Pubdate: Wed, 24 Feb 1999
Date: 02/24/1999
Source: The Daily Star (Lebanon)
Author: Clifford A. Schaffer

Thanks for an excellent piece on the drug war (“Why Washington has
lost its war on drugs,” The Daily Star, Feb. 22).  If you haven’t seen
it already, you should take a look at

There you will find a collection of the major studies of drug policy
over the last 100 years, including the largest studies ever conducted
by the governments of the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. You
will also find historical documents covering the history of the drug
laws from their inception.

If you are new to the online library, I recommend you start with The
Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, which you will find
under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy. It is probably the best
book ever written on the subject.

I should correct you on at least one point. The real “lethal
substances” are not heroin and similar drugs. The number of people
killed by drugs in the U.S. each year is as follows: Tobacco, about
400,000; alcohol, about 100,000 (not counting road deaths or
homicides); prescription drugs, about 100,000; all illegal drugs
combined, 5,000 to 10,000; cocaine, about 3,000; heroin, about 2,000;
aspirin, about 2,000; marijuana, no recorded deaths in history.

If you will read Rx Drugs, the story of the Liverpool heroin
maintenance clinics at
you will find that a doctor who prescribes heroin regularly says
“heroin is not a dangerous drug.”

You can find a discussion of the lethal potential of heroin under the
Consumers Union Report, in the chapter titled, “The Heroin Overdose
Mystery.” To summarize the chapter, they are not sure what is killing
addicts by “overdose” but they are pretty sure it is not the heroin.
This library is the reason that the legalizers “own” the Internet. In
the last year about a dozen major media sources have named it as the
reason for their editorial position. It has changed the shape of the
debate around the world.

Clifford A. Schaffer, Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy,
Canyon Country, California