Pubdate: Wed, 03 Oct 2001
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2001 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: : Lennice Werth
Note: Lennice Werth is the founder and leader of Virginians Against 
Drug Violence:


Editor, Times-Dispatch: Regarding Richmond police official Evelyn 
McGill's letter, "Poor Lifestyle Choices Damage Innocents":

Drug laws are not a lifestyle choice for young parents. They are one 
for politicians. The illegal drug market is a result of unsuccessful 
laws prohibiting things that are apparently irresistible.

Popular legal drugs such as coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and tobacco 
are traded without incident. Drugs may be a bad lifestyle option for 
many, but in no way do legal substances contribute to the number of 
murders, as does a black market. By its very nature, the market for 
an unlawful substance is lawless. Our leaders have abdicated 
responsibility in this area rather than leading our culture to a 
policy that properly regulates and restricts access to drugs.

The image of an innocent child left behind by a parent is more likely 
to be the offspring of a prisoner. Nowhere on Earth are so many 
fathers and mothers sent to jail. This is not to detract from the 
children of murder victims, but to shed light on all the segments of 
our society who bear some of the responsibility. We vote for 
representatives who pander to us by promising to save us from the 
dangers of illegal drugs while in fact multiplying the harms wrought 
by them.

It is a quick fix for the political dilettantes of our day to be 
tough on drugs. Just look at the current campaigns. Libertarian Gary 
Reams, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, is the exception that 
proves the rule. He says if you want reform of marijuana laws vote 
for him - and I will.

Lennice Werth
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