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Calls for the legalization of drugs ignore the science

Legalizing drugs will not eliminate illegal drug sales because the reverse is true.

An investigator in Honduras stands next to more than 70 bundles of suspected cocaine found inside a tanker truck on the island of Roatan.
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Calls for the legalization of drugs ignore the science and the facts.

The Sun-Times has published commentaries in the past two weeks promoting the legalization of drugs. There was an essay by Rev. Al Sharp on Sept 5 and a letter from James Gierach on Sept 19. Both writers, in my view, are ignoring the science and the facts.

Legalizing drugs will not eliminate illegal drug sales because the reverse is true. When drugs are legalized, the drug dealers sell more illegal drugs to minors who cannot buy at dispensaries. They also sell at lower prices to adult buyers because no state or local tax is included, and the source of the drug and its contents are not subject to expensive regulation.

The drugs being proposed for legalization are subject to abuse and addiction. With no legal barrier, use will increase and so will addiction. After legalization in Colorado, illegal drug sales increased, highway accidents and fatalities due to drug use increased, treatment admissions went up and homelessness increased.

We have laws that, by their very existence, reduce illegal behavior. It is the legal drugs that are causing the skyrocketing drug overdose deaths. Fentanyl, OxyContin and other opioids are legal medicines but sold and used illegally.

Peter Bensinger
Former administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Former Executive Director, Chicago Crime Commission

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Melissa Stevens, Evanston

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