Pubdate: Fri, 05 Apr 2002
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2002 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Alert: It Is Not OK To Evict Granny


Your April 2 editorial on the "one-strike, you're out" policy of the U.S. 
Department of Housing and Urban Development was right on target.

The zero tolerance law requires that entire families be evicted from public 
housing if anyone, even a guest, uses drugs.

The youthful indiscretions of a rebellious teenager could result in 
homelessness for an entire family.

According to a recent survey, more than half of all high school seniors 
have tried an illegal drug at least once. Exposing 50 percent of all 
families living in public housing to the dangers of living on the street is 
not the answer to America's drug problem. Most teenagers outgrow their 
youthful indiscretions involving drugs.

An arrest and criminal record, on the other hand, can be life-shattering. 
After admitting to smoking marijuana (but not inhaling), former President 
Bill Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism.

And thousands of Americans have paid the price in the form of shattered lives.

More Americans went to prison or jail during the Clinton administration 
than during any past administration. As an admitted former drinker, 
President George W. Bush is also politically vulnerable when it comes to drugs.

While youthful indiscretions didn't stop Clinton or Bush from assuming 
leadership positions, an arrest surely would have. The short-term health 
effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects 
of criminal records.

Zero tolerance does more harm than good.

Robert Sharpe,

The writer is program officer with Drug Policy Alliance, which promotes 
alternatives to the war on drugs.
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