Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: New York Sun, The (NY)
Copyright: 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.
Author: Robert Sharpe

Up From Prohibition

Unlike Congress, John McWhorter is obviously capable of applying
fundamental economic principles to drug policy [Oped, "Up From
Prohibition,"June21,2007]. 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With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun
each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind
drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While American 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 American politicians to support a failed
drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime.


Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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