Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 2004
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2004 The New York Times Company
Author: Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
Bookmark: (Higher Education Act)


To the Editor:

The law denying financial aid to college students who have been convicted 
of any drug law violation (news article, March 13) should be repealed. By 
forcing them to drop out of school, it has served largely to deny many 
needy students the opportunity to improve their lives.

If Congress wants to encourage students who need help to enter treatment, 
it should finance such programs for them. Preposterously, Congress has done 
nothing to discourage student abuse of alcohol, which is implicated in 
virtually all college rapes, deadly hazing and disabling and fatal accidents.

If Congress wants to get serious about campus substance abuse, it should 
raise the tax on beer. The resulting increase in price will discourage 
under-age drinking as cigarette tax increases have discouraged youth smoking.

Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

New York, March 13, 2004

The writer, president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance 
Abuse at Columbia University, was secretary of health, education and 
welfare from 1977 to 1979. 
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