Pubdate: Mon, 12 Aug 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Daniel Butterworth


I am writing in response to your editorial, "Drug legalization not child's 

For the state to remove a child from the home of an alcohol abuser, 
evidence of actual abuse must exist. The same should be true for those who 
use other drugs, but it is not.

The state can remove a child from the home of a parent who smokes the 
occasional joint simply if the parent refuses to quit or get therapy, 
regardless of parenting skills.

Child abuse and drug use are separate issues, as is evidenced by the very 
small percentage of drug users who do abuse their children (the number is 
comparable to those who do not use illegal drugs).

Your editorial also misrepresents the drug policy reform movement by 
assuming that legalization means a free-for-all. Those who advocate 
legalization also advocate regulation. Drugs should not be sold to minors; 
people should not be allowed to drive while impaired by drugs, including 
alcohol; and people should know what they are getting when they do buy 
these substances.

All of these are impossible to regulate as long as these drugs remain 
illegal. As a result, people die; children end up parentless.

Near the end of your editorial, you wrote, "The argument has to be expanded 
from individual rights to personal responsibility and the welfare of 
children." Yet, you advocated a system that ascribes individual actions to 
substances they take and that makes the government responsible for its 
citizens' decisions with regard to some drugs, thereby negating your own 
argument for personal responsibility.

Further, you have not convinced me that drug use by adults in itself harms 
children. If a parent abuses a child, go after the parent. But don't go 
after parents simply because they choose to relax with a joint rather than 
a glass of wine.

Daniel Butterworth

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