Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: Record, The (Harvard Law School, MA Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Harvard Law School Record Corporation
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Title By Newshawk


Dear Editor,

Regarding Matt Hutchins' thoughtful Apr. 10th op-ed, there is a middle
ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalization.
Switzerland's heroin maintenance program 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.

Addicts would not be sharing needles if not for zero tolerance laws
that restrict access to clean syringes, nor would they be committing
crimes if not for artificially inflated black market prices. 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

The U.S. drug war is in large part a war on marijuana smokers.
Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the
ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and softdrug markets is
critical. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized
crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of
addictive drugs like cocaine andheroin.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - the plant
has never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to
waste scarce resources on failed policies that finance organized crime
and facilitate hard drug use. Law students who want to help end the
intergenerational culture war otherwise known as the war on some drugs
should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at

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:


Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake