Losing The War On Drugs


420 Staff
Regarding Orlando Patterson's article, "The other losing war," ( Views, Jan. 16 ): Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The U.S. drug war does not fight crime, it fuels crime.

With alcohol prohibition repealed in 1933, liquor bootleggers no longer gun each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do American consumers go blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin.

While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war's historical precedent, European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public-health alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse and prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle-exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard and soft drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require incarceration as a prerequisite. Unfortunately, fear of appearing "soft on crime" compels many U.S. politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime.

Robert Sharpe


Source: International Herald-Tribune (International)
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2007
Contact: letters@iht.com
Website: Breaking News, World News & Multimedia
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