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Drug abuse is bad, but prohibition is worse

Robert Sharpe with Common Sense for Drug Policy calls mandatory minimum prison sentences a "proven failure."

June 15, 2009

When it comes to drugs, mandatory minimum prison sentences are proven failures. If harsh sentences deterred illicit drug use, Canada’s southern neighbor would be a “drug-free” America. That’s not the case. The U.S.
drug war has done little other give the land of the free the highest incarceration rate in the world.

The drug war is a cure worse than the disease. Drug prohibition finances organized crime at home and terrorism abroad, which is then used to justify increased drug war spending. It's time to end this madness and instead treat all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public health problem it is.

Thanks to public education efforts, tobacco use has declined considerably in recent years. Apparently mandatory minimum prison sentences, civil asset forfeiture, random drug testing and racial profiling are not necessarily the most cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe
Policy Analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy

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