Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jun 1999
Source: Times Union (NY)
Copyright: 1999, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Contact:  Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212
Fax: (518) 454-5628
Author: Michael A. Rinella
Note: Subject line by MAP

Dear Editor,

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
like a police-state wish-list and an Assembly speaker whose idea of the
democratic process, as reported 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 trend toward legal and
therapeutic authoritarianism in the guise of "public safety".

Dr. Michael A. Rinella

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake