Pubdate: Thu, 30 Jan 2003
Source: Westender (Vancouver, CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 WestEnder
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re "Cops keeping dealers moving" by Justin Beddall, Jan. 23-29 issue:

Does moving open-air drug markets from one Vancouver neighborhood to the 
next constitute drug war victory? 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 heroin, a spike in street 
prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed 
desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Drug policy should focus not on reducing the total number of people who use 
drugs, but rather on reducing the death, disease, crime and suffering 
associated with both drug use and prohibition. The good news is that 
Vancouver has already adopted many of the harm-reduction interventions 
pioneered in Europe. The bad news is that Canada's southern neighbour 
continues to use its superpower status to export a dangerous moral crusade 
around the globe.

The U.S. provides tragic examples of anti-drug strategies that are best 
avoided. Can Canada afford to emulate the harm-maximization drug policies 
of the former land of the free and current record holder in citizens 

Robert Sharpe, program officer, Drug Policy Alliance Washington, DC
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