Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jan 2007
Source: Evening News, The (CN NS)
Copyright: The Evening News
Page: 6
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor,

Regarding Gwynne Dyer's Jan. 8th column, there is a middle ground
between drug prohibition and blanket legalization. Switzerland's
heroin maintenance program has 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,
England, 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 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 like 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 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.

For information on the efficacy of heroin maintenance please read the
following British Medical Journal report:

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

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