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“The Crack Issue” (9/8) should have criticized drug prohibition itself. Every attempt to prohibit drugs—besides alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine—has led to ever more potent, dangerous, and uncontrollable drugs, including crack. Needless to say, there is no Pure Food and Drug Act for illegal drugs.

After drug prohibition, coca beverage users switched to snorting powder cocaine, then to freebasing, then to smoking crack. Now, there is smokable methamphetamine, which is relatively cheap and impossible to control.

Drug prohibition also compelled laudanum users to switch to mainlining adulterated heroin, with dirty hypodermic needles. Then, those who could not afford heroin, however adulterated, switched to designer drugs, hundreds or thousands of times more potent than heroin. Some heroin and cocaine addicts also switched to PCP.

Suppose, however, that we could rid the world of all recreational drugs. Inhalants, which serve a necessary nondrug function, would still exist, and using inhalants is the closest thing to suicide.

Alexandria, Va.