Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2003
Source: Garden Island (HI)
Copyright: 2003 Kauai Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe,


The "dozens of substance abuse arrests" made by Kaua'i Police Department
officers who work in schools in the Kawaihau District are cause for alarm. 

These days zero tolerance drug enforcement poses a greater threat to youth
than drugs. According to the Monitoring the Future Survey, over half of all
high school seniors have tried an illicit drug. Denying a majority of the
nation's youth an education is not in America's best interest. 

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 and alleged illicit drug user, 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
marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal
records. Drug abuse is bad, but the zero tolerance drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, MPA Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance
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