Pubdate: Mon, 8 Jun 2009
Source: Gulf News, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2009 Transcontinental Media Network
Author: Randy Lieb


Dear Editor,

On the editorial page of the May 18 issue of The Gulf News is an
article entitled "Drugs in our midst." I wonder about that item,
because when I settled in a small outport community in Eastern
Newfoundland in 1972, marijuana and hashish were already available
there. Drugs seem to have been in our midst for some 40 years now.

The article asks whether there is any way to deal "with what appears
to be a growing drug problem." There is in fact an easy way to do so,
a way which should be used in dealing with all problems in society.
That is to gather as much reliable information about the issue as
possible, and then use that information with common sense and respect
for those who have different views and habits.

More laws and law enforcement against drugs is clearly not the answer.
America shows why. The Americans outlawed alcoholic beverages during
the Prohibition, with the result that criminal originations developed
which supplied all the liquor wanted and became powerful. And at the
end of Prohibition more young people were drinking alcoholic
beverages, than at the beginning.

America has conducted a "War on Drugs" for more than 30 years now,
which included actual military action in foreign countries that are
seen as producers of drugs. Many billions of dollars were spent, yet
after all these years, drug use is more pervasive than ever, and so is
drug related violence.

And there are now over two million Americans in jails - some sources
put the figure even considerably higher. Using the American approach,
with ever more police action untill we arrive at the American ratio,
would mean that Newfoundland would have more than 3,000 people in jails.

This would cost Newfoundland a lot of money every day. And since most
prisoners have families, negative effects would percolate through our

Medical people say obesity and lack of exercise are a severe problem
to the well-being of far more children, than drugs. And one hears far
more often of a person who messed up his or her life with alcohol or
gambling, than of a person who did so with drugs.

Does anyone believe that outlawing alcohol and lotteries, and laws
that prescribe what children can eat and how much exercise they must
have, and lots of police action to enforce these laws, is the answer?
So why should lots of laws and police action and jailing the answer to
the 'drug problem'?

The answer to the 'drug problem' is to search for the truth of it. As
someone who worked with emotionally disturbed and delinquent children
in institutional settings for years, I found that an extremely
important factor in the lives of children is the example of enjoying
life that the adults around them set.

Many parents of such children were good people who meant well and
loved their children, but saw their everyday life as a worrying
wearing constant struggle. There was not enough laughter and of the
sense that life is a wonderful adventure in those homes, and children
sought that in sex and liquor and drugs. Any child who learns from its
parents or caregivers to see the world around it as full of joys, be
they ice cream or kittens or flowers or cheerful family meals,
whatever, will not want to escape into drugs.

The message that our world is beautiful is far more potent than the
warnings by Mounties about drugs.

Randy Lieb,

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