Pubdate: Wed, 08 May 2002
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2002 Calgary Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe


As noted in your May 4 editorial, Canadian taxpayers unwittingly shelled 
out $250,000 for a federal study stating the obvious.

That alcohol is the drug most often associated with violent behaviour is 
well-established. Forcibly limiting the supply of illegal drugs while 
demand remains constant only increases the profitability of drug 
trafficking. In terms of addictive drugs such as heroin, a spike in street 
prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed their 

The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime. Canada would be wise to 
follow Europe's lead. Pragmatic harm-reduction policies such as needle 
exchange to stop the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation to separate the 
hard and soft drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require 
incarceration as a prerequisite have proven more effective than zero 
tolerance. Canada's southern neighbour, the current record holder in 
citizens incarcerated, is hardly an ideal role model.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

Robert Sharpe is a program officer with the Drug Policy Alliance.
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