Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2001
Source: Wichita Eagle (KS)
Copyright: 2001 The Wichita Eagle
Author: C.A. Riley
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


The Senate will soon be voting on the nomination of John Walters for drug
czar. I urge everyone who is interested in drug-law reform to ask our two
senators to oppose Walters' nomination.

Walters rejects a health-centered approach to substance abuse, and he
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 that rehabilitation is not the primary aim of
arresting drug users, but that arrest and imprisonment serve primarily to
punish people for their moral transgressions.

In 1999, there were more than 700,000 marijuana arrests nationwide, 88
percent for simple possession. Especially in the face of terrorist attacks,
expanding the fight against good citizens who happen to smoke marijuana
seems like a terrible waste of resources.

When it comes to people with a real drug problem, Walters dismisses the
importance of increasing the availability of treatment programs. Even former
drug czar Barry McCaffrey has said that Walters is too focused on
interdiction and needs to educate himself on prevention and treatment.

Please think about this issue, and let your representatives know your
concerns, whatever they may be.

C.A. Riley, Wichita
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