Pubdate: Sun, 08 Sep 2019
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2019 The New York Times Company
Author: Steven Jonas


Tobacco products, which kill almost 500,000 people per year, are
legal, and still advertised to a limited extent. Alcoholic beverages,
which kill about 88,000 people annually, are not only legal but also
widely advertised. Many of the opioid deaths are a result of
accidental overdoses because users are unaware of just how much drug
is in a particular dosage they consume.

Why not legalize opioids but: sell them only from government operated
"package stores" (as alcohol still is in certain jurisdictions) so
that doses are known; have no advertising; have a massive public
health program? Accidental overdose deaths would be virtually
eliminated; the criminal drug trade would be eliminated; and, if the
tobacco-use cessation program model were followed, use would go down.

Steven Jonas
Port Jefferson, N.Y.

The writer, professor emeritus of preventive medicine at Stony Brook 
Medicine, is the author of "Ending the 'Drug War'; Solving the Drug 
Problem: The Public Health Approach."
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