The Common Good
September-October 2003

Reduce Harm - and Demand

by John R. Worsley | September-October 2003

I FOUND Sanho Tree's article "The War at Home" (May-June
2003) enjoyably thought-provoking.

I FOUND Sanho Tree's article "The War at Home" (May-June 2003) enjoyably thought-provoking. One obvious question the article raises is why do we prohibit (some) drugs but not alcohol, which to me has similar effects and serves a similar purpose in our society? Why did we fail to prohibit alcohol, but succeed in prohibiting drugs?

It's crucial that any "harm reduction" approach keep firmly in mind that ultimately the best way to reduce harm caused by drugs is reduce the demand—identify and eliminate the reasons people use drugs. To me, that effort would not be so much about influencing individual choices as it would be about addressing problems in our culture and economic system.

John R. Worsley
Portland, Orego

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