Pubdate: Thu, 13 Jul 2006
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Hacker Press Ltd.
Author: Kenneth Tupper
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Editor, The News:

This is regarding Mark Rushton's column "Deterrence, it seems, is a 
lost word" (The News, July 11).

The belief that criminal justice interventions can deter the violence 
associated with the trade in currently illegal drugs could not be 
more misguided.

It is akin to believing that dousing a fire with gasoline will help 
extinguish it.

For most of the 20th century, bellicose U.S. ideology has ensured 
enforcement is the only option for addressing the human proclivity to 
alter consciousness with psychoactive substances.

The result: increased drug use (especially among youth), increased 
availability (high schools are primary retail outlets for illegal 
drugs) and increased associated violence.

In the U.S., the so-called "land of the free," the drug war has been 
egregiously racist and resulted in the largest per capita prison 
population in the world.

Asserting that "legalizing" won't help is a specious scare tactic.

Government control of alcohol production and distribution was put in 
place in most Canadian provinces in the 1920s, a decade before it 
happened in the United States, and the sky did not fall.

Escalating the drug war in order to stop it is pure folly.

It is time to end the violence and for Canada to model sane policies 
for our southern neighbour.

This will only happen by taking a public-health - rather than 
criminal justice - approach to drug use: taxation, regulation and control.

Kenneth Tupper

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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman