Pubdate: Wed, 26 Mar 2008
Source: Agassiz Harrison Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Agassiz Observer
Author: Redford Givens


Dear Editor,

Re: 'Free Narcotics won't work' letter March 19

People should take a look at the Swiss Heroin Maintenance Programme
before denouncing the idea of ending drug prohibition. It is a huge
mistake to think that outlaw drug dealers can remain in business
against the competition of "free" or cheap legal drugs. Who would buy
potentially lethally impure drugs from a character on the street when
pure pharmaceutical heroin and cocaine are available at a low price.

Proof that hard line drug prohibition causes drug deaths and drug
crimes comes from the Swiss Heroin Maintenance Programme where addicts
are supplied with cheap, pure heroin and cocaine. The Swiss have not
had a single overdose death in the program and injection-transmitted
diseases (HIV/AIDS, Hep C etc) are now a rarity in

The criminal drug black market has vanished in Switzerland since the
Swiss began providing addicts with cheap legal drugs. The success of
the Swiss Heroin Maintenance Program in causing a more than an 97%
reduction in addict crime in Switzerland is something drug warriors do
not want to discuss.

Swiss policy has also resulted in an 82-percent decrease in heroin
addiction since 1990. Besides these concrete benefits, the Swiss
report saving over $100/day/addict in lower police, incarceration and
health care expenses. The Swiss are so pleased with the results of
Heroin Maintenance that they made this their national drug policy.

Using jail cells to treat addicts has not achieved similar success
anywhere in the world since 1914. Anyone truly concerned about the
victims of drugs, will work to end an immoral drug crusade that
murders more than 30,000 people every year and spawns a multitude of
criminal activity.

Ignorance and good intentions are no excuse for continuing a
destructive drug crusade.

Redford Givens,

San Francisco, CA
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