Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jun 2001
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2001 Nevada Appeal
Author: Sam Bauman, editor of the Diversions section of the Nevada
Bookmark: (Treatment)


There's more to Jennifer Capriati's victory in the French Open this
year, following her championship performance earlier this season at the
Australian Open in January, than was reported in the sports pages. 

Just three years ago Capriati, 25, was ranked 267th in the women's
tennis world. This after reaching the semifinals of the French Open when
she was only 14 years old. 

The story of her plunge into drug abuse and attending personal problems
is well known. But what treatment it took for her to regain her
self-respect, her discipline, her success is not well known. 

The details are not important. What is important is what her success can
teach us about drug abuse. It wasn't a jail term that brought her back
from the brink. It was treatment for drug abuse and the regaining of her

Treatment is what the experts call for again and again. Less money
wasted on trying to close our border to drugs and more money on
treatment. Do away with the user demand and you do away with the need to
patrol our borders with legions of DEA agent, border patrols and the
like. And you do away from drug tsars and peons in Columbia working from
crime lords and the corruption of American police forces by drug money. 

And the "success" in keep drugs out is dubious at best. Larger and
larger hauls of illegal heroin and cocaine continue, but is this success
or simply an admission that more and more drugs are being grown and
coming into the country? We know of what has be confiscated but not what
has made onto our streets. 

With something like a third of our prison cells occupied by users at
great public expense, isn't it time to assess out war on drugs? Penalty
hasn't worked. How about giving treatment a chance? 

And maybe if we treated users we could have more Jennifer Capriatis
serving for championships rather than serving time.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk