Pubdate: Fri, 07 Mar 2008
Source: Stabroek News (Guyana)
Copyright: 2008 Stabroek News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

Regarding your March 3rd editorial captioned "The US drug report and 
the crime crisis" the U.S. drug war is a cure worse than the disease.

Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains 
constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For 
addictive drugs like methamphetamine, 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.

There is a middle ground between drug prohibition and legalization.

Switzerland's heroin maintenance programme has been shown to reduce 
disease, death and crime among chronic users.

Providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting 
eliminates many of the problems associated with heroin use. Heroin 
maintenance pilot projects are underway in Canada, Germany, Spain and 
the Netherlands.

If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized 
crime of a core client base. This would render illegal heroin 
trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction. 
Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without 
the ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets 
is critical.

As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, 
consumers of the most popular illicit drug will continue to come into 
contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. Given 
that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no 
sense to waste scarce resources on failed policies that finance 
organized crime and facilitate hard drug use. Drug policy reform may 
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children 
are more important than the message.

For information on the efficacy of heroin maintenance please read the 
following British Medical Journal report:

To learn more about Canada's heroin maintenance research please 
visit: http://www.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Sharpe MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington DC USA
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