Pubdate: Wed, 25 Jun 2003
Source: Macon Telegraph (GA)
Copyright: 2003 The Macon Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Stanley N. Edwards


Years ago, Gov. Lester Maddox half joking said, "What we need is a better 
class of prisoner." Georgia answered that call by targeting drug offenders 
and users.

Now, prisons are packed with people (like myself) who have never stolen 
anything or harmed anyone in any way. Our only mistake - being in 
possession of methamphetamines or cocaine, the magic powders of guilt.

The rules of this witch hunt say that because some steal and rob and blame 
drugs for their actions, then anyone found with drugs must be guilty of any 
number of crimes. No other evidence is needed. If found with more than a 
few doses, you're sentenced like a heinous criminal. Imagine being caught 
DUI with over a case of beer or liquor, and being sentenced for bootlegging 
or robbery - unthinkable - but that's the same principle of the 
"trafficking" law.

Drugs do to anyone what they are created to do. Whether an occasional use 
for recreation or escape or to relieve depression and prevent suicide, they 
alter the brain and thinking. Should that in itself be punished by years in 
jail? Experiments have shown that animals will starve themselves to get 
more drugs once addicted. Isn't that proof enough that this is a health 
issue - not a legal one?

Instead of draining tax dollars, filling prisons and becoming 
institutionalized dependents, we could and should be working, paying taxes, 
getting treatment, educating others and being productive members of 
society. This would leave plenty of room in prison for your real criminals.

Stanley N. Edwards Rock Spring, Ga.
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