Pubdate: Fri, 01 Mar 2002
Source: Savannah Morning News (GA)
Copyright: 2002 Savannah Morning News
Author: Robert Sharpe


I respectfully disagree with your Feb. 26 editorial, "Don't gut drug 
squad." Throwing more money at the drug problem is no solution. The drug 
war has a clear historical precedent in America's disastrous experiment 
with alcohol prohibition during the early 1900s.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor producers no longer gun each down 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

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a 
youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but 
they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting 
the children.

While U.S. politicians continue to use the drug war's inherent failure to 
justify its intensification, European countries are embracing harm 
reduction, a public health alternative based on the principle that both 
drug use and drug prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

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 drug treatment alternatives that do not require 
incarceration as a prerequisite.

Ironically, fear of appearing soft on crime compels many U.S. politicians 
to support a drug policy that ultimately subsidizes organized crime, while 
failing miserably at preventing use.

ROBERT SHARPE, Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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