Pubdate: Sun, 08 Sep 2002
Source: Parkersburg News, The (WV)
Copyright: 2002, The Parkersburg News
Author: Jim White
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)
Bookmark: (Ballot Initiatives)
Bookmark: (Ohio Campaign for New Drug Policies)


Your editorial "White Flag" (Aug. 28) was way off base. Surrendering the 
futile drug war would require that we in Ohio do nothing to combat drug 
use, far from what the actual Ohio Drug Treatment Amendment will do.

The 60 years of "lock 'em up" policy Ohio residents have endured has 
resulted in absolutely nothing except the expansion and increased expense 
of law enforcement, the erosion of civil liberties, a prison-building boon 
that has played a role in the 6.6 million Americans behind bars, on parole 
or probation.

Drug treatment is 10 times more effective than prison at reducing drug 
abuse. Further, discretion will be restored to judges that have lost their 
discretion due to mandatory minimum sentences. Only non-violent offenders, 
are eligible. Traffickers, or those violating impaired driving laws are not 
eligible for treatment.

Contrary to the opinion of The Parkersburg News, building prisons is the 
white flag in this drug war, a be all, end all, solve absolutely nothing 
method of dealing with a public health issue.

Where do we stop when the prison population reaches 6.6 billion?

Ohio is about to take the first step to reducing the harm associated with 
drug addiction, a step toward sane drug policies, a step toward helping 
addicts recover before they become nothing but drug addicts with a felony 
record, and no hope whatsoever for the future. The Ohio Drug Treatment 
Amendment, Issue 1, offers hope and a chance to thousands of non-violent 
citizens, because in Ohio, we care.

Jim White, Oregon, Ohio
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