Pubdate: Wed, 02 Nov 2005
Source: Herald-Mail, The (Hagerstown, MD)
Copyright: 2005 The Herald-Mail Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor:

Regarding your Oct. 25 editorial, the drug war is a cure that is worse
than the disease.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs, while demand remains
constant, only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For
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.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind
drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While U.S. politicians ignore the
drug war's historical precedent, European countries are embracing harm
reduction, a public health alternative based on the principle that
both drug abuse and prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop
the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard-
and soft-drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require
incarceration as a prerequisite.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels many U.S.
politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes
organized crime. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC.
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