Letters to the Editor! 

Letters to the Editor! 
Posted by FoM on February 24, 1999 at 10:30:05 PT
by Cliff Schaffer!
Thanks for an excellent piece on the drug war (“Why Washington has lost its war on drugs,” The Daily Star, Feb. 22). 
If you haven’t seen it already, you should take a look at There you will find a collection of the major studies of drug policy over the last 100 years, including the largest studies ever conducted by the governments of the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. You will also find historical documents covering the history of the drug laws from their inception. If you are new to the online library, I recommend you start with The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, which you will find under Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy. It is probably the best book ever written on the subject. I should correct you on at least one point. The real “lethal substances” are not heroin and similar drugs. The number of people killed by drugs in the U.S. each year is as follows: Tobacco, about 400,000; alcohol, about 100,000 (not counting road deaths or homicides); prescription drugs, about 100,000; all illegal drugs combined, 5,000 to 10,000; cocaine, about 3,000; heroin, about 2,000; aspirin, about 2,000; marijuana, no recorded deaths in history. If you will read Rx Drugs, the story of the Liverpool heroin maintenance clinics at you will find that a doctor who prescribes heroin regularly says “heroin is not a dangerous drug.” You can find a discussion of the lethal potential of heroin under the Consumers Union Report, in the chapter titled, “The Heroin Overdose Mystery.” To summarize the chapter, they are not sure what is killing addicts by “overdose” but they are pretty sure it is not the heroin. This library is the reason that the legalizers “own” the Internet. In the last year about a dozen major media sources have named it as the reason for their editorial position. It has changed the shape of the debate around the world. Clifford A. Schaffer, director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy, Canyon Country, California
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