Pubdate: Mon, 02 Oct 2000
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2000 The Clarion-Ledger
Address: P.O. Box 40 Jackson, MS 39205-0400
Fax: (601) 961-7211
Author: Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy


When evaluating statewide drug courts ("Drug Court Program Hits Snags," 
Sept. 22), I hope that Mississippi legislators take into account the 
manner in which law enforcement's involvement in substance abuse 
discourages treatment.  

In order for drug treatment to be truly effective -- and not 
necessarily preceded by an arrest -- policymakers are going to have to 
tone down the zero-tolerance rhetoric of the drug war.  

Tough-on-drugs attitudes discourage the type of honest discussion 
necessary to facilitate treatment.  

Driving illicit drug addiction underground is counterproductive and 
only compounds the problem.  

Would alcoholics seek treatment if doing so was tantamount to 
confessing to criminal activity?  

Likewise, would putting every incorrigible alcoholic behind bars and 
saddling them with criminal records be cost-effective?  

Increased treatment options like drug courts are a step in the right 
direction, but until peace is declared in the failed drug war the 
success of treatment will be severely limited.  

Robert Sharpe, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
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