Pubdate: Thu, 09 Sep 2004
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2004 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: Barbara J. Theisen
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


Editor, Times-Dispatch: Thomas Sowell's excellent column, "Program Marks 
Painful Anniversary," notes the major social disasters that continue to 
plague us today quite clearly began in the 1960s. I would like to cite a 
much larger social and health disaster that was started almost 100 years 
ago by the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914.

Originally the law was intended to ensure the orderly marketing of 
narcotics. It was, however, quickly converted into a law prohibiting the 
supply of narcotics to addicts even by physicians. The specious 
governmental bureaucratic interpretation bringing all this about? Addiction 
was not a disease; therefore addicts were not patients and could not be 
supplied their much-needed drugs.

By 1924, Congress tightened up the Harrison Act and prohibited the 
importation of certain drugs altogether.

Before the Harrison Act, one never heard of crimes related to addictive 
drugs, and people didn't die from diseases such as AIDS, or from poisoning, 
which they do today because these drugs are now produced illegally. Also, 
when people can obtain legally produced drugs, they can function quite well 
for many years, with much less damage to their organs than from a legal 
product called alcohol. Need I mention what Prohibition did both to health 
and for organized crime?

The same plus more is true about the ridiculous war on drugs in which we 
have invested trillions of dollars, built and filled more prisons than any 
other country in the civilized world, and inadvertently helped finance 

When are the people of this country going to get over Puritanism, wake up 
to the facts, and demand an end to this fiasco?

Barbara J. Theisen. mechanicsville.
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