Pubdate: Sun, 02 Jun 2002
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: Sally Shepherd


It is a shame the way we run our legal system and drug programs.

Some good children are jailed for years because they committed a crime 
while on drugs. No one tested them when they were arrested to see if they 
had a drug problem.

The crime never would have been committed if not for illegal drugs.

The reason most of these children are on drugs include peer pressure and 
problems within the family they just can't handle. They need our help. The 
parents know their children are on drugs and can't do anything about it. 
They just hope they live through it somehow.

Some children get killed or kill someone else. Sometimes they just get more 
and more deeply involved in crimes that cost everyone.

The February issue of Reader's Digest featured an article, "From Dope to 
Hope," about the drug court program in Birmingham, Ala., called Breaking 
the Cycle. The program, implemented in 1996, with an emphasis on 
drug-testing and rehabilitation, has resulted in a 33 percent drop in 
violent crime in Birmingham. That might be something Amarillo and 
surrounding towns should consider. Anything would be an improvement over 
what we are doing now.

Our children need help, and by helping them, we help ourselves.

Forget about the drug dealers. Most of them don't do drugs anyway and are 
there just to rake in the money.

We need to help our children to help themselves.

Let's get something going on this important issue. I can be contacted by 
e-mail at Sally Shepherd

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