Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jan 2004
Source: News & Advance, The (VA)
Copyright: 2004 Media General
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your Jan. 11 editorial was right on target ("Rehabilitation best way to 
fight drugs"). A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that every 
dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.48 in 
societal costs. There is far more at stake than tax dollars. The drug war 
is not the promoter of family values that some would have us believe. 
Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, 
addiction and delinquency. Not only do the children lose out, but society 
as a whole does too. Incarcerating non-violent drug offenders alongside 
hardened criminals is the equivalent of providing them with a 
taxpayer-funded education in criminal behavior.

Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of tax 
dollars. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and begin 
treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public health 
problem it is. Destroying the futures and families of citizens who make 
unhealthy choices doesn't benefit anyone.

Reference for above-mentioned study: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., 
Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control 
Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research 
Center, RAND Corporation, 1994)

ROBERT SHARPE, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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