Pubdate: Fri, 08 Jul 2005
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Author: Stephen Heath


To the editor:

Re: Youths need detox centre (June 26,Capital News)

Letter writer Tina Mar ten's comments need to be respected by all
those involved with the decision to adequately fund the Iridian Youth
Detox Centre.

As a recovered abuser of cocaine and methamphetamine (clean 11 years
now), I am a living testament of how such program save the lives of
both youth and adults.

The primary reason we lack adequate drug treatment options is that
currently the most common public policy response to drug abuse is to
spend the bulk of public resources on criminal justice based responses.

The risks of using any drugs have been clearly documented. What is not
mentioned is that a lifetime criminal record combined with any
significant time in state or federal prison systems is far more
destructive to the illicit drug user.I've learned that with sufficient
desire and help anyone can overcome an addiction.

But far fewer people are able to overcome a criminal record,
especially if that re cord contains drug possession convictions. It's
time to reprioritize our public response to the very real problems of
substance abuse.

We need to stop arresting drug users and instead provide qualified
drug treatment programs on demand for those people who need them.

Such treatment should be made available for any drug causing
significant abuse, whether it be cocaine, am phetamines, opiates,
alcohol or tobacco.

Stephen Heath

Public Relations Director Drug Policy Forum

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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin