Pubdate: Mon, 01 Aug 2005
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2005 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Stephen Heath


This is a response to the July 14 letter, "PTA to share concerns about

As a recovered abuser of methamphetamine (clean over 11 years
now), I humbly submit the most urgent question for discussion at the
Aug. 17 PTA meeting should be, "Will criminal justice solutions do
anything to reduce the amount of methamphetamine abuse within our country?"

My personal experience, along with that of the drug abusers I've
worked with in treatment and recovery settings, suggests the answer is
a resounding no.

Regardless of how many meth labs cops bust and how many Americans
police arrest and incarcerate for meth-related offenses, not a single
addict is any closer to true recovery. And no one in Tennessee or anywhere
else who wants illegal amphetamines will have much trouble scoring. The
obscene profits guaranteed by drug prohibition policies guarantee that there
will always be fresh dealers to replace the ones busted.

The urgent priority should be to reduce demand for illegal amphetamines. We
need to increase access to strong stimulants so that the illegal market
cannot compete. And we need to transfer the monies currently used to
incarcerate drug abusers into programs which allow treatment on demand for
any drug abuser who wants it. Such treatment should be available regardless
of the drug of abuse -- whether that drug be meth, cocaine, alcohol,
nicotine or opiates.

Stephen Heath

Public Relations DirectorDrug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater, Fla.
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