Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2003
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2003 The State Journal-Register
Author: Larry Stevens
Cited: Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association


Dear Editor,

In 1999, I wrote to tell you that the war on drugs is unsustainable and 
would eventually fall of its own weight. Two-and-a-half years later, Gov. 
George Ryan informed us that Illinois faced a weighty $2 billion budget 

I wrote again to remind you that feel-good drug policies were fueling 
expensive prison growth that we could no longer afford.  I suggested we 
release non-violent drug offenders as an emergency measure and begin 
exploring more affordable drug policies.  Instead of proposing any sensible 
reforms, however, Gov. Ryan merely threatened lawmakers that he would 
release non-violent drug offenders unless other budget sacrifices were made.

Now we have a new governor who admitted he smoked marijuana twice and he 
says the deficit is actually upwards of $5 billion.  Our new Attorney 
General seems oblivious to this and has already announced "new" ideas for 
getting tough on drugs that will lead to even more prison growth.  (Just 
because it feels good, Ms Attorney General, doesn't mean you should do it.)

Recently, the redundantly named Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence 
Association announced the results of a poll that found that 85 percent of 
Illinois voters want treatment for addicts instead of prison.  It makes 
sense considering that one dollar spent on treatment saves us over ten 
dollars on police, courts and prisons.

Unfortunately, our leaders are hard-core drug war addicts who are quite 
willing to steal our future to pay for their habit.

Larry Stevens

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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens