Pubdate: Tue, 03 Feb 2004
Source: Clarksdale Press Register (MS)
Copyright: 2004, Clarksdale Press Register
Author: Scott Russ


Dear Editor: It's tragic that Americans don't consider the one thing that 
would end or drastically reduce the problems with meth labs (Deaths show 
danger of crystal meth usage," Wednesday, Jan. 28): ending the war on drugs 
and legally regulating these substances. Why would we want to do that, you 
ask? Two words: meth epidemic! Do you really think that these folks would 
be manufacturing this toxic substance if they were allowed to obtain 
amphetamines in a legally regulated environment? Amphetamines used to be 
more easily prescribed by doctors. They were more strictly scheduled after 
these pills started finding their way into the recreational market. So, I 
have to ask, do we want a legally regulated environment with acceptable 
risks or a meth epidemic where any man, woman or child can buy or sell 
toxic crystal meth? The difference in a legal environment is that we have 
some control over who gets these substances and an openness that fosters 
honest education and offers help to those who need it. Right now, what 
we're fostering is a criminal environment, a demonizing of users and a 
police state where nobody comes out a winner. Why do you think heroin 
maintenance programs work so well at reducing the crime, corruption, death 
and disease associated with heroin prohibition? We should criminalize 
alcohol and tobacco or end the drug war fraud and allow our law enforcement 
and government to gain back some respect and credibility which has been 
damaged almost beyond repair. Chemical concoctions like crystal meth are 
being manufactured because of the underground environment we've created 
with prohibition. There is no excuse for prohibition. It didn't work in the 
'20s, it won't work in the present and it won't work in the future. Today's 
war on drugs is the same as alcohol prohibition. The only difference is the 
substance. When are Americans going to realize this simple truth?

Scott Russ, Baton Rouge, La.
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