Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Page: A21
Pubdate: April 8, 1998
Note:  These are listed in order of their appearance on the page.


I'm glad that Star columnist Rosie DiManno has taken up the cudgels to
advocate what some of us have been suggesting for years -- that drugs be
made available to all who want them (column, April 1).

The rationale is not a moral one but rather one of common sense; anyone who
wants drugs today can get them quite readily.

It isn't the availability of the drugs that creates the problem, it's
raising the cash to pay for them.  To that end, the druggies will steal,
injure and, if necessary, murder.

They are going to get the drugs under any circumstances; it's just a
question of who gets hurt in the process.

Police sources have stated that 54 per cent of all crime is drug-related.
How can we continue to ignore that fact?

This isn't to say that there shouldn't be some strings attached, like
registering at a pharmacy or any other common sense steps.

But for heaven's sake, let us stop pouring money down an open sewer, call a
spade a spade and make a realistic move toward cutting down on the criminal
activities that hurt us all, when there is a simple, albeit unpopular,
solution to the problem.

William L. Tredrea Pickering
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Star columnist Rosie DiManno says we are not winning the war on drugs by
law enforcement (Waging war on drugs does not pay, April 1).

She has the solution: decriminalize drugs.  This has great possibilities.

We are not winning the wars on theft and murder by law enforcement, either.

Now we can eliminate those crimes by making it legal to take anything we
want, or to kill anyone we don't like.

Instantly there are no more thieves and murderers.

While we are at it, we can stop the crime of running red lights by making
all traffic lights permanently green, both ways.

When we have eliminated all crime this way, we can fire our police forces.

Think of the money we'll save.

Alan Craig Brampton
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Rosie DiManno is right in saying that it took us a "hundred years" to
"realize that perhaps depression is physiological in nature for many
people" (Column, April 1).

But it took us a few decades longer to realize that it also has strong
psychological components.  Biology merely disposes one to it.

She is wrong in her claim that "new, anti-depressants can almost
immediately accomplish what therapy could not."  Anti-depressant
medications usually take several weeks to work, and in clinical trials,
have success rates similar to those for verbal therapy.

In fact, cognitive therapy seems to produce lower relapse rates than drug

DiManno further suggests that we conduct research to find new drugs in
order to cure those "predisposed to drug addiction."

Research has shown little support for the existence of an "addictive
personality," but even were we to accept that such a thing existed, is it
really a good idea to preemptively put healthy people on drugs to stop them
using drugs?

Alex Gunz Etobicoke
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I applaud columnist Rosie DiManno for having the guts to tell it like it is
(Waging war on drugs does not pay, April 1).

I agree that the war on unpopular drugs is unwinnable, unworkable, and that
it's about time we change the course of our policy, preferably through

I have fears, however, that her policy cure may be as bad as or worse than
the so-called disease.

She suggests that we redirect our efforts toward finding a cure for
addiction, perhaps in the form of a pill.

This suggests that every single person who smokes pot, snort cocaine and
injects heroin is sick.

It also suggests that all users desire to be cured.

In the absence of criminal sanctions, would the state feel obliged to force
recalcitrant drug users into treatment for their own good?

Or would we simply provide drug users with whatever quantity of drugs they
can afford to buy?

It is a question left unanswered by DiManno.

In that respect, I am inclined to agree with the views of the American
psychologist Thomas Szasz, as expressed in his seminal work, Ceremonial

We must recognize the modern drug war for what it is, a moral crusade to
purify the soul of the country.

Kelly T. Conlon Hamilton