Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jul 2002
Source: Times Leader (PA)
Copyright: 2002 The Times Leader
Author: Bob Butts


The war on drugs is a war of common sense and human decency.

The side effects of this war against drugs is the destruction of the 
physical and financial health of our families. Northeastern Pennsylvania is 
being torn apart with innocent children becoming addicted and then 
resorting to drug-dealing to support their habit.

The public has been largely misled into believing that it is the "addict" 
who is the problem when, in reality, the addict is the victim of slick 
marketing to trap our young people into being fund-raisers for terrorism 
and organized crime.

People are finding that their opinions quickly change when it's their child 
or family member who becomes addicted and is no longer the considerate 
person they once knew. Then things get worse when they can't find help and 
a safe place to stay, but the criminal justice system is available, with 
its inhumane protocols, to prosecute your child and lock him/her up.

War is the opposite of love, whether it's a war in Afghanistan or the war 
on drugs. Therefore, love is the only cure. While Lackawanna County is 
emerging with more humane, compassionate handling of drug offenders, 
Luzerne County is still incarcerating the problem to death. These victims 
of addiction aren't offenders at all, but pawns of a money-making machine 
whose income depends upon hooking children on drugs or any other addictive 
substance. This illegal drug economy now represents 8 percent of the 
world's business.

It is with this knowledge that the Citizens' Drug Policy Forum of 
Northeastern Pa. has been formed with the ultimate goals of protecting our 
children and giving drug addiction no reason to exist. This group is 
comprised of local people from all walks of life, joined in a common bond 
to make our area safe for all children. You can find more about our group, 
which works through the Peace Center, by calling 287-7620 or attending our 
meetings at First Presbyterian Church, 97 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre.

I believe that there is not one of us who would behave responsibly if we 
became addicted to a drug and had no way of getting the money to pay for 
our drugs.

People who are addicted are human beings and deserving of respect, dignity 
and compassion, not ridicule and punishment for being victimized. Punishing 
an addicted person by incarceration makes as much sense as punishing a 
person with cancer until he gets well.

Bob Butts

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