Pubdate: Mon, 26 Aug 2002
Source: Erie Times-News (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Erie Times-News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Letter-writer Sandra Bennett (Aug. 17) needs to consider that both drug 
abuse and drug prohibition can cause harm. So-called drug-related crime is 
invariably prohibition-related. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal 
drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug 

The drug war doesn't fight crime; it fuels crime.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun each 
other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking 
unregulated bathtub gin.

While U.S. politicians ignore the clear historical precedent, European 
countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health alternative to the 
never-ending drug war. Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange 
programs to stop the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at 
separating the hard and soft drug markets, and treatment alternatives that 
do not require incarceration.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing soft on crime compels many U.S. 
politicians to support a punitive drug war that ultimately subsidizes 
organized crime. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC
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