Pubdate: Mon, 28 Nov 2011
Source: Pottstown Mercury (PA)
Address: 24 North Hanover Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
Fax: 610-323-0682
Copyright: 2011 The Mercury, a Journal Register Property


In his Nov. 12 opinion piece, "Is the war on drugs worth it? At what 
cost?," Earl W. Davis characterizes the Obama administration's drug 
control policy as a "war" and likens it to America's experience with 
Prohibition in the early 20th century. On both points, he expresses 
an outdated view that does not reflect the comprehensive approach to 
prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform being 
applied to the nation's drug problem today.

The federal government is currently spending more on drug education 
and treatment ($10.4 billion) than on law enforcement ($9.2 billion) 
and when it comes to law enforcement, the administration is 
implementing a range of innovative public safety interventions that 
save tax dollars, treat addiction, and reduce criminal recidivism. In 
the past three years, drug treatment courts have sent approximately 
120,000 offenders annually into drug treatment instead of prison. 
Through enhanced probation programs like Project HOPE in Hawaii, 
probationers are experiencing dramatic reductions in drug use as a 
result of drug testing and swift, certain, but reasonable sanctions. 
And through its support for the Second Chance Act, the administration 
has underscored the importance of substance abuse treatment, 
employment, mentoring, and other services that improve the transition 
of individuals from the criminal justice system to a new life in the community.

Legalizing drugs is not a part of this new approach. By making drugs 
more available and more accessible, legalization would do nothing to 
reduce drug use and its adverse consequences. We know from our 
experience with legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco that any 
potential tax revenue would come nowhere close to offsetting the 
costs to society. And there is no evidence that legalizing drugs 
would cause criminal organizations to abandon their illicit activities.

In these tough economic times, it is essential that we focus our 
resources on what works. By implementing innovative yet proven 
criminal justice interventions, we can save taxpayer dollars, improve 
outcomes, and break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration 
in our communities.


Policy Analyst

Office of National Drug Control Policy
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart