Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999
Date: 05/30/1999
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Author: William Smith

In his recent letter, Michael Gimbel, director of the Baltimore County
Bureau of Substance Abuse, seemed to blame society's ills on drug use
("Time to take a stand against drug abuse," May 23).

But it is the laws governing these substances, not the substances
themselves, that are the source of the problem.

By forbidding something, you give it an outlaw cachet.

And outlawing a substance removes quality controls as it puts
distribution in the hands of the black market.

One only need look at Prohibition to see the result: Dramatically
increased rates of addiction, adulterated or contaminated products and
a windfall for organized crime.

The question Mr. Gimbel should be asking is not how long will society
tolerate drug abuse, but how long will we continue to encourage
irresponsible drug use through failed policies like the "war on drugs."

William Smith