Pubdate: Tue,  8 Jan 2002
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press
Author: Vassilis Jacobs, Kevin M. Hebert
Cited: Michigan Drug Reform Initiative 
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I was deeply concerned about the direction of your Jan. 2 article
"Coalitions brace for marijuana effort: Foundation starts bid to ease Mich.
drug laws," which focused on the battle between local anti-drug community
coalitions and the Campaign for New Drug Policies. The Campaign for New Drug
Policies was projected in an unfavorable light, continuing to reinforce the
public's view that jail sentences actually combat the drug problem. 

People must understand the overwhelming effect of drugs on reasonable
thought. The common, sober citizen can equate the punishment of imprisonment
as an undesirable effect on his or her life and will in turn avoid drugs.
Yet addicted minds will always choose the one significant, habitual and
dependable thing in their lives -- the drug -- over any possible jail

In this simple equation between possible confinement and the drug, the
addicted brain will always turn to the dark side, because, sadly, the
person's life often is the drug. Instead, the infected person must be
gradually pushed and pulled out of the ditch of dependency through
rehabilitation. Such individuals must be treated like people and not
animals, like fellow American citizens, giving them a chance to receive
treatment, undoubtedly if they are first- or second-time offenders. 

Vassilis Jacobs

Grosse Pointe Park 

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I was amused by the contention raised in the Jan. 2 article about the effort
to ease Michigan drug laws, which stated that the drug-policy initiatives
run by the Soros Foundation are "better funded than just about anything." It
was amusing because, a few paragraphs later, we learn that the federal
government is spending millions of dollars fighting these initiatives. Most
interesting of all is how overwhelmingly these drug-policy initiatives are
approved by voters. 

We all have drug users in our families and circle of friends. We are tired
of our failed "lock-'em-all-up" policies that are great at filling prisons
with warm bodies but have only made drugs cheaper, purer and more readily
available than ever as supply rises to meet demand. 

The idea that our federal government would use millions of our tax dollars
to try to influence the way we vote seems to me to be a conflict of interest
of the greatest magnitude. 

Kevin M. Hebert

Chicopee, Mass.
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