Pubdate: Fri, 10 Aug 2001
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2001 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Michael Greene


In response to James V. Roach's comments ("Fruitless Drug War" Forum, July 
24), I completely agree that the tragic and pointless death of Roosevelt 
Police Chief Cecil Gurr is another sad part of prohibitionist drug 
policies. Current drug policies do not adequately address the violence and 
addiction problems associated with the illegal drug market. And they never 

As long as the solution criminalizes users, crime will be a fundamental 
element of the use of an illegal drug. Even an otherwise law-abiding 
citizen becomes a criminal merely by using marijuana, a drug many health 
experts and government studies have determined to be far less dangerous 
than the penalties for its used demand.

However, Chief Gurr was killed while performing the duties that his 
position demanded. For that he deserves only the highest praise. Mr. Roach 
states that, " . . . Utah's finest are unabashedly continuing this idiocy 
by declaring prohibition to be our No. 1 solution." He misses the fact 
that, under current policy, prohibition is law enforcement's only solution 
to illegal drug use.

It isn't law enforcement that needs to " . . . consider looking at [the 
drug problem] from the perspective of a public health issue . . ." It is 
our policy-makers and, ultimately, the public that must change perspective. 
Our policy-makers and the public need to understand that there is a vast 
difference between the use of a drug and criminal act done under the 
influence of that drug, whether it be alcohol, tobacco or methamphetamine. 
If there is ever going to be more effective policy that deals with the 
problems of illegal drug use then it is the responsibility of each 
individual to work toward that goal.

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