Pubdate: Wed, 17 May 2000
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2000, The Tribune Co.
Section: Letters
Author: John Chase, Palm Harbor


As a grandparent, I know the anger my peers feel when they read
articles such as ``Dancing with danger'' (BayLife, May 8) by Nancy
Othon of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. But my anger is different.

I am angry at hearing the same tired warnings about drugs and kids
from the same substance abuse and drug policy experts who built their
careers as we slid downhill toward more drug use, more drug abuse and
more inadvertent deaths. Has it ever occurred to any of these experts
that our kids would be safer if these club drugs were labeled as to
purity and a description of the lethality when used with alcohol?
Probably not, because the question is irrelevant unless club drugs are
legalized and regulated.

We adults have been so brainwashed by the apostles of this failed
social policy that we allow our kids to risk permanent disability,
even death, rather than trust our kids to keep themselves out of danger.

And it gets worse. The article will have the perverse effect of making
club drugs more dangerous by increasing public anger at these drugs,
thus driving the market further underground. Suppliers will cut
corners to get pills to market and more kids will die, and the market
will go even further underground, and so on.

This happened when alcohol Prohibition gradually became more effective
after about 1927 along our Eastern Seaboard. The Coast Guard had
pretty well shut off the supply of good liquor entering the United
States from Europe, and most of the original, rather ethical
bootleggers had been sent to federal prison. The liquor market was
left to the likes of Al Capone, who would do whatever it took to
survive. What they did was to cut good liquor with other solvents and
then cover up the smell. The effect was a sharp increase in the rate
of death, paralysis and blinding from poisoned liquor.

Even now, up to 30 percent of Ecstasy pills at any venue are not what
they are purported to be, according to a recent ``60 Minutes II'' report.

The choice is simple: a small quantity of very dangerous drugs or a
larger quantity of rather benign drugs. For advice on that choice,
look to the European Union and to Switzerland. Don't rely on advice
from today's experts to help you make that decision. They have been at
it for 85 years now and have brought us to ``Dancing with danger.''
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