Pubdate: Sat, 28 Feb 2004
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2004 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Author:  David Brown


Recent events reveal the lack of courage public officials have when it
comes to consistency in the area of alcohol and other drugs.

On the one hand, the Legislature is looking to increase the jail time
for possession of ecstasy on the argument that jail time will better
the user's chances of getting treatment. It will more likely scare
ecstasy users from seeking medical help when needed.

On the other hand, when Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager is caught
driving drunk, she is lauded for her gracious apology and declines to
resign. Even though her high-profile example is more of a threat to
public health and safety than 10 ecstasy users.

Alcohol is a drug. People drink it to get high - just like pot
smokers, heroin shooters or crack users. Alcohol has serious potential
for misuse, abuse and dependence.

Alcohol is the drug resulting in the most extensive public safety and
health problems for Wisconsin. Not marijuana. Not cocaine. Not heroin.
Not ecstasy.

Yet when it comes to alcohol misuse - especially by those with higher
status - our response falls somewhere between bemusement and
tolerance. This sends the most powerful message imaginable to young
people about the legitimacy of drug misuse.

David Brown

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