Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jun 1999
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 1999 - The Gazette Newspapers
Author: Mike Smithson


Two recent articles, June 1 and June 9, were written about the efforts
of a grass-roots organization in New York to promote alternatives to
current drug policy.

When asked for his opinion, the Schoharie district attorney said the
country would become a country of drug addicts. He also invoked the
example of an LSD user and possible dealer. This young man was going
to prison and, in the words of the DA, this event would deter others
from participating in this activity. Later, two others spoke of the
increase of drug use if we legalized drugs.

All of these arguments are pure hysteria, and it's time we all stood
up and said "enough!" The DA says the drug busts deter this activity.
Bunk. If that were true, people would stop using illegal drugs. That's
the mentality the Legislature had in 1973 when the Rockefeller drug
laws were enacted. We had 12,000 in prison then. Now, 26 years later,
there are 71,000, 22,000 of which are for the Rockefeller drug laws.
Indeed, last year, New York state sent 20,000 people to prison, and
only 28 percent for violent offenses, compared to 57 percent in '73.

As to the adage, "everyone will use them if they're legal," grow up.
Ask a roomful of people if any of them would use crack if it was
legal. No one holds their hand up. Then ask the same group if they
think someone in the room will use crack. Hands go up.  This example
shows that the hysteria outweighs the reality among us.

The drug warriors want to tell each of us how to live. They want to
show us what is morally acceptable. But look at the facts:
70,000-100,000 people die of legal prescription drug use ever year.
How many die of alcohol- and nicotine-related problems?  Hundreds of
thousands. Yet, these drugs remain legal, and marijuana has never
killed a single person. It's not addictive, and the gateway drug
theory has been debunked by the government itself.

What it all comes down to is a discrimination by some people based on
the substances they want to put into their bodies. Can we continue to
listen to their rhetoric and lies?

The writer is director of Reconsider speakers bureau. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea