Pubdate: Wed, 13 Mar 2002
Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Address: 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301-2835
Email:  2002 Charleston Daily Mail
Author: Robert Sharpe


Wood County's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of the deadly 
exploding liquor stills that sprang up throughout the nation during alcohol 
prohibition. 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. There are cost-effective alternatives to a 
never-ending drug war without victory.

In Europe, the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by 
replacing marijuana prohibition with adult regulation.

Dutch rates of drug use are significantly lower than U.S. rates in every 
category. Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age 
controls for marijuana has proved more effective than zero tolerance.

The prohibition model drug war is a very real threat to public safety. 
Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant 
only increase the profitability of drug trafficking.

In terms of addictive drugs like meth, a rise in street prices leads 
desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

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

Robert Sharpe
Washington, D.C.

Sharpe is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance. 
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart