Pubdate: Tue, 07 Jun 2011
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2011 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: John Chase


Re: "Global war on drugs a dismal failure" (Gazette, June 4).

One hundred years ago, opium was the enemy and a handful of highly
principled Americans persuaded the international community to restrict
opium production. They believed that no government should benefit from
the opium business, as the British, Spanish and French had done in
China, the Philippines and Vietnam, respectively. They were right on
principle, but wrong on logic. They must have believed that if opium
supply were cut, the price would rise and addiction would decrease .
But addiction is not directly proportional to supply. Hard-core
addicts often resort to property crime or prostitution to get cash.
Casual users quit because of price and fear of arrest. But casual
users were not a problem in the first place. Recent drug policy
experiments in Europe indicate that if we had focused on the addiction
(rather than the drug) we would have something to show for our
100-year effort.

John Chase

Palm Harbor, Fla.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.