Pubdate: Tue, 06 Aug 2002
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Huntsville Times
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Thank you for raising awareness of the life-saving potential of drug 
treatment with the July 29 article on Guntersville's Cedar Lodge. A study 
conducted by the RAND Corp. found that every additional dollar invested in 
substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal costs.

There is far more at stake than tax dollars. The drug war is not the 
promoter of family values that some would have us believe. Children of 
inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and 
delinquency. Not only do the children lose out, but society as a whole 
does, too.

Incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders alongside hardened criminals is the 
equivalent of providing them with a taxpayer-funded education in antisocial 
behavior. Turning recreational drug users into unemployable ex-cons is a 
senseless waste of tax dollars.

It's time to declare peace in the failed drug war and begin treating all 
substance abuse, legal or otherwise, as the public health problem it is. 
Destroying the futures and families of citizens who make unhealthy choices 
doesn't benefit anyone.

Robert Sharpe
Washington, D.C.
Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance.
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