Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jan 2001
Source: Silver City Daily Press & Independent (NM)
Copyright: 2001 Silver City Daily Press
Contact:  300 West Market St., Silver City, NM 88061
Author: Alan Wagman

Dear editor,

If the report of the Drug Policy Advisory Group is any indication, 
Gov. Johnson appears to be on the verge of submitting a comprehensive 
legislative proposal on drugs. Such a proposal would reduce - but not 
eliminate - criminal penalties for drug possession and make treatment 
rather than imprisonment the cornerstone of drug policy.

Let's hope so. Because it's time to do some serious thinking about 
reality vs. drug war propaganda and knee-jerk "incarcerationism." In 
short, it's time for a new approach.

The present approach hasn't stopped people from using drugs. And 
there is no reason to believe that it should. Think about it: If 
nicotine users were put in prison, would smokers stop or just go 

Current drug policy is nothing more than a revolving door into and 
out of prison. People who are dependent on drugs do not stop using 
drugs because of the threat of prison. Once they are in prison, they 
do not stop using. When they come out of prison, they continue to 
use. And then? Of course, they go back to prison.

DRUGS go to prison, the only result is felons dependent on drugs. Yet 
we keep on doing it, over and over and over again. To continuously 
repeat an action that produces the same unsatis-factory result every 
time and ex-pect a different result is insanity. The war on drugs is 

I don't know for sure what the answer is; no one does. But it's a 
certainty that what we're doing now isn't it. It's high time we try 
something else. And the governor's initiative is a start.

Alan Wagman, Silver City
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