Pubdate: Mon, 31 Dec 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Dean Becker


(Re: Dec. 28 letter, "Drug legalization isn't the answer," by Wayne 
C. Williams.)

As another former law officer, I understand the need to justify 
helping send people to prison for decades.

Williams' statement, "Surely (former Officer Howard J.) Wooldridge 
has worked cases where lowlifes commit crimes in order to feed their 
habit," misses the point.  The criminal justice system treats 
drug-users like lowlifes whether they have committed other crimes or not.

Dec. 17 marked 93 years since the passage of the Harrison Narcotics 
Act. Since then, more than 38 million Americans have been arrested 
for plant products in their pockets.

A drug user may pay $20 for a nickel's worth of product sold through 
the black market. Drug barons in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan 
appreciate Williams' contribution to making that enormous price hike possible.

"How many families have lost a loved one to these deadly drugs?" asks 
Williams. About 2 percent of those lost to tobacco and alcohol, 
despite the fact that illegal drugs are made by untrained chemists, 
contaminated with everything from baby powder to rat poison, and sold 
in back rooms and alleyways.

When nearly every politician running for office has a history of 
"youthful indiscretion" with drugs, Williams' advice to "put addicts 
in jail where they belong and ease up on the probation" strikes me as 
callous and shallow.

Dean Becker

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