Pubdate: Sat, 11 May 2002
Source: Herald-Sun, The (NC)
Copyright: 2002 The Herald-Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your May 6 editorial on a Durham public housing resident's close call 
highlighted one of the more glaring examples of out-of-control zero 
tolerance. The "one-strike, you're out" policy of the U.S. Department of 
Housing and Urban Development requires that entire families be evicted from 
public housing if anyone, even a guest, uses drugs.

The youthful indiscretions of a rebellious teen-ager could result in 
homelessness for an entire family. According to a survey by Monitoring the 
Future, more than half of all high school seniors have tried an illegal 
drug at least once. Exposing 50 percent of all families living in public 
housing to the dangers of living on the street is not the answer to 
America's drug problem.

Fortunately for Jackie Kersey, a Durham magistrate and a District Court 
judge had the good sense to overturn a senseless eviction. Drug abuse is 
bad, but the zero tolerance drug war is worse.

The writer is a program officer at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, D.C.

ROBERT SHARPE Washington, D.C. May 11, 2002
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