Pubdate: Thu, 01 Aug 2002
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


WHILE EUROPE has largely abandoned the drug war in favor of harm- reduction 
alternatives, our so-called leaders in Congress are seemingly intent on 
maximizing the harm associated with illicit drug use. The Reducing 
Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) Act article targets dance clubs 
that provide life-saving harm-reduction education, pill testing, and "chill 
rooms" designed to prevent ecstasy-related heat exhaustion ("Bill a 
buzzkill for raves," July 22). Sacrificing more children at the altar of 
the failed drug war in order to "send a message" is not in America's best 

In addition to pushing legislation that will lead to easily preventable 
deaths, our government is spending millions on an advertising campaign that 
appears to be designed to drum up political support for the war on (some) 
drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America's anti-ecstasy ads for kids 
show apparent indifference among ecstasy users when fellow "ravers" fall 
unconscious. These ads have zero credibility. Most teenagers know ecstasy 
produces strong feelings of empathy.

The likely result of the government's anti-ecstasy campaign is teenagers 
continuing to use ecstasy and parents continuing to support harmful 
zero-tolerance policies. Apparently keeping the $50 billion drug war gravy 
train chugging along is more important than protecting children from drugs.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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