Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jul 2000
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2000 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 3110 Honolulu, HI 96802
Fax: (808) 525-8037
Author: Kenji Klein


Patrick Moser's recent Island Voices attack on drug treatment was just plain

The threat of imprisonment is not an effective deterrent. In the past
decade, the number of people imprisoned for drug-related offenses in America
has increased 1,000 percent. Yet drug use continues to rise. Meanwhile,
countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands have reduced drug use by
focusing on treatment instead of incarceration.

Moser is also wrong in arguing that drug addicts do not want to change and
will not seek treatment voluntarily. This is untrue. Every day hundreds of
addicts voluntarily seek help at drug treatment centers across the nation,
and every day they are turned away because the facilities lack the resources
to treat them.

We need more treatment facilities. Instead, we build more prisons, then we
arrest those addicts that we failed to treat. In the process, we spend seven
times as much money as we would have if we had treated the addicts in the
first place. This is simply idiotic.

It is not the drug addicts who refuse to change; it is people like Patrick
Moser. They are addicted to a failed drug policy. Until they are willing to
change, the problem will not go away.

Kenji Klein
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