Pubdate: Fri, 28 Dec 2001
Source: Florida Today (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Florida Today
Author: Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida, Clearwater


Dec. 24 letter-writer Ira Adams makes several assumptions in attempting to 
discredit Robert Sharpe of the Lindesmith Drug Policy Foundation in 
Washington, D.C.

As someone who actively is involved with drug abusers and drug recovery 
programs in Florida, I believe I can answer the questions he posed.

Sharpe did not imply that either crack cocaine or methamphetamine is low in 
addictive potential. However, the suggestion that " . . . anyone cannot 
quit crack and meth, according to experts" is ludicrous.

In our work we have seen thousands of Floridians not only quit, but also 
stay clean of these destructive substances.

Also, neither Sharpe nor I wish " to portray tobacco as the scourge of 
society." While we may encourage America's thousands of tobacco addicts to 
end their use, we certainly do not view tobacco use as "the root of almost 
all evil." Tobacco contributes to almost a half-million deaths annually in 
the U.S., while cannabis has no toxic dosage, even long term.

I agree with Adams that we must do more to better educate our youth and 
adults regarding the facts on all drug use and abuse. Ending marijuana 
prohibition for adults would free more than $20 billion in federal and 
state tax dollars.

These funds could go a long way to increasing not only education, but also 
health and treatment options for those drugs with truly serious addictive 
properties -- cocaine, methamphetamine and, yes, tobacco. 
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