Pubdate: Tue, 11 Sep 2007
Source: Sand Mountain Reporter, The (Albertsville, AL)
Copyright: 2007 Sand Mountain Reporter.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Anti-drug operations like Operation Clean Sweep are no doubt 
well-intended, but ultimately counterproductive.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs, while demand remains 
constant, only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For 
addictive drugs like methamphetamine, a spike in street prices leads 
desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits.

The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun 
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind 
drinking unregulated bathtub gin.

While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical precedent, 
European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health 
alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse and 
prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop 
the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard- 
and soft-drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require 
incarceration as a prerequisite.

Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels many U.S. 
politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes 
organized crime.

Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe,

Arlington, Va.

Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy in 
Washington, D.C.
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