Pubdate: Sun, 04 Dec 2005
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2005 Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Author: Lee Monnet


To The Editor:

I fully agree with Editor Charles Kelly's claim there is a drug
problem in St. Lawrence County and the country for that fact.  Mr.
Kelly has asked community leaders to come together to address the
problem but what do they do? Do they demand more of a drug policy
which has been a failure since its inception nearly 40 years ago? 
Harsher laws and longer sentences have not worked when you stop to
look at what our society has become.

The Rockefeller drug laws have not succeeded in making our communities
safer; drugs are cheaper, purer, and more readily available than ever
before.  Rather than serving as a deterrent, mandatory minimums have
disproportionately landed low-level offenders in prison resulting in
the considerable increase in the growth of America's prison
population.  At year 's end 2004, the U.S. incarcerated 2,267,780
people which gives us the undesirable distinction of having the
highest prison population in the world.

Last year taxpayers shelled out nearly $40. billion dollars combating
illegal drugs but, there are many more hidden costs that are never
factored in such as court cost, lawyer fees, lawsuits, prison costs,
law-enforcement equipment, cars, gas, oil etc. and we have little or
nothing to show for it.

Our current drug policies have put a tremendous strain on the Bill of
Rights, and severely undermined the 4th Amendment. We now have racial
profiling, mandatory drug tests, asset forfeiture, highway
checkpoints, and people being prosecuted without a trial. Are we now
drug free? No, just less free.

Yes Mr. Kelly, we do need to admit openly we have a drug problem but
are you (the media) and the politicians ready to include drug law
reformers into the discussion of this complicated issue?

Lee Monnet
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin