Pubdate: Sun, 17 Dec 2006
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2006 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Sean Shealy


Re: "No doubt about losing drug war," Dec. 10 Neal Peirce column.

I appreciated Neal Peirce's column. As a former drug user myself, I 
can tell you that never, ever do the words "We shouldn't do this 
because it's illegal" get uttered in those circles. If 
criminalization has any affect, it is to push otherwise decent, 
law-abiding young people into the dens of real criminals.

For the entire length of my "druggie" years, I worked full-time and 
contributed to society. I eventually simply got tired of the 
lifestyle, and my drug use fizzled away.

Imagine, conversely, if I had gotten "busted" during those years. 
Rather than contributing to society, the taxpayer would be footing a 
$60,000- per-year bill for keeping me in a box. During that time, I'd 
be schooling in the fine art of all sorts of criminal mischief. When 
I got out, I'd have a very hard time finding a job, due to my 
"criminal" record. My family and friends - those to whom I might feel 
obligated to stay "straight" - would have moved on, leaving me alone 
and prone to desperate error.

There was never a "war on drugs." It was always a "war on people." We 
should work to end this expensive, illogical debacle.

Sean Shealy

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