Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jan 2007
Source: St. Albert Gazette (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 St. Albert Gazette
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Your Jan. 17 Editorial, There Is a Middle Ground Between 
Failed Drug Prohibition and Feared Drug 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 under way 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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