Pubdate: Wed, 05 Mar 2003
Source: Aberdeen American News (SD)
Copyright: 2003 Aberdeen American News
Author: Robert Sharpe, MPA
Note: This is Robert's 922nd published letter that we know of - perhaps a 
world record for one person? You can read them at


To the editor - Gov. Mike Rounds isn't doing South Dakota students any
favors with his tough-on-some-drugs posturing.

These days school-based zero tolerance policies 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 teen-agers 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 administration.

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.

Monitoring the Future survey data:

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake