Pubdate: Thu, 20 Apr 2006
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Iowan
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Johnson County is not the only jurisdiction grappling with 
overcrowded jails. Throughout the nation, states facing budget 
shortfalls are pursuing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent 
drug offenders. A study conducted by the RAND Corporation found that 
every additional dollar invested in substance-abuse treatment saves 
taxpayers $7.48 in societal costs. There is far more at stake than tax dollars.

The drug war is not the promoter of family values that some would 
have us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational 
failure, joblessness, addiction, and delinquency. Not only do the 
children lose out, but society as a whole does too. Incarcerating 
nonviolent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals is the 
equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in 
antisocial behavior.

Turning drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a senseless waste of 
tax dollars. It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and 
begin treating all substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the 
public-health problem it is. Destroying the futures and families of 
citizens who make unhealthy choices doesn't benefit anyone. Students 
who want to help reform harmful drug laws should contact Students for 
Sensible Drug Policy at

Robert Sharpe

policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy 
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman