Pubdate: Thu, 08 Nov 2007
Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Austin Chronicle Corp.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Cited: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


Dear Editor,

Re: "Ex-Cop Walks the Talk in Anti-Prohibition Effort" ["Reefer 
Madness," News] Nov. 2 by Jordan Smith: Former Police Officer b of 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is to be commended for speaking 
out against the War on Drugs. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal 
drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability 
of drug-trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, 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With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor-bootleggers no longer gun 
one another 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.

Sincerely, Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy
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