Pubdate: Sat, 13 Oct 2001
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2001 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Jason Klein
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


The Senate will soon be deciding on the nomination of John Walters for the
position of Drug Czar. I urge everyone who is interested in drug law reform
to ask our two senators to oppose Walters' nomination. Walters insists on a
continuation and expansion of the failed policy of trying to arrest our way
out of the drug problem. He embraces a puritanical approach to substance
use, claiming rehabilitation is not the primary aim of arresting drug users,
but that arrest and imprisonment serve primarily to punish people for their
moral transgressions. The only group that benefits from this situation is
the prison industry, not the punished people or their communities. Walters
calls for an expansion of the war on marijuana users, even though arrest
rates for marijuana have climbed drastically in the last 10 years. In 1999,
there were over 700,000 marijuana arrests nationwide, 88 percent of them for
simple possession. When it comes to people with a real drug problem, Walters
dismisses the importance of increasing the availability of treatment
programs. The mood in America is one of seeking new strategies to address
the drug problem. John Walters promises to bring us only more of the same
tired, socially destructive, policies.

Jason Klein, Asheville
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk