Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jul 2011
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Times Colonist
Author: William Perry


In the world of federal politics, the prohibition on drugs extends to
talking about them as well as taking them. For any politician with
ambition, the issue is simply out of bounds, which makes a radical
rethink of our approach to drugs a challenge.

Drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal
damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is
prohibition that makes illegal drugs expensive, while giving criminals
a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits, criminal
gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers and children. Their
trade is unregulated and they are beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse.
After a drug dealer is arrested, neither the supply nor the demand for
drugs is changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an
endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the
sake of the enormous profits. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of
billions of dollars every year, yet after 40 years and some 40 million
arrests in Canada and the U.S., drugs are cheaper, more potent and far
more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

By eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing
appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law
enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence.

In a regulated and controlled environment, drugs would be safer for
adult use and less accessible to our children.

And by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals
instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of
addiction and overdose deaths.

William Perry

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