Pubdate: Thu, 16 Dec 2010
Source: Savannah Morning News (GA)
Copyright: 2010 Savannah Morning News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Georgia is one of many states grappling with overcrowded prisons.
("Georgia needs options to prison," Mark Levin, Nov. 20)

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 non-violent drug
offenders alongside hardened criminals is the equivalent of providing
them with a taxpayer-funded education in anti-social 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. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is


Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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