Pubdate: Tue,  7 Jan 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Spike Bradford
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Note: For more on ice eradication in Hawaii go to


Barry Markowitz's assertion in his Dec. 27 letter that convicted drug
dealers should get the death penalty demands a response.

First, there is no evidence that increased penalties deter people from using
or selling drugs -- the high is too appealing and the money is too good.

Generally, with intoxicating substances, the best means of control is
regulation -- not prohibition. For such a nasty drug as "ice," however,
regulation is not viable.

Another approach would be to allow the use of other currently illicit drugs,
such as marijuana. In fact, a link has been shown between Hawai'i's
perennial marijuana eradication efforts and the rise of "ice" use.

Second, despite continued cries for more treatment space, most addicts can't
get help until they are arrested. Drug courts are great, but they often
leach treatment space from other sectors of the population.

One way to dramatically increase funding for treatment would be to divert
seized assets from drug arrests away from law enforcement to treatment.

Most people don't realize that if you get arrested for a drug crime, the
courts may seize your car, home or money, and it all goes to the police. By
using that money for treatment programs, we might actually be able to help
Hawai'i's drug abusers.

Spike Bradford
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