Pubdate: Thu, 21 Feb 2002
Source: Press & Journal (UK)
Copyright: 2002: Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Sir, - Ian Oliver (February 13) cites evidence from the US as reason to 
hold the line on drug legalisation. The US is perhaps the most backwards 
country when it comes to drug policy. The former land of the free now has 
the highest incarceration rate in the world. The steady rise in police 
searches on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools, and the testing 
of bodily fluids in the US have led to a loss of privacy, while failing to 
prevent drug use.

Based on findings that criminal records do more harm than cannabis, most EU 
countries have decriminilised that drug. Despite draconian penalties and 
perhaps because of forbidden-fruit appeal, lifetime use of cannabis is 
higher in the US than in any European country.

The latest drug-war fiasco to come out of the US is "compassionate 
coercion". This expansion of zero tolerance under the guise of treatment 
does not distinguish between occasional use and chronic abuse. Jail 
sentences and open-ended drug testing will be applied exclusively to users 
of non-traditional drugs.

Alcoholics and nicotine addicts need not worry. Britain should Just Say No 
to the American Inquisition.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, DC, USA
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