Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jun 1999
Date: 06/21/1999
Source: Times Union (NY)
Author: Dr. Michael A. Rinella

As my Times Union article of May 16 ("Make drug law reform
comprehensive'') made clear, the chances of any meaningful change in
the atavistic Rockefeller drug laws are at best unlikely.

Legislation is now stalled, caught between a governor whose proposals
read more like a police-state wish-list and an Assembly speaker whose
idea of the democratic process, as reported recently by the Times
Union's Lara Jakes, has been to refuse "to let his members vote on
their own bill.''

It hardly matters, as none of the bills under consideration would put
a serious dent in the ever-expanding "prison industrial-complex.''
Only complete amnesty for drug-law prisoners, coupled with an entirely
new approach to the issue of problematic recreational drug use
(publicly funded treatment on demand, ethical education emphasizing
responsible use rather than the evacuation of responsibility implicit
in the theory of addiction, etc.), has any hope of reversing the
present piecemeal trend toward legal and therapeutic authoritarianism
in the guise of "public safety.''