Pubdate: Sun, 12 Mar 2000
Date: 03/12/2000
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Author: James Vincent Roach

Congratulations to the Utah Council for Crime Prevention (UCCP) for
their efforts to combat Utah's meth problem (Tribune, Feb. 3). It is,
however, unfortunate that no intelligence is behind these efforts.

Methamphetamines are unarguably a problem in Utah, placing us No. 1
nationwide in per capita meth labs. Narcing people out so far has done
nothing to combat meth production. It has only increased demand and
made it so a larger profit could be made. Currently, an ounce of meth
is more valuable than an ounce of gold. People will obviously be lured
by the astronomical profit involved.

If we establish that the production and usage of meth is wrong, we
must also establish ways for users to get help, and make it so there
is no profit in the production/distribution/selling of meth. Prison is
currently the only mechanism in place to address this issue, and our
recent past will show us how ineffective it is. Rehabilitation
programs for users are two-thirds cheaper than prison, and are far
more humane than the vigilante attitude encouraged by the UCCP.

We should not be concerned with what punishments we want these
criminals to face in prison, but instead think about how we want them
to be when they come out. Harm reduction would enable users to arrest
their addiction, instead of recirculating them through our prisons. It
would also reward people for seeking help and allow them to get the
help they so desperately need.

Maybe if these apparatuses were in place, users would get the help
they need and would not even require people to narc them out to make
our society better.

James Vincent Roach,
Salt Lake City