Pubdate: Tue, 13 Aug 2002
Source: Tribune Review (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Janis McDonald


I heartily agree with Dimitri Vassilaros' Aug. 8 column on nonviolent drug 
users. Incarceration of low-level drug users or dealers certainly isn't the 

One still has to wonder, though, why is so may people, particularly 
teenagers, are driven to use drugs.

I have seen too many of my teenage son's friends being arrested, losing 
their driver's licenses, paying huge fines and generally being used as 
"fund-raisers" for lawyers and law enforcement alike. These kids have 
almost unlimited access to heroin, cocaine, pot, pharmaceuticals and 
steroids (horse steroids!).

The access doesn't scare me half as much as the obvious desire in these 
kids to use these substances. And alcohol use is pretty much accepted, and 
more or less expected - by friends and parents.

Here's the really scary part: Any parent can take his teenager to a 
physician, describe particular symptoms (lack of focus, lethargy, 
depression, "acting out") and walk out of the doctor's office with a 
prescription for a heavy-duty anti-depressant.

I'd like to see more tax dollars being spent on prevention and less on 
police officers wasting their time. "Just say no" doesn't cut it if the 
idea of getting high sounds great.

Janis McDonald, Herminie
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