Pubdate: Wed, 02 Feb 2011
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Copyright: 2011 Metro Times, Inc
Author: Allan Erickson


Thanks to Metro Times for publishing Larry Gabriel's column, "Crisis 
on the corner: Should we legalize drugs to save the hood?" (Jan. 19).

When we reach the point in public drug policy discussion that we 
actually put the drug war (Prohibition II) under the microscope, its 
associated harms will be seen to be far more damaging to our social 
fabric than any amount of drugs -- legal or illegal.

Michigan State sociology professor Carl Taylor's moaning does not 
belie the fact that only because of the drug war do we have police in 
cities and towns across the U.S. raiding private homes like armed 
thugs. While they may be armed with weapons and search warrants, 
their cause is corrupt and a serious threat to liberty's principles. 
For cases less drastic than what we have happening to us at the hands 
of our own government in our nation today, our founders felt 
compelled to boot out the British.

No longer can we be called the "Land of the Free" when we have become 
the "Land of the Most Incarcerated."

Portugal has decriminalized all drugs and is seeing successes in both 
health and law enforcement issues. Switzerland has had the HAT 
program (Heroin Assisted Treatment) for more than a decade, and their 
drug crimes have seen phenomenal decreases, and needle-borne 
infections have plummeted -- a success all around.

Yet here we are, knee-deep in debt, and we continue to arrest 
hundreds of thousands of people a year for cannabis possession. Being 
broke is fixable. Being broke and stupid is usually disastrous, if 
not completely fatal.

Allan Erickson, Eugene
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