Pubdate: Sun, 14 Sep 2003
Source: St. Cloud Times (MN)
Copyright: 2003 St. Cloud Times
Author: Jeff Miller
Cited: Minnesota Marijuana Party

Readers' views:


While most of the world has acknowledged that the war on drugs is a
complete failure and more destructive to society and drug users than
the drugs themselves, the U.S. government refuses even to debate the
possibility of doing anything but waging war on its own citizens. Our
system of dealing with drug abuse is a system that stops nobody,
including teen-agers, from finding any drug they please. The enormous
amount of profit that is involved with the illicit drug trade
encourages criminal organizations and gangs to flourish. And with
them, comes all the violence.

Countries that have experimented with decriminalization and/or harm
reduction strategies have had positive results. Where ever marijuana
has been decriminalized, rates of usage have been affected very little
and the usage of hard drugs has decreased over time. In the late
1970s, the average age of hard drug users in the Netherlands was in
the mid 20s. Now the average age is 36. This tells us that young
people are never coming into contact with hard drugs.

Switzerland is experimenting with "heroin assisted treatment." So far
the experiment is working very well. In the cities where the plan is
in place, crime has declined up to 60 percent. The black market for
heroin has been crushed, and the overall health of the addicts has
gotten better. The Swiss program has seen a higher rate of people
going into treatment and after treatment a higher percentage stay off
the drug.

We as a society need to approach drug abuse as managers rather than
moralizers. It's time to start looking at better more viable and
freedom-loving options when approaching the issue of drug abuse,
rather than building more prisons and spending more money.

Jeff Miller

Minnesota Marijuana Party, St. Cloud
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