Pubdate: Mon, 01 Nov 1999
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 1999 Calgary Herald
Contact:  P.O. Box 2400, Stn. M, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0W8
Fax: (403) 235-7379
Author: Daniel Tourigny


To the editor:

My major problem with this editorial is that, besides stating total
disbelief for the United States think-tank report denouncing the war
on drugs, the editorial does not explain why it won't work.

It mentions that the report encourages a sex education safe-sex
approach to teaching kids about drugs.

Why wouldn't that work? Like drugs, kids are going to  discover it,
are induced often by peer pressure, and do it largely for pleasure.

Regardless of the laws, teens will try various illegal substances.
Rather than a "just say no" message that used to be taught regarding
sex, perhaps if we practise education at equipping teens with the
knowledge to make up their own minds, many of the problems associated
with drug use at a young age will subside.

No, it will never disappear, but like safe sex, it's better to prepare
someone to be responsible than to hope they will believe you on its
evils and perils.

Another statement, that illicit drugs cannot be used moderately, leads
to an often dangerous train of thought by young people.

Putting all illegal drugs in the same basket is not only absurd, but
can lead to teens underestimating the damage of truly  dangerous
substances like crystal methamphetamine. The contention that illicit
drugs cannot be used moderately, and are always mind-altering and
therefore dangerous again incorrectly leads to the belief that smoking
a joint is just as bad as smoking crack.

Simply stated, many, many people can and do use pot in moderation.
Yes, it is  mind-altering, but used in moderation, like alcohol, there
are few significant long-lasting effects.

Finally, the example of the crack baby epidemic -- which is
controversial in itself -- actually shows why the war on drugs ought
to end. Drug laws in the '80s did little to stop crack from being used
by the predominantly black, urban populace.

It did,  however, lead to continued lawlessness in these communities,
causing many  otherwise productive members of society to become
entangled in the underworld.

What a shame.

No, "managing" drug use will not eliminate drug abuse and its
harms.But it will remove the harms caused by laws that don't work,
huge criminal  underworlds and will hopefully allow those who need
treatment to seek it withou fear of persecution.

Victoria, B.C.

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