Pubdate: Fri, 20 Dec 2002
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Contact:  2002 Detroit Free Press
Author: Robert Sharpe,
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


According to your Dec. 18 editorial "No matter why, it's great to see teens
kick bad habits," "drugs will mess up your college plans, get you arrested,
get you raped." The Higher Education Act denies student loans to youths
convicted of drug offenses. Hypocritical drug laws are the reason Americans
who prefer marijuana to martinis are thrown in jail and raped. In short, the
war on some drugs poses a greater threat to today's teenagers than drugs

Most teenagers outgrow their youthful indiscretions involving drugs. An
arrest and criminal record, on the other hand, can be life-shattering. After
admitting to smoking pot (but not inhaling), former President Bill Clinton
opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism, and thousands of Americans
have paid the price in the form of shattered lives. More Americans went to
prison or jail during the Clinton administration than during any past

As an admitted former drinker, President George W. Bush is also politically
vulnerable when it comes to drugs. While youthful indiscretions didn't stop
Clinton or Bush from assuming leadership positions, an arrest surely would
have. The short-term health effects of politically incorrect drugs such as
marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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