Pubdate: Wed, 06 Dec 2006
Source: Cambridge Evening News (UK)
Copyright: 2006 Cambridge Newspapers Ltd
Author: Robert Sharpe


REGARDING Jack Cole and Tom Lloyd's comments (News, November 30), 
there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalisation.

Switzerland's heroin maintenance programme has been shown to reduce 
disease, death and crime among chronic users.

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

Cannabis should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the 
ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical.

As long as cannabis distribution remains in the hands of organised 
crime, consumers of the most popular illicit drug will continue to 
come into contact with sellers of cocaine.

Given that cannabis is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no 
sense to waste scarce resources on failed drug policies that finance 
organised crime and facilitate the use of 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, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy 
Washington United States of America
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom