Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jun 2007
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2007 Southam Inc.
Author: Rick Osborne


Re: Put The Gangs Out Of Business: Legalize Drugs, Michael C. 
Chettleburgh, June 13.

As a former gang member who served 24 years in federal prison (drug, 
robbery and weapons charges) and now leads a pro-social life working 
with youth in the Greater Toronto Area, I can say that Michael 
Chettleburgh is right on the money with his questioning of the status 
quo regarding the suppression of street drugs. Gangs as we know them 
will cease to exist if we cut off their sources of income and 
control--drug profits.

With the legalization of soft drugs (THC-based products such as 
marijuana, oil and hashish), we would not only suppress the 
underground economy, but also control the content (no more 
methamphetamine-laced products).

The medicalization of stronger narcotics like cocaine and heroin 
would be the next step. Doctors, rather than the criminal justice 
system, would then be the first line of intervention, minimizing 
procurement criminality and the medical complications of using drugs 
on the street. This model does not include the current harm reduction 
modality of methadone clinics, which doesn't work.

Rick Osborne, Newmarket, Ont.
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