Pubdate: Thur, 21 Oct 1999
Source: Examiner, The (Ireland)
Copyright: Examiner Publications Ltd, 1999
Author: Keith Sanders


To the editor:

Brian Crowley frets about the dangers of Ecstasy, because, he says, it
has been the cause of 20 deaths in Ireland “in recent years”; because
it “is certainly a cause for depression”; and because “it may also
cause memory impairment as well as other illnesses” (The Examiner,
October 18).

I wonder how many Irish people have died in recent years from drinking
alcohol, from smoking cigarettes, from eating fatty foods, and from
car accidents. I would venture that the number of deaths in each of
these categories is probably somewhat higher than 20. Furthermore,
alcohol is itself a cause for depression, and like tobacco and like
many prescription medicines, may also cause other diseases.

Now, if Mr Crowley is prepared to speak out for prohibition of these
horrible scourges sweeping Irish society, I’m sure that the American
government can give him some advice; we’ve already tried alcohol
prohibition on this side of the Atlantic, and we all know how
smashingly that turned out.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to take the drug market out of the hands
of criminals, and turn it over to licensed businesspeople in the
private sector, where the drug trade can be taxed?

Violent crime would plummet immediately, as it did here in the US when
alcohol Prohibition was repealed. Of course, politicians don’t always
like genuine solutions to tough problems like these; after all, a
legal, safe, regulated drug market doesn’t look as good as get tough
rhetoric when one is waging a political campaign.

El Cerrito, CA   

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