Pubdate: Sun, 26 Nov 2006
Source: Quesnel Cariboo Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Author: Robert Sharpe



Re: How to cut the crime rate: legalize drugs, B.C. Views, Opinions, 
the Observer, Nov. 22.

There is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket 
legalization. Switzerland's heroin maintenance trials have been shown 
to reduce disease, death and crime among chronic users.

Providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting 
eliminates many of the problems associated with heroin use. Heroin 
maintenance pilot projects are underway in Canada, Germany, Spain and 
The Netherlands. If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would 
deprive organized crime of a core client base. This would render 
illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations 
from addiction.

Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without 
the ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets 
is critical. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands 
of organized crime, consumers of the most popular illicit drug will 
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs such as cocaine.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes 
no sense to waste scarce resources on failed policies that finance 
organized crime and act as a gateway to hard drugs.

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, Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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