Decriminalizing drugs is not the answer

August 30, 2010

It's good to see the officials and politicians backslapping and congratulating all and sundry as the "War on Drugs " takes a tentative new course, as it appears to take at least half a century before a good idea is embraced in our political system ("A shared view of war on drugs," Aug. 28).

I do not approve of the concept of simply decriminalizing drugs. Doing so would take pressure off the drug dealers, from the big distributors to the low level street sales people, but would do nothing to stop the every day stupid crime that is the result of addicts seeking the source of money to buy their daily fix.

For many years I have advocated for a federal system of clinics that would dispense the common drugs to registered addicts for a low fee or at no cost. The addict would need to be registered so that the therapeutic level of the maintenance drug could be regulated and client's health monitored. Those addicts with a working life may be able to continue their lifestyles as useful and productive citizens. This system would also act as a bridge to the varying types of treatment programs at a time when the addict feels he, or she, can face the change.

I realize that getting the addict to register for such a program would meet with a deal of resistance on the street and, particularly, from propaganda pushed by drug dealers along with the usual drugs, and will take time to be effective. However, I'd anticipate a great drop in every day burglaries, car thefts, shop lifting etc: as a result, and leaving an open field for Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and his police force to wield their harpoons on the drug dealers who remain in business.

Donald T. Hart, Baltimore

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