Pubdate: Fri, 28 Apr 2006
Source: Good 5 Cent Cigar (U of  RI: Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Good 5 Cent Cigar
Author: Micah Daigle
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)
Bookmark: (Youth)


On Wednesday, Cigar columnist Chris Ferdinandi claimed that the act 
of comparing homosexual marriage to inter-species marriage is like 
comparing Advil to cocaine. "'If people can take Advil for a 
headache, then what's to stop people from legalizing cocaine next?' 
Sound absurd to you? Yeah, me too," he wrote.

It actually doesn't sound all that absurd to me, Chris. Especially 
considering the fact that each year approximately 7,600 Americans die 
from adverse reactions to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such 
as Advil, and far less appear to die as a result of cocaine. While 
it's hard to find a statistic for cocaine-induced mortality rates, in 
2000, the Journal of American Medical Association found that 
approximately 17,000 deaths were the direct or indirect result of 
illicit drug use. That's all illicit drugs; cocaine, heroin, 
methamphetamine, etc. (Facts obtained from

So if we overestimate and say a third of those were cocaine-related, 
that still only accounts for 5,666 mortalities; about 2,000 FEWER 
than those caused by over-the-counter headache medicines.

Many cocaine-related deaths occur because of accidental overdoses. 
Accidental overdoses occur because of an unregulated production 
process in which the buyer has no way of knowing how strong a product 
he or she is getting. Perhaps if the production of cocaine was 
regulated in some way, and if public funds went toward treatment 
instead of incarceration, there would be far fewer cases of 
cocaine-related deaths in America.

Remember when alcohol prohibition forced people to drink toxic 
moonshine, causing innumerable deaths? Remember when alcohol 
prohibition created a huge, violent criminal enterprise (Al Capone 
and his crew). Wait, we don't remember that, because our grandparents 
realized that it was a stupid idea a long time ago.

While personally, I strongly agree with you that the government 
should honor homosexual marriages, I have a problem with your use of 
drug policy reform as an extreme example of an absurd proposal. I see 
nothing absurd about reevaluating a policy that has put millions of 
non-violent people behind bars, created a multi-billion dollar 
criminal enterprise and has made our society far less safe from drug misuse.

If you or someone you know is misusing cocaine, or any other drug, 
feel free to contact Daniel Graney at the URI Office of Drug Abuse 
Prevention Services: 874-5073. And if you would like to find out more 
about the student movement to end the War on Drugs, Students for 
Sensible Drug Policy meets in room 128 of the Union at 5 p.m. on 
Thursdays. Also visit to learn more.

Micah Daigle

URI Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman