Pubdate: Tue, 06 Feb 2007
Source: Oregon Daily Emerald (U of Oregon, OR Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Oregon Daily Emerald
Author: Robert Sharpe


Thank you for raising awareness of the Higher Education Act's denial 
of student loans to youth convicted of drug offenses ("Berkeley 
offers drug offenders scholarships," ODE, Feb. 2, 2007). 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 
effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term 
effects of criminal records. Students who want to help end the 
intergenerational culture war otherwise known as the war on some 
drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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