Pubdate: Thu, 12 Mar 2009
Source: Eugene Weekly (OR)
Copyright: 2009 Eugene Weekly
Author: Robert Sharpe


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. The success of the Swiss
program has inspired pilot heroin maintenance projects in Canada,
Germany, Spain, Denmark 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 addictive drugs like meth. Given
that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no sense
to waste tax dollars 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.

Robert Sharpe, MPA , Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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