Pubdate: Mon, 25 Aug 2003
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2003, The Tribune Co.
Author: Steve Hach
Note: Limit LTEs to 150 words


I applaud you for your recent story on the overcrowding of Florida prisons
because of the influx of drug war prisoners (Metro, Aug. 19).

I would like to remind readers that both Gov. Jeb Bush and Jim McDonough,
director of the Office of Drug Control, vociferously opposed efforts to reform
Florida drug laws so that all nonviolent drug offenders would receive addiction
treatment in lieu of jail sentences. In essence, they utilized tax dollars to
fight a citizen ballot initiative that would have afforded all Floridians the
same deal provided to the governor's drug-addicted daughter, Noelle.

Bush and McDonough have been touting the effectiveness of their strategy for
several years now - and during last year's election, their progress report on
the governor's Web site claimed to have reduced drug use in Florida by 31
percent and to have increased treatment funding.

But how can these claims possibly be true, given the soaring number of drug
offenders in prisons across the state, the huge increases in overdoses from
drugs like heroin and cocaine, the escalating problems with designer drug
trafficking, the methamphetamine problem and the massive prescription drug
death toll?

Perhaps the Tribune and its readership might like to re-evaluate the so-called
success of the drug control strategy of McDonough and Bush.

Steve Hach

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