Pubdate: Mon, 27 Jun 2005
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2005 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ken Sailor
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


The SP deserves thanks for the recent series on the ravages of 
crystal methamphetamine. As well as dramatically stating why meth is 
dangerous, you also showed what a failure prohibition has been in 
attempting to eradicate the use of this drug.

Instead of protecting anyone, prohibition has allowed the 
distribution of the drug to grow while its price is falling. 
Furthermore, the deaths you reported had to do with impurities and 
unknown drug strength -- unfortunate circumstances that would not 
happen if a pure, legal supply were available to those unfortunates 
who feel they must use it.

Drug policy reform is often referred to as "harm reduction," because 
prohibition magnifies the harms associated with drug use. At the very 
least, through drug legalization we can prevent the crime, disease 
and death caused by prohibition.

The most startling aspect of prohibition is the fact that our rates 
of drug use -- including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth 
- -- are more than would be the case if these drugs were legal. Not 
only does prohibition magnify the harms to the individual user, it 
also magnifies the harm to society.

The more effective way to control drug use is through societal 
disapproval. If drugs were not cool, kids would not use them. If drug 
use were not driven underground, then family and friends would know 
sooner what was going on.

The more effective way to reduce the harm to someone caught in a drug 
addiction is to provide addiction services to anyone willing to 
accept them, not to put the user in jail.

Feeling righteous about the war on drugs is not enough: the time has 
come to act sensibly and compassionately. Legalization combined with 
education and addiction services are the most effective way to combat 
our terrible problems.

Ken Sailor

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