Pubdate: Wed, 27 Jun 2007
Source: Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, IL)
Copyright: 2007 Daily Southtown
Author: Robert Sharpe


James E. Gierach has good reason to question the drug war (Opinions,
June 21). It certainly hasn't made Chicago's South Side any safer.
Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains
constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking.

For addictive drugs such as 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With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind
drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While our 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.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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