Pubdate: Tue, 26 May 2009
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Camera.
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. The success of
the Swiss program has inspired heroin maintenance pilot 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 cocaine and

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 tax dollars on failed drug 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:

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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