Pubdate: Mon, 19 Nov 2001
Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2001 The Dominion
Author: Leo McIntyre


Sir, -- Peter Cohen is described by Frans Koopmans as "merely" a scientist 
(November 13). Would not the public, and especially the members of the 
health select committee on cannabis, be better served by paying attention 
to a "mere" scientist who has a 20-year career in researching drugs and 
drug use among a diverse range of people, than to Mr Koopmans, a person who 
has experience only in dealing with people whose abuse of drugs has been so 
severe as to lead them to require treatment?

It's not going soft on drugs that causes harm, it's going too hard. As Dr 
Cohen has pointed out, the majority of people who use cannabis, whether 
moderately or not, suffer no lasting ill effects from cannabis use, and 
indeed many benefit from using cannabis medicinally.

Dr Cohen reports that drug use tends to increase irrespective of legal 
status. Prohibition creates fear among those who need help with drug 
problems, fear that keeps them from seeking the help they need.

Mr Koopmans might have fewer people in his centre if cannabis were 
prohibited in the Netherlands; many would be afraid to go to see him.


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