Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2000
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2000, New Haven Register
Author: Alexandra Cox


I am writing in response to the article "Drug legalization focus of 
gathering." As a co-organizer of this student conference, I was mystified 
that it had been assessed as a forum for the discussion of legalization.

It seems the reporter fell prey to the common illness afflicting all of us 
who have analyzed the war on drugs and its proponents and opponents a " 
that it is a battle between legalizers and prohibitionists. The article 
suggests that the students gathered at the conference promoted the idea of 
legalizing drugs as a means to end prison overcrowding and to get drug 
abusers the help they need to beat their habit.

As both an organizer and a participant, I observed students and community 
members gathered together to discuss alternatives to incarceration in 
Connecticut, and in particular advocating for treatment over incarceration 
for nonviolent drug offenders entering the system.

Is this legalization? Certainly not. And I do not think that the hundreds 
of thousands of voters in California would believe this either. Those 
citizens voted overwhelmingly in support of Proposition 36, a measure that 
will divert over 30,000 nonviolent drug offenders to treatment as opposed 
to incarceration.

That is not to say there were not some proponents of legalization in our 
audience and amongst our speakers a " they are a necessary and essential 
part of this movement. However, I do believe that it is absolutely 
imperative that we understand the conference as it was a " a spectrumof 
voices advocating for a more sensible drug policy for Connecticut.

Alexandra Cox

New Haven
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