Pubdate: Wed, 28 Feb 2007
Source: Polk County Democrat, The (FL)
Copyright: 2007 Polk County Democrat
Author: John Chase
Bookmark: (Chronic Pain)


PALM HARBOR - History teaches that relaxing prohibitory drug laws 
diminishes the combined net damage caused by the drugs and by their 

In the 1920s, federal alcohol prohibition caused more societal damage 
than it prevented. In 1933, we ended it and tossed the ball to the 
states. Most of them began some form of regulation, and the 
lawlessness of Prohibition stopped.

At the other extreme was tobacco, promoted in an unfettered free 
market until the mid-1960s. Tobacco's regulation has reduced its 
damage to public health without criminalizing those who sell it. 
There have been no serious proposals to go back, either for alcohol 
or for tobacco, two drugs as intoxicating (alcohol), and as addictive 
(tobacco) as any illegal drug.

Today we promote some drugs and prohibit others, with almost no drugs 
in between. It is the worst possible situation. The challenge is to 
put them all in between and find their optimum point of regulation, 
that point where the pain of the drug balances the pain of its enforcement.

John Chase
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