Pubdate: Tue, 26 Jul 2011
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist
Author: John Anderson, Chair, Criminology Department Vancouver Island University


Re: "Legal drugs and gangs," July 1.

The editorial on the failed "war on drugs" is music to the ears of the
criminal justice professionals who make up Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition. We know, from personal experience, that prohibition
enriches criminal gangs and fosters criminal activity while doing
nothing to reduce drug use and the attendant violence in our cities.

Forty years of the so-called "war on drugs" in North America has
actually increased the supply and potency of illegal drugs. Countries
which have removed criminal penalties for drug use, such as the
Netherlands and Portugal, have achieved declines in use and addiction.

Prohibition is a threat to public safety. Making drugs illegal has
created a profitable black market, and participants in the underground
economy can settle their disputes only by violence. Uninvolved
bystanders and police officers often pay the price.

So many police officers and prosecutors are bogged down in drug
enforcement that serious crimes go unsolved. In 1963, before the "war
on drugs," all but 15 per cent of murder cases in the U.S. were
solved. Today, 40 per cent of murders never lead to a conviction, even
though law enforcement now has vastly better forensic tools and technology.

Let's legalize drugs and bring the trade above ground where we can
regulate and control it.

John Anderson 

Chair, Criminology Department 

Vancouver Island University
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.