Pubdate: Thu, 15 Nov 2001
Source: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (WI)
Copyright: 2001 Eau Claire Press
Author: Robert Sharpe


Targeting rave dance parties will not protect children from drugs. Ecstasy 
is the latest illegal drug to make headlines, but it won't be the last 
until politicians acknowledge the drug war's inherent failure.

Drug policies modeled after America's disastrous experiment with alcohol 
prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug 
dealers do not ID for age, but they do push trendy, profitable "club drugs" 
like ecstasy, regardless of the dangers posed.

Driving drug use underground only compounds the problem. During the United 
States' disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition, consumers went 
blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin. The ecstasy variant known as PMA 
that has been taking the lives of youth around the world is today's version 
of bathtub gin. They thought they were buying ecstasy, but the black market 
has no controls for quality or age.

The drug war fails miserably at its primary mandate, protecting children 
from drugs. Sensible regulation is desperately needed to undermine the 
black market. As counterintuitive as it may seem, replacing marijuana 
prohibition with adult regulation would do a better job protecting children 
from drugs than the failed drug war.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers of the most popular illicit drug (marijuana) will continue to 
come into contact with sellers of drugs like meth.

Marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death and is arguably 
safer than legal alcohol. It makes no sense to waste scarce resources on 
failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate the use of hard 


Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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