Pubdate: Sat, 21 Apr 2001
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press
Author: Robert Sharpe


In response to your April 16 editorial "Ecstasy: Give kids painfully 
accurate facts": Accurate facts are hard to come by when moral hysteria 
dominates the drug policy debate. If health outcomes determined drug laws 
instead of cultural norms, alcohol would be illegal and marijuana would 
not. Alcohol poisoning kills thousands annually.

As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black market 
contacts that introduce youths to drugs like ecstasy.

Let's not kid ourselves about protecting children. Illegal drug dealers do 
not ID for age, making it easier for kids to buy illegal drugs than beer. 
There are cost-effective alternatives. In Europe, the Netherlands has 
successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition 
with regulation. Dutch rates of drug use are significantly lower than U.S. 
rates in every category.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age controls for 
marijuana have proved more effective than zero tolerance.

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