Letter: Regulate drug usage and drive out dealers

Regulate drug usage and drive out dealers

To the editor:

The headline on Alan Chartock's Sept. 10 column read "Heroin crisis demands crackdown on big dealers." That is what we have been trying to do for decades without success. It hasn't worked in the past and it won't work in the future.

The problem is economic. The big dealers are only in it to make money. Crack down on a few of them and others will fill their places. Reduce the number of dealers and the price of heroin will simply rise, inviting new dealers to join in and take their chances on making big bucks. The drug wars and killings will continue, like and worse than, during Prohibition. In the last five years, there have been more than 3,000 drug-related murders in the United States alone, and that is more than the total number killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

As in the case of alcoholic beverages, the answer must be in the legalization of the sale of drugs like heroin. This is not to say that heroin should be distributed without controls. Removal of the criminal aspect of heroin may bring many users, now fearful of the law, out into the open where they may acknowledge their addiction and openly seek medical help.

But more importantly, with drugs legalized and sold under government-controlled prices, big dealers would be driven out of business. Many addicts today may have started by tasting the goods that profit-making pushers generously offered to get them started on the habit.

Remove the profit motive and you remove the driving force behind the "epidemic." Sale of drugs should be handled under laws and regulations similar to those controlling intoxicating beverages. Cut out the profit motive and you drive the pushers off the street and remove the cause of drug wars and drug-related crime. It's the only way.

Daniel Hoyt Daniels, Spencertown, N.Y.


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