27 June 2012

Drunk driving a capital offense?

If you think that Alberta's new drunk driving laws are tough, consider Iran. Two Iranians, their names not released by authorities, have been sentenced to death for persistent consumption of alcohol. Not that they weren't warned. They had been convicted twice before and subjected to 160 lashes each time, but they couldn't stay on the wagon. Iranian Sharia law forbids Muslims the use, manufacturing or trading of all types of alcoholic drinks. Three strikes and you're out ... literally. Unless you're a Christian, which this unfortunate duo was not.

Nonetheless, if you concluded from this that Iranians are dissuaded from imbibing, you would be wrong. Consumption is on the rise—the country's newspapers reported recently that the amount of confiscated alcohol has increased by 69 per cent in the past year. One paper quoted official figures that suggested it takes 22 minutes to get access to drugs and only 17 minutes to find alcohol. The Deputy Health Minister, Alireza Mesdaghinia, has expressed concern about an apparent increase in "abnormal behaviors such as alcohol consumption." The head of the Health Ministry's Policy Making Council, Bagher Larijani, states that despite an ongoing police crackdown, "There is no wedding party without a special room for those who want to drink alcohol and have a good time."

It would appear that North America isn't the only place drug wars don't work. For those who think tougher laws are the answer, they might keep in mind the utter failure of even Iran's barbaric legal regime.

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