Pubdate: Sat, 14 August 1999
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company
Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Author: Patrick Froehlich


In his column about imprisoned actor Robert Downey Jr. [op-ed, Aug. 10],
Richard Cohen states that "most hard-core users are poor, often minority
group members." This is untrue.

Statistics available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that
addiction slices evenly through all socioeconomic strata.

The primary difference is that minorities and the poor are far more likely
to be incarcerated for drug-law violations, because they are less able to
afford skilled lawyers.

Like Cohen, I fail to see the logic in incarcerating people for using drugs.

I also fail to see the logic in maintaining the pervasive black market
created by our failed prohibitionist policies.

Savage penalties for drug dealers have given us the world's highest
incarceration rate without reducing supply or demand for drugs.

Patrick Froehlich

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