Pubdate: Tue,  1 Jul 2003
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Huntsville Times
Author: Laranda Nichols


John Walters Cites Addict's Success At Guntersville Stop

GUNTERSVILLE - "Jamie" told White House drug czar John Walters Monday in 
Guntersville that the day he was arrested for illegal drugs turned out to 
be "the luckiest day of my life."

Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control 
Policy, related that story to a news conference at the Marshall County 
Courthouse and a luncheon in Guntersville as an example of the good work 
the nation's drug courts do.

Walters and U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, met with county drug 
court officials before the news conference. Marshall County's drug court 
seeks to keep drug users out of prison by treating their addiction with 
counseling and close supervision.

Walters said he had heard other recovering addicts say that being put in 
drug court saved their lives. And he said President Bush hopes to help that 
effort by providing more money for treatment through vouchers, especially 
in rural areas like Marshall County where treatment choices are limited.

Walters is promoting the Bush's "Access to Recovery Initiative," which 
seeks an increase of $1.6 billion over five years for treatment of alcohol 
and drug addiction.

He said a growing crystal meth problem in rural areas must be fought on two 
levels: illegal meth made in Mexico and brought into the United States and 
the "home-cooked" version that produces toxic waste and "poisons our children."

Aderholt said he was made aware of North Alabama's meth problem months ago 
and was able to obtain a $750,000 grant to help agencies in Marshall and 
three other counties fight the problem.

Walters said his agency must fight the drug problem on several levels, 
including enforcement to cut off the supply, treatment to lower the demand 
and education to prevent young people from becoming users.

The luncheon ended with an announcement that Aderholt and Walters were on a 
tight schedule and would not be able to take questions.

That did not please three representatives of the U.S. Marijuana Party, who 
heard about the meeting and hoped to inject their ideas on Walters' work.
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