Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jul 2002
Source: Rock River Times (IL)
Copyright: The Rock River Times 2002
Author: Redford Givens


Dear Editor:

Thanks for M. L. Simon's insightful column about drug prohibition.

Going beyond "priorities," history shows that drug laws were never needed in
the first place because no one was robbing, whoring and murdering over drugs
when addicts could buy all of the heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium and
anything else they wanted cheaply and legally at the corner pharmacy. When
drugs were legal, addicts held regular employment, raised decent families
and were indistinguishable from their teetotaling neighbors. Overdoses were
virtually unheard of when addicts used cheap pure Bayer heroin instead of
the toxic potions prohibition puts on the streets. ( See: The Consumers
Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs--Chapter 5. "Some eminent narcotics
addicts" )

Where drug crime was unknown, we now have prisons overflowing with drug
users. Where addicts lived normal lives, we have hundreds of thousands of
shattered families. Where overdoses were extremely rare, we have tens of
thousands of drug deaths every year. The addiction rate is now five times
greater than when we had no laws at all. ( See: "Snow Job The Demonization
of Cocaine" by Jacob Sullum )

These are the consequences of America's lunatic drug crusade. ( See:
"Psychoactive Substances and Violence" ).

It's worth remembering that Eliot Ness and his "Untouchables" never put the
booze barons out of business. Repeal and a regulated market for adult
alcohol use ended the bootleg era. Regulation works for alcohol, and
regulation will work for drugs. Prohibition, on the other hand, has never
worked for anything, anywhere, anytime.

Redford Givens

San Francisco, Calif
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