Pubdate: Sat, 16 Aug 2014
Source: Poughkeepsie Journal (NY)
Copyright: 2014 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


This letter is in response to your Aug. 4 article titled, "Schumer
wants funding to fight heroin 'epidemic.' " Sen. Charles Schumer,
D-N.Y., is mistaken if he thinks throwing money at the heroin
"epidemic" will do anything other than enrich violent drug cartels.
Attempts to limit supply while demand remains constant only increases
the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like
heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase
criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight
crime, it fuels crime.

While the U.S. remains committed to moralistic drug policies modeled
after our disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition, Europe has
largely abandoned the drug war in favor of harm-reduction
alternatives. Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has been shown
to reduce drug-related disease, death and crime among chronic users.

The Swiss program has inspired heroin maintenance pilot projects in
Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. If expanded,
prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized crime of a
core client base. This would render illegal heroin trafficking
unprofitable and spare future generations' addiction. Putting public
health before politics may send the wrong message to children, but I
like to think the children are more important than the message.

For information on the efficacy of heroin maintenance, please read the
following British Medical Journal report:

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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