Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2004
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Ledger
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (other PUB LTEs by 
Robert Sharpe)


Regarding Robert Batey's excellent May 25 op-ed ["Tough Sentences Do Little 
to Cut Crime"], if harsh penalties served to deter illicit drug use, the 
elusive goal of a drug-free America would have been achieved decades ago.

Instead of adding to what is already the highest incarceration rate in the 
world, we should be funding cost-effective drug treatment. Drug policy 
should focus not on incarcerating drug offenders, but on reducing the 
amount of death, disease, crime and suffering associated with both drug use 
and enforcement.

Drug prohibition finances organized crime at home and terrorism abroad, 
which is then used to justify increased drug war spending.

It's time to end this madness and instead treat all substance abuse, legal 
or otherwise, as a public-health problem.

It's worth noting that tobacco use has declined considerably in recent 
years. Public-education efforts are paying off.

Apparently, mandatory minimum sentences, civil asset forfeiture, random 
drug testing and racial profiling are not necessarily the most 
cost-effective means of discouraging unhealthy choices.


Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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