Pubdate: Sun, 12 May 2002
Source: Kansas City Star (MO)
Copyright: 2002 The Kansas City Star
Author: Robert Sharpe


Jackson County's Drug Court (May 1, 2002) is definitely a step in the right 
direction. Prison cells are hardly appropriate health interventions for 
substance abuse, especially considering the unmet need for cost-effective 
drug treatment.

Incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals is the 
equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in 
anti-social behavior.

If politicians are serious about reducing demand for drugs, they're going 
to have to tone down the zero-tolerance rhetoric. Would alcoholics seek 
help if doing so were tantamount to confessing to criminal activity?

An arrest shouldn't be a necessary prerequisite for rehabilitation. Driving 
illicit drug use underground only compounds the problem by forcing addicts 
to suffer in silence.

The $50 billion drug war has failed to keep drugs out of prisons, much less 
schools. It's time to give drug peace a chance.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer, Drug Policy Alliance Washington, D.C.
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