Pubdate: Tue, 28 Feb 2006
Source: Daily Free Press (Boston U, MA Edu)
Address: 842 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Fax: (617) 232-0592
Copyright: 2006 Back Bay Publishing, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe, MPA, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Higher Education  Act)
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug  Policy)


Thank you for raising awareness of the Higher Education Act's denial 
of student loans to youth convicted of drug offenses ("Stopping drugs 
- -- and students," Feb. 21, p.6 and "Advocacy group fights against 
drug conviction act," Feb. 24, p.1). Anyone born into a wealthy 
family need not fear the impact of HEA. Instead of empowering at-risk 
students with a college degree, HEA limits career opportunities and 
increases the likelihood that those affected will resort to crime.

Speaking of crime, convicted rapists and murders are still eligible 
for federal student loans.

Most students outgrow their youthful  indiscretions involving illicit 
drugs. An arrest and criminal record, on the  other hand, can be 
life-shattering. After admitting to smoking pot (but not  inhaling), 
former President Bill Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism.

And thousands of Americans have paid the price in the form of shattered lives.

More Americans went to prison or jail during the Clinton 
administration than during any past administration.

As an admitted  former drinker and alleged illicit drug user, 
President George W. Bush is also  politically vulnerable when it 
comes to drugs.

While youthful indiscretions  didn't stop Clinton or Bush from 
assuming leadership positions, an arrest surely  would have. The 
short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential  compared 
to the long-term effects of criminal records. Students who want to 
help  reform harmful drug laws should contact Students for Sensible 
Drug Policy at
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman