Pubdate: Sat, 21 Mar 1998
Date: March 21, 1998
Source: Standard-Times (MA)
Author: Joel W. Johnson

Your report, "Treatment, not Jail, best response to drug addiction,"
painfully illustrated that something is desperately wrong with the American
public's view on drug abuse. Despite the recommendations of countless
physicians, policy analysts and former cabinet officials, most of us still
think the War on Drugs is in need of more cops, prisons and ammunition.

When we're spending in excess of $27 billion annually (federal), we'd
better have good reason to ignore these recommendations. But history tells
us otherwise. Alcohol prohibition taught that it was not the alcohol, but
the prohibition itself, that spread violence, crime and corruption across
the land. And still, the Eighteenth Amendment did very little to combat

We see exactly the same today. Nevertheless, we are clueless to the direct
relationship between drug prohibition and the crime and violence associated
with the drug market. And when we're told that drug treatment is
simultaneously more effective and affordable, we still think our failed
drug policy just needs a pick-me-up.

If we admit the War on Drugs has failed, and we know treatment works better
than prisons to fight drug abuse, then I think it is time we take our tax
dollars a little more seriously.

Joel W. Johnson
San Jose, CA