Letter: Time to change battle tactics in war on drugs
With the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the increasing devastation of a deadly heroin epidemic, it’s time to grasp the reality that America will never solve its drug problem by going after supply and must switch focus and pursue demand. The “War on Drugs” and the prison industrial complex must give way to decriminalization, harm reduction and a medical approach.
Mr. Hoffman might well be alive today if he had received his heroin not from a drug dealer but from a clinic, where he would have gotten a known quantity of a pure substance in a clean needle at a safe space. A clinic policy changes the drug demand profile. Drug dealers can’t stay in business when the addicts — the major consumers — are getting their drugs from a legal source. The result is less crime, less violence, less corruption and less incarceration.
All the science supports harm reduction. It’s time for us to dismantle an unscientific orthodoxy and grapple with the situation as it really is. It’s time for America to embrace a medically sound, scientific policy and end the War on Drugs.
Keith Greiff, via email