Pubdate: Sun, 07 Mar 1999
Date: 03/07/1999
Source: Fresno Bee, The (CA)
Author: Rodney Jones

Drug abuse in our society is a serious issue which seems to be
neglected by most politicians. All one has to do is look at the
Clinton administration's proposed $17.8 billion anti-drug strategy to
see my point. The majority of this money will be spent on more law
enforcement instead of treatment programs for hard-core addicts.

According to the editorial, "Wrong-headed drug policy," (Feb. 23) most
experts believe that treatment programs are the most cost-effective
way for reducing drug use. Statistics show treatment to be seven times
more cost-effective than law enforcement at reducing drug use.

Politicians are more focused on what looks good than on what actually

To significantly increase funding for treatment programs is something
most politicians probably feel is not a good career move. For most,
getting additional law enforcement on the street is a priority because
it gives the people who vote them into office a better sense of
security. Politics is all about illusions.

If people feel like more law enforcement will reduce drug use, then to
politicians it is irrelevant if there is any truth to that.

It is important to refocus on prevention and treatment, because as
long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be those who provide

We have put a Band-Aid on the wound for too long and it is now time to
get at the root of the problem, the enormous demand for illegal drugs.

Rodney Jones