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Find middle ground in drug policy

Drug TraffickingOrganized CrimeSwitzerland

Regarding Neill Franklin's op-ed ("A caravan for peace," Sept. 9), there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalization. Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has been shown to reduce disease, death and crime by providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinic. The success of the Swiss program has inspired heroin maintenance pilot projects in Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction.

Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of addictive drugs like cocaine and meth. It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana policies that finance organized crime and facilitate hard drug use. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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