Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jan 2007
Source: Daily Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Sir: Gwynne Dyer's Jan. 10 column was right on target. 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.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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