Pubdate: Thu, 4 Nov 1999
Source: Post-Standard, The (NY)
Copyright: 1999, Syracuse Post-Standard
Contact:  P.O. Box 4915, Syracuse, N.Y. 13221-4915
Author: Nicolas Eyle
Cited: ReconsiDer:


Isn't it interesting that when the problem of binge drinking among college
students is finally recognized, the solutions touted are consultations with
parents and/or counseling. Colleges are admitting that preaching abstinence
has failed. They also realize that most students who drink do so in a
relatively responsible manner and don't have a problem with drinking.
Whatever problems students that drink irresponsibly may have, they are
unlikely to be aided in their recovery by saddling them with an arrest record.

How long will it be before these realizations will be accepted as the
correct responses to all drug use ? Alcohol is illegal for those under 21
in this state and a potentially dangerous drug when abused. The same is
true for the currently illegal drugs. The percentage of users who
experience serious problems with their drugs is between 10 and 20%, 80 or
90% use responsibly. This ratio holds true for alcohol, cocaine, or
marijuana. For that group that does develop problems with their drug use
the help is most likely to come from parents or counselors, or from
maturity, not law enforcement.

Let's reconsider how we handle drugs in America. Let's set aside the mass
hysteria that has driven our drug policies in the past and concentrate, as
Syracuse University did, on sensible tactics that might actually help those
who have a drug problem. 

Nicolas Eyle, executive director
ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy

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