Pubdate: Mon, 04 Oct 1999
Date: 10/04/1999
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Author: Chris Knestrick

I would like to respond to your Sept. 28 editorial, "U.S. drug
legalization an unnecessary surrender."

It seemed one of the writer's main arguments was that "drug abuse"
causes unnecessary harm, not only to individuals, but also to their

First off, it should be pointed out that there is nothing in our penal
code which differentiates between "use" and "abuse" - and, yes, there
is a difference.

I believe that a person who is even remotely informed about a
substance like marijuana (or even harder drugs like cocaine, heroin or
LSD) would agree that five years of alcoholism is much worse for a
person than a one-or two-time experiment with such a drug.

A person can drink until his liver fails and the government can't do
anything, but the experiment with the "illegal" drug will get him arrested.

Secondly, I agree, that abuse, by definition, does cause harm.
However, the government is not our daddy.

Its role is not to protect us from ourselves.

If I wanted to poke my eyes out with a stick, that would be stupid and
very harmful to me, but I would not - and should not - be arrested for

Even a person who attempts suicide is not arrested; he is given
psychiatric treatment.

So, how does our government currently "help" us and our families if we
abuse drugs?

It arrests us and removes us from our families (there goes the support
for our children); it confiscates our property (even if we aren't
charged with a crime); and when it finally lets us out, we have a
criminal record which will hurt our chances for future employment
(again, hurting our children).

During Prohibition, the use and abuse of alcohol increased
dramatically (especially for children) and crime went through the roof.

When Prohibition was repealed and alcohol was regulated, these
problems declined drastically.

History is now repeating itself, and we are too headstrong to admit it
to ourselves.

Blacksburg, Va.