Pubdate: Mon, 05 Mar 2007
Source: Guardian, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2007 The Guardian, Charlottetown Guardian Group Incorporated
Author: Robert Sharpe



Regarding your Feb. 13 editorial (Being aware of the illegal drug 
problem), cracking down on illegal drugs is easier said than done.

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.

The good news is that Canada has already adopted many of the common 
sense harm reduction interventions first pioneered in Europe. The bad 
news is that Canada's southern neighbour continues to use its 
superpower status to export a dangerous moral crusade around the globe.

The U.S. provides tragic examples of anti-drug strategies that are 
best avoided.

U.S. Centres for Disease Control researchers estimate that 57 per 
cent of AIDS cases among women and 36 per cent of overall AIDS cases 
in the U.S. are linked to injection drug use or sex with partners who 
inject drugs. This easily preventable public health crisis is a 
direct result of zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean syringes.

Can Canada afford to emulate the harm maximization approach of the 
former land of the free and current record holder in citizens incarcerated?

Robert Sharpe, MPA, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, 
Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom