Pubdate: Wed, 10 Oct 2007
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2007 The StarPhoenix
Author: Ken Sailor


Thanks for the editorial, Danger lurks in Conservative drug strategy 
(SP, Oct. 3), but the blow has fallen just the same. The wilful 
ignorance of Stephen Harper's drug policy is dangerous indeed.

For example, Harper says: "If you sell drugs or produce drugs, you 
will go to prison." No, not really. I know this because his policy is 
copied from our good neighbours to the south, who now have more than 
two million people in prison while drug use grows.

The FBI reported 820,000 drug arrests in 2006 but still the U.S. is 
flooded with illegal drugs. The Office of National Drug Control 
Policy tracks the prices of heroin and cocaine -- prices that have 
consistently fallen as drug penalties and enforcement have increased.

Any economist will tell you that as supply increases beyond demand, 
prices fall. And why does supply increase? Because Americans really, 
really want drugs and will do anything to get them: harsh criminal 
penalties are no deterrent.

And where is drug use less prevalent? It's where drugs are legal. 
Yes, addiction, disease and overdose are less frequent where people 
are not "protected" by ridiculous laws. That's because social norms 
are far more effective than the government in controlling drug use.

What is worst about Harper's drug policy is that it sins against the 
fundamental principle of democracy. The genius of democracy is that 
when a man has the freedom to make his own choices, on average he'll 
live better and more happily, even though he has the freedom to make mistakes.

If you like paying taxes for no reason, if you like putting people in 
jail to make them worse, if you like increased fear, crime, disease, 
death and addiction, then Harper's your man. If you long for a safer, 
freer, happier world, however, the Conservative drug policy is a disaster.

Ken Sailor

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