Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jan 2007
Source: Trail Daily Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Trail Daily Times
Note: The newspaper does not have an active website.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Gwynne Dyer's Jan.  9 column ( The struggle against the 'War on
Drugs') 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

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

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