Pubdate: Thu, 03 Mar 2011
Source: Interlake Spectator, The (CN MB)
Copyright: 2011 Sun Media
Author: Rev. Jeff Kilmartin


Marc Zienkiewicz argues in a recent editorial (Time to bring an end to
the prohibition of drugs, Feb 24/11) that the federal government ought
to be decriminalizing all drugs because he believes that making drugs
illegal increases drug abuse, and puts money into the hands of
criminals who develop and sell them on the black market.

He includes drugs like crack cocaine and crystal meth as examples of
the types of narcotic that he would like to see sold legally over the
counter. Regulating now-illegal drugs in this manner, he suggests,
would eliminate the criminal element from the industry, and fix
Canada's drug problem.

Mr. Zienkiewicz is not the first to suggest such a proposal, but I
would submit that his opinion piece is in this case not only extremely
biased (which it has a right to be, since it is his "point of view"),
but also extremely wrong-headed.

He tells the reader that drugs have been around "since, well,
forever," while the laws concerning them are quite recent - as if
seniority were the issue. The question is not whether some drug has
been growing in the wilds of the Andes since time immemorial: the
issue is the point in time when it became a danger to society. For
most drugs that time has occurred only in the past 50 years.

Mr. Zienkiewicz then compares drug use with alcohol use, saying that
the Prohibition Era in the U.S. was a serious disaster, and that the
prohibition of all illegal drugs has brought about a similar disaster
today. While I would agree that the complete prohibition of alcohol
was an error, I would point out the most serious and basic flaw in Mr.
Zienkiewicz's thinking on this matter.

He says that "[n]ewer drugs like crack and crystal meth . . . are more
addictive and destructive than any other illegal drugs ever produced."
He then points out that alcohol - which is legal - is, right now, "the
most lethal drug known to man."

It sounds terrible, but it seems as though he is advocating that we
replace alcohol with things like crack and crystal meth as the drugs
of choice. Essentially, Mr. Zienkiewicz's argument boils down to this
(though he has apparently failed to recognize it): because alcohol is
legal, it is the most lethal substance we have. But if we make
something like crack cocaine legal - lowering its price, taking out
the criminal element, giving it a broader acceptance - then it will
become even more lethal than alcohol presently is.

I support the Canadian government's policy of making dangerous drugs -
including this new/old one, Salvia divinorum - illegal.

Rev. Jeff Kilmartin
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