Pubdate: Wed, 29 May 2002
Source: Big Sandy News, The (KY)
Copyright: 2002 The Big Sandy News
Author: Tom O'Connell MD



In his May 22 Op-Ed. Scott Perry called methamphetamine a "virus." 
Certainly he knows it's not really a virus and is using the idea of 
infection metaphorically; however, such use is still misleading because it 
implies that Eastern Kentucky's meth problem came from out of the blue. Not 
so; the entire nation's meth problem was not only eminently predictable; 
it's simply another result of our federal government's stubborn belief that 
enough cops, money, and prisons can actually make drug prohibition work.

We're really relearning two lessons about illegal markets that we should 
have gleaned from the failure of Prohibition: the first is that an illegal 
monopoly commanding huge profits never lacks for willing workers - no 
matter how many may later be arrested. The second is that even though most 
cops remain honest; it only takes a few corruptible ones to insure the 
delivery of lucrative contraband.

The amphetamines marketed by the pharmaceutical industry as 'diet pills' in 
the Fifties were safe; they were known as 'mother's little helpers' by the 
housewives who abused them. Now we have ever larger drug task forces 
cleaning up an endless string of polluting meth labs while in vain pursuit 
of legions of meth cooks and armies of tweakers afflicted with failing 
health and rotting teeth.

Is society really better off?

Tom O'Connell MD

San Mateo, CA
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth