Pubdate: Wed, 29 Mar 2006
Source: Mountaineer, The (Waynesville, NC)
Copyright: 2006 The Mountaineer Publishing Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor: This is in regard to the
recent article about a drug search in the schools. Haywood County
school officials shouldn't kid themselves into thinking they are doing
anyone a favor by inviting drug-sniffing dogs into high schools. These
days zero tolerance poses a greater threat than drugs. According to
the Monitoring the Future survey, more than half of all high school
seniors have tried an illicit drug. Denying a majority of the nation's
youth an education and the chance to grow up to become productive
members of society is not in America's best interest.

Most students outgrow their youthful indiscretions involving 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, President George 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. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC 
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