Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 2004
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2004 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the recent school drug arrests in Alamance County:

These days zero tolerance drug policies pose a greater threat to students 
than drugs. According to the "Monitoring the Future" survey, more than half 
of all high school seniors have tried an illicit drug. Denying a majority 
of the nation's youth an education and the chance to grow up to become 
productive members of society is not in America's best interest.

Most students outgrow their youthful indiscretions involving drugs. An 
arrest and criminal record, on the other hand, can be life-shattering. 
After admitting to smoking pot (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 and alleged illicit drug user, 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. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe


The writer is a policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy.
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