Pubdate: Fri, 08 Feb 2008
Source: Sheboygan Press (WI)
Copyright: 2008 Sheboygan Press
Author: Robert Sharpe


The Feb. 3 editorial in The Sheboygan Press makes the common mistake 
of confusing drug-related crime with prohibition-related crime. 
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With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer 
gunned each other down in drive-by shootings, nor did consumers go 
blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While U.S. 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 Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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