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July 12, 2005 - Orlando Sentinel (FL)

LTE: Drug Profits

By John Chase

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Regarding your July 3 editorial "A way to curb meth abuse":

Why must we now decide whether to restrict the sale of cold medicines because some might be used to manufacture methamphetamine?

The reason is our failed antidrug policy: drug prohibition.

When I was a teen, amphetamine was sold over-the-counter for pennies to students to cram for their exams, dieting housewives and long-haul truckers.

It now sells on the street as "meth" for more than $2,000 per ounce, and "meth labs" endanger our kids and the environment.

When we first took it off the shelves, its price rose. That didn't work, so we criminalized it.

That drove its price sky high and rogue entrepreneurs got into the business.

That isn't working either. And it is not just amphetamine.

For the past 30 years, this profit escalation has happened to drug after drug after drug.

Worse yet, the huge profit margin drives rogue chemists to design new drugs, make it big, then get out before the DEA catches on.

The solution is to take out the profit.

Regulate all drugs in a legal market and use part of their tax revenue to offer treatment to all who ask.

Not a perfect solution, but better than what we have today.

John Chase, Palm Harbor, FL

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