My LTE in the Langley Advance Newspaper

Drugs: Legalization reduces crime

Dear Editor,

Ms. Huziak [Legal drugs would add crime, Oct. 27 Letters, Langley Advance], who took anti-prohibitionist Mr. Harvey [Law puts money in thungs’ pockets, Oct. 16 Letters, Langley Advance] to task for “fallacious” statements, needs to look in the mirror and give her head a shake. Her letter was filled with myths, assumptions, and outright falsehoods.

Drugs – all of them – were legal prior to prohibition, just like alcohol. Plus, like it or not, the desire for drugs exists now, despite (and maybe in part because of) prohibition. There is absolutely no evidence that ending prohibition will increase usage. Indeed, usage of cannabis in the Netherlands, where it is legal, is significantly lower than here where it is illegal. [Editor’s note: In fact, cannabis is not technically legal in the Netherlands, but laws prohibiting its use are not enforced.]

Peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that use rates exist independently of legality. We have been successful in reducing alcohol-impaired driving through public education and changing mores, not through criminalization and incarceration.

The idea that there will be more illegal dealers post-prohibition is laughable. Right now, high school students report that it is much easier to obtain illegal drugs than alcohol. And teenage tobacco use is down, not up. Again, this is due to public education and changing mores, not criminalization and incarceration.

There will be no increase in crime if drugs were made legal. Just the opposite. Where legal heroin trials have been tried, for example, drug-seeking crime by addicts was reduced dramatically. That’s scientific fact. And you don’t see alcohol sellers shooting each other over booze turf, because it is a regulated market. They used to, however, during prohibition.

Finally, drugs are illegal because of racist and hysterical policies enacted 100 years ago, not because of an honest assessment of harm. The hysteria is echoed by Ms. Huziak, who apparently thinks that people struggling with addiction – a disease – are “drug-crazed addicts” instead of human beings. And if she thinks addiction doesn’t exist in her neighbourhood, she needs to drop her class bias and wake up to reality.

Addiction is not a disease affecting only the DTES.

Kirk Tousaw, Vancouver