Pubdate: Mon, 08 Oct 2007
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Toronto Star
Author: Andy Turnbull


Re: Anti-drug strategy launched, Oct. 5

Does Prime Minister Stephen Harper really believe that an 
American-style war on drugs would reduce drug use in Canada? Maybe he 
needs to check the facts.

If it were not tragic it would be amusing to compare drug use in the 
United States, where tens of thousands of police and civil servants 
owe their jobs to the drug trade, with drug use in the Netherlands, 
where marijuana is tolerated.

According to the pamphlet Q & A Drugs, A Guide to Dutch Policy, 
published by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2002 and 
available from Dutch consulates, in 1997 32.9 per cent of Americans 
12 years and older, but only 15.6 per cent of Dutch in the same age 
group had used cannabis at least once. Nine per cent of Americans but 
only 4.5 per cent of Dutch had used cannabis in the year before the 
survey. More than 5 per cent of Americans but only 2.5 per cent of 
Dutch had used cannabis within a month before the survey.

Use of hard drugs is also lower in the Netherlands than in the U.S. 
More than 10 per cent of Americans but just over 2 per cent of Dutch 
have tried cocaine at least once. More than three times as many 
Americans as Dutch have used heroin at least once.

In fact it appears that the American "War on Drugs" actually supports 
the use of drugs in the U.S.

It also helps give the "land of the free" the distinction of having 
by far the largest number of prisoners, as a percentage of the 
population, in the world.

Jack Cole, a retired Det. Lt. in the New Jersey State Police and now 
executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (an 
association of more than 2,000 active and former police officers who 
oppose the war on drugs), says the United States has 4.6 per cent of 
the world's population and 22.5 per cent of the world's prisoners.

Does Harper know the facts? Does he care, or does he just want to 
make Canada into a second-rate version of the U.S.?

Andy Turnbull

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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman