Sharpe recommends that the 
government treat "all substance abuse - legal or otherwise" as a "public 
health problem." Public health problems traditionally have been 
"communicable diseases" like typhoid or tuberculosis that pose an immediate 
danger to the public. E coli or poor sanitary conditions that could result 
in a rodent infestation could also be considered "public health" concerns.

Drug use is a vice, not a crime or a medical disorder. Drug use is a 
private health matter. Taking drugs is an act of the will, not something 
that is "caught" like a disease. By suggesting that private health matters 
are somehow akin to public health concerns, Mr. Sharpe implicitly approves 
of the government's prohibitionist interventions.

Government should mind their own business. Is excessive drinking in your 
own home a "public health" concern? Does it cause you harm if your neighbor 
is privately using drugs? If drug use does not break your leg or pick your 
pocket, then it should be of no concern to legitimate government. Drug laws 
are the cause of more crimes than drug use.

The government should restore our natural right to drugs. As Thomas 
Jefferson said in an address to the Virginia State Legislature, "If the 
state were to control our drugs and our diet then our bodies would be in 
such keeping as our souls are now."

Chris Buors, Winnipeg Manitoba
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