Pubdate: Mon, 13 Dec 2004
Source: Record, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Editor, The Record:

Re: Panic, politics or prudence? Editorial, The Record, Nov. 17.

How should B.C. respond to the growing use of methamphetamine?

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall has good reason to
caution against overreacting. Here in the United States, New York City
chose the zero tolerance approach during the crack epidemic of the
'80s. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was smoking crack
and America's capital had the highest per capita murder rate in the
country. Yet crack use declined in both cities simultaneously.

The decline was not due to a slick anti-drug advertising campaign or
the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Simply put, the
younger generation saw firsthand what crack was doing to their older
siblings and decided for themselves that crack was bad news.

This is not to say nothing can be done about methamphetamine. Access
to drug treatment is critical for the current generation of users. In
order to protect future generations from hard drugs, policy-makers
need to adopt the Canadian Senate's common-sense proposal to tax and
regulate marijuana. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the
hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact
with addictive drugs like meth. This "gateway" is the direct result of
a fundamentally flawed policy. Drug policy reform may send the wrong
message to children, but I like to think the children are more
important than the message.

Robert Sharpe,

Common Sense for Drug Policy,

Washington, D.C.
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